Climate Action

Shell could be taken to court over climate change

Friends of the Earth is threatening to take Shell to court in the Netherlands over its part in causing climate change.

  • 04 April 2018
  • Adam Wentworth

Friends of the Earth is threatening to take Shell to court in the Netherlands over its part in causing climate change.

The NGO has accused the oil & gas giant of “acting like big tobacco” in ignoring the science and damage its activities are doing to the planet.

Friends of the Earth is willing to challenge the energy company for breaching Dutch laws on hazardous negligence if it doesn’t accelerate its plans to combat climate change. This could mean forcing the company to increase its level of renewable energy investments, which the group claims sits at only 5 percent.

Shell, which is headquartered in The Hague, has made initial progress towards moving away from fossil fuels, including investing in hydrogen fuel. It has publicly acknowledging the role energy plays in contributing to climate change and says it supports the goals of the Paris Agreement.

"Science tells us that time isn’t a luxury we have where climate change is concerned. When world leaders met in Paris in 2015 they agreed to end the fossil fuel era, but in the meantime, Shell continues to invest in new oil and gas sources”, said Craig Bennett, Friends of the Earth’s Chief Executive in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.

“Shell must now move on from its history of earth damaging fossil fuel extraction and play a major part in the transition to a sustainable future, to keep temperature rises to near 1.5 degrees Celsius. Currently, Shell and companies like it, are acting like big tobacco in decades past by failing to take responsibility for the harm that they cause”, he added.

The action is the latest in a string of legal cases which are fast becoming the new battleground in the fight against climate change. Earlier this year, compensation cases were brought by both New York City and Los Angeles against some of the largest fossil fuel companies in the world.

New York Mayor de Blasio said at the time: “We’re bringing the fight against climate change straight to the fossil fuel companies that knew about its effects and intentionally misled the public to protect their profits”.