Shell, oil major company, confirmed this Tuesday that it will appeal the ruling that a court in The Hague ruled against the company; in an attempt oblige the company to accelerate carbon emissions reductions.
Firstly, as we reported previously, back in May it was a historic month for the energy sector; as a number of events regarding climate action in major energy companies aligned. At first it was the activist investor Engie No. 1 winning a number of seats for the ExxonMobil board; then the district court at The Hague ruling against Shell.
Secondly, such ruling said that Royal Dutch Shell is legally “obliged” to slash its emissions 45 percent by 2030; from 2019 levels. Although Shell had already made commitments to that respect, the judicial ruling attempts to force the company to move faster; and also sets a precedent for a court dictating business prerogatives.
Thirdly, the ruling came as historic as it was seen as a trigger for a series of legal rulings over companies to force them to lower their carbon footprint. “For the first time in history, a judge has held a corporation liable for causing dangerous climate change.” Said Milieudefensie, a Dutch NGO on a statement, back in May.
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Shell will appeal; ruling on a single company is not effective
Moreover, in June, Shell’s CEO, Ben van Beurden, said the company was going to appeal the rule; however, it would indeed accelerate its current strategy on GHG emissions, deepening it. Shell said in a statement. “We agree that urgent action is needed on climate change; however, while we expect to appeal the ruling, we want to rise to the challenge and accelerate our existing strategy.”
In addition, Friends of the Earth Netherlands sent a letter to the company, urging it not to appeal. “It is important to act swiftly and not to wait for legal proceedings to finish. We have very little time left to turn the tide. We are convinced that it is in everyone’s interest; especially that of the climate – to avoid an appeal.” The NGO said.
Furthermore, this Tuesday, July 19, Shell confirmed that it would appeal the rule. Quoted by Reuters, van Beurden said in a statement. “We agree urgent action is needed and we will accelerate our transition to net zero; however, we will appeal because a court judgment against a single company is not effective.”
Finally, the executive added. “What is needed is clear: ambitious policies that will drive fundamental change across the whole energy system.” Nevertheless, the company did not elaborate on how it will ramp up its low carbon efforts. Which was one of the arguments of Friends of The Earth. The NGO argued that it was better to use the remaining time on designing the pathways to effectively lower Shell’s carbon footprint; rather than engaging in legal battles.