Sunday 27 November 2022

Green group threatens Shell with court over climate change strategy

Part of the massive Pernis refinery. Photo: Shell Media Library

Dutch green group Milieudefensie says it will take oil giant Shell to court unless it adapts its business strategy in line with the climate goals of the Paris agreement.

Milieudefensie, also known as Friends of the Earth Netherlands, says it has given Shell eight weeks to make the relevant changes or face legal action. The group has drafted in lawyer Roger Cox, who won a 2015 climate case against the Dutch government, as legal counsel.

This is the first time that legal action has been used to pressure a company to change its business model to avert catastrophic climate change,’ the organisation said.

‘Many of us are doing our best to put an end to the climate problem’, Milieudefensie director Donald Pols said in a statement. ‘Meanwhile, Shell continues to invest in new oil and gas sources. Shell, just like the rest of us, should take responsibility and stop wrecking the climate’.

If Shell does not take action, ‘we’re going to still be shackled to oil and gas beyond 2050 and won’t meet the climate goals,’ Pols said. The organisation says that while Shell is investing in sustainable energy resources, they only account for 5% of investments.


Milieudefensie is asking Dutch citizens to sign up to support the case.

There are already several other lawsuits worldwide attempting to hold fossil fuel companies, including Shell, accountable for their contributions to climate change, but most are focused on financial compensation.

For example, In January, New York went to court to claim compensation from the five largest oil companies, including Shell, for dramatic climate change impacts.

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