Shell faces lawsuit from climate change activists over fossil fuels

Shell faces lawsuit from climate change activists over fossil fuels

Shell faces lawsuit from climate change activists over fossil fuels

Climate marchers handed in a lawsuit to Shell's headquarters in the Netherlands on Friday aimed at forcing the oil giant to meet targets in the Paris accord.

"The move comes a year after the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth sent a letter to Shell's CEO Ben van Beurden accusing the firm of" hammering its lawful duty of care" by inducing climate harm across the globe.

"This is a unique case", Roger Cox, lawyer for Dutch climate group Milieudefensie, told AFP". "This way we are trying to prevent huge damage".

Friends of the Earth has taken Shell to court "to force it to cease its destruction of the climate".

The protesters carried banners with slogans such as "We Shell overcome - eventually" and red posters saying "Shell is as green as this poster".

They said Shell's plans were "incompatible with the goal to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming" under the goals set out in the Paris Agreement to combat climate change.

Shell says in a statement that it agrees climate change action is necessary and that the company is "committed to playing our part".

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"Internal and external documents show that Shell has known about climate change at least since the 1950s and has been aware of its large-scale and serious consequences at least since 1986", it said.

The new case is not seeking compensation; it focuses instead on pushing Shell to take more action to rein in emissions.

According to the Carbon Majors report, which was compiled and released in 2017 by the Climate Accountability Institute, Shell ranked sixth in the world in cumulative greenhouse gas emissions between 1854 and 2010.

It is also among five oil and gas majors that have spent more than $1 billion on lobbying against climate legislation since the Paris deal. "So what we in fact are stating is that Shell is contributing to risky climate change because its emissions are not in line with what is needed".

Shell did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but in a December 2018 press release said it "aims to reduce the net carbon footprint of its energy products by around half by 2050, and by around 20% by 2035, in step with society's drive to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement".

It is the latest sign of how investor pressure on oil companies, particularly in Europe, is leading to changes in their behavior concerning climate.

The situation follows a ruling by a Hague courtroom in 2015 which ordered the Dutch government to decrease the greenhouse gas emissions of the country.

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