In a judgement reverberating through the world of petroleum companies and their suppliers, a court in the Netherlands has ruled that Shell must cut its CO2 emissions by 45% compared to 2019 levels, legally obliging for the first time a company to align its policies with the Paris climate accords.
Friends of the Earth brought this case to court in 2019, joining more than six other bodies and more than 17,000 Dutch citizens.
The ruling applies to Shell's operations in the Netherlands, but there are plausibly widespread implications affecting oil and gas companies worldwide: BBC Netherlands correspondent Anna Holligan tweeted that it was a "precedent-setting judgement".
A Shell spokesman said "urgent action is needed on climate change, which is why we have accelerated our efforts to become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050," adding that Shell was investing "billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, including electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, renewables and biofuels".
At the same time Chevron and ExxonMobil experienced coups across the Atlantic as activist shareholders and some high-stake shareholders came together to institute transitions toward renewable energy and combating climate change. Moreover two Exxon board members were replaced with activist candidates, and Chevron passed a proposal to cut its carbon emissions.
Mark van Baal, who founded Follow This, the Dutch activist group, said Wednesday’s shareholder revolts mark an investor “paradigm shift” and a “victory in the fight against climate change.”