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Big Oil’s increasing number of climate lawsuits draws parallels to Big Tobacco

CNBC

Big Oil’s increasing number of climate lawsuits draws parallels to Big Tobacco

PUBLISHED FRI, JUN 25 20211:12 AM EDT: Sam Meredith
@SMEREDITH19

KEY POINTS
  • The prospect of a rising tide of climate litigation cases against heavy emitting businesses comes shortly after a landmark courtroom defeat for Royal Dutch Shell.
  • Since the turn of the century, more than 2,000 climate litigation cases were found to have been filed in a trend that is widely expected to have global implications for carbon-intensive companies.
  • Analysts believe this is merely scratching the surface of what is to be expected in the future — drawing parallels to the so-called tobacco trials of the 1950s and 1960s.

LONDON — Big Oil is likely to face an exponential increase in climate lawsuits over the coming years, a trend that analysts say is reminiscent of activists turning to the courts to take on the tobacco industry.

The prospect of a rising tide of climate litigation cases against heavy emitting businesses comes shortly after a landmark courtroom defeat for Royal Dutch Shell.

The Hague District Court on May. 26 ordered the Anglo-Dutch oil giant to set more ambitious emission reduction targets. It also said Shell is responsible for its own carbon emissions and those of its suppliers, known as Scope 3 emissions. A Shell spokesperson said at the time that the company fully expected to appeal the court’s “disappointing” decision.

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