26 May, The Hague – Today a Dutch District Court ruled that oil giant Shell is driving dangerous climate change and must make immediate and radical changes to the way it operates, in a huge win for people power and civil society organisations in the Netherlands. The court recognises that Shell is responsible for expanding fossil fuel production around the world and increasing global emissions, despite commitments to limit global heating to 1.5°C under the Paris Agreement. This case against the climate destruction being perpetrated by Shell was initiated in April 2018 by Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth Netherlands) together with six NGOs and has since gained the support of 17,000 people.
Liset Meddens campaigner at Fossielvrij NL (one of the co-plaintiffs in the case)
“This is historic, great news. Shell has to write off their stranded assets, and keep oil and gas in the ground, where it belongs. This is even more reason for the largest European pension fund ABP to quickly divest the savings of 3 million people in the Netherlands from this climate wrecking company that has been corrected by the judge today.”
Under this ruling Shell will be forced to reduce its net carbon dioxide emissions 45% by 2030 (with 2019 as a baseline). This decision sends a strong message to fossil fuel companies, banks and pension funds all over the world that their greenwash and lies will not prevent them being held accountable for the climate crisis.
Ignacio Zavaleta, anti-fracking campaigner in Argentina
“We see that Shell’s green discourse is completely hypocritical when we learn that the company is one of the main producers of fossil fuels in Vaca Muerta, Argentina. Oil and gas extraction in this area harms small farmers and exposes thousands of families that have lived in this region for generations to the risk of water and soil contamination.”
Today’s decision calls into question the integrity of institutions that continue to support Shell and other fossil fuel corporations including:
- ABP, the biggest pension fund in Europe used by teachers and government employees.
- Commercial banks including BNP Paribas, Barclays, Deutsche Bank, HSBC, ING, Rabobank.
- Cultural institutions like the UK’s Science Museum.
By continuing to finance and support a climate criminal these institutions are actively supporting environmental destruction and human rights abuses around the world.
Anya Nanning Ramamurthy at UKSCN London
“Shell is a horrific climate criminal and the courts have ruled that today. It is appalling that a company with a long history of complicity in human rights violations and environmental degradation has even been considered for, let alone be, a sponsor for a Science Museum exhibition on climate solutions. As long as Shell is allowed to continue as business as usual and greenwash their profile, there cannot be climate justice. In light of this ruling today, we demand that the Science Museum drops shell sponsorship. Until they do, we will continue to call for a boycott of the Shell sponsored exhibition ‘Our Future Planet’.”
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