Climate Activists Win First Legal Case in Emissions-Reduction Battle vs Multinationals

In a landmark lawsuit filed by climate activists in The Hague, the district court judge ordered Royal Dutch Shell to increase their carbon emission reductions. Based on the English version of the court ruling, the Anglo-Dutch Shell company must make it their goal to further cut down its carbon emission levels by net 45% by year 2030; referencing Royal Dutch Shell’s (RDS’) 2019 emission levels as base figures.

The court deemed that as a behemoth in energy production, it is the responsibility of RDS to lessen emissions in levels that are tangibly sufficient.than what the company has mapped out in its reduction plans.

Still, the Dutch oil company is in a position where it can appeal the decision handed down by the Hagur district court last May 26. However, if the higher courts uphold the ruling, it will serve as a precedent in favor of other legal cases opposing the pollution contributed by multinationals. The RDS case is only one of a recent series of legal challenges that climate activists have filed globally, in forcing companies to curb carbon emissions..

Clarifying the Hague District Court’s Ruling

Contrary to what the suing environmentalist group claims, The Hague court has established that Royal Dutch Shell is currently not in breach of its commitment to lessen carbon emissions. So far, the court has not seen any violation of a legal obligation that binds the oil company to make its emissions policy stricter.

Nonetheless, the Hague District Court found the RDS emission reduction policy as faulty, as it contained numerous limitations and stipulations. Levels of emission reductions are based on monitoring of social developments instead of the energy company’s responsibility to reduce its own carbon emissions. As a major oil company, the district court has deemed that it’s also the responsibility of RDS to initiate emission reductions contributed by suppliers and customers.