Shell taken to Dutch court as climate change activists demand end to emissions

Environmental activists took Royal Dutch Shell to court on Tuesday, demanding the energy firm drastically reduce the production of oil and gas to limit its effects on climate change.

Seven activist groups, including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, filed the lawsuit in the Netherlands in April last year on behalf of more than 17,000 Dutch citizens who say the oil major is threatening human rights as it continues to invest billions in the production of fossil fuels.

They are demanding that Shell cuts its greenhouse gas emissions almost in half by 2030 and to zero by 2050 - which would effectively force the Anglo-Dutch firm to quickly move away from oil and gas and direct its investment to sustainable sources of energy.

Shell has repeatedly said it agreed that action to fight climate change was needed, but that this court case would not help.

“No company can change the energy system by itself,” Shell’s lawyer, Dennis Horeman, said in court.

“All countries where Shell operates are determining policies to shape the energy transition. Shell will have to adjust its priorities and investments to those policies.”

The plaintiffs say Shell is fully aware of the detrimental effects fossil fuels have on climate change.

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