A historic verdict against Shell in favour of the Planet!

With a historic verdict, three days ago a court in the Netherlands ruled that the Dutch-British company Shell is responsible for damaging the planet’s climate. It is the first time that a large fossil fuel company has been held accountable for contributing to climate change and is required to reduce its carbon emissions. In 2019 Shell’s total greenhouse gas emissions were 1.65 billion tons of carbon dioxide.

According to the verdict, Shell – one of the 10 most polluting companies in the world – must now radically change their policies and reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030, in line with the goal of keeping the average global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Centigrade. Not exceeding this threshold is in fact essential to minimising the risks of a climate emergency that could become irreversible and catastrophic.

This climate lawsuit was brought forward by Milieudefensie voor Veranderaars (Friends of the Earth Netherlands), together with Greenpeace Netherlands, ActionAid, Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL, Jongeren Milieu Actief, the Waddenvereniging and other 17,379 individual co-applicants.

The activists are cheering: Friends of the Earth Netherlands wins from Shell!

Andy Palmen, interim director of Greenpeace Netherlands, said: “this verdict is a historic victory for the climate and everyone facing the consequences of the climate crisis. Congratulations to Milieudefensie and all other plaintiffs. Shell cannot continue to violate human rights and put profit over people and the planet. This verdict is a clear signal to the fossil fuel industry. Coal, oil and gas need to stay in the ground. People around the world are demanding climate justice. Today the court confirmed that the fossil fuel industry cannot continue their climate pollution and that we can hold multinational corporations worldwide accountable for the climate crisis”.

The Hague District Court verdict is only legally binding in the Netherlands. But the ruling could influence dozens of similar cases around the world, including the United Kingdom and the United States, as well as other countries where there is a major threat to the environment brought about by a big corporation (like ENI in Italy). And this is the first time a court has held a major energy company liable for its role in rapidly warming the planet, according to activists groups involved in the lawsuit.

The landmark ruling came on the same day that Shell’s U.S. rivals faced pushback from environmentally conscious investors. An activist shareholder with a small stake in Exxon Mobil Corporation scored a historic win in its proxy fight with the oil giant, gaining two seats on the company’s board.

The Science found a new ally, The Law, in the struggle against The Greed to make it clear that CO2 emissions must be reduced and there is no more room for new oil and gas projects.

For the first time in history, a judge has decided to hold a company responsible for causing dangerous #ClimateChange. It’s a popular victory but the Defenders of the Earth around the globe won’t stop here – first Shell, then all the rest of the life-threatening polluters.

Environmental activists were and are on the right path, and must keep on going.
The fight for #ClimateJustice continues.

The celebration after the victorious verdict: what a moment in history!

Cover photo from https://www.facebook.com/milieudefensie

Sources: milieudefensie.nl – greenpeace.org

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