Landmark ruling orders Shell to deepen CO2 cuts

In a landmark ruling - a Dutch court Wednesday ordered Royal Dutch Shell to reduce carbon emissions by 45% by the year 2030, a ruling hailed by plaintiffs as a huge win in the fight against climate change.

Shell immediately said it would appeal.

The ruling comes amid rising pressure from investors, activists and governments on energy giants to shift away from fossil fuels and rapidly ramp up investments in renewable energy.

Outside the courthouse in The Hague, a list of thousands of names of those calling on Shell to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

While inside the court, judge Larisa Alwin read out the first-of-its-kind ruling:

"The court orders Royal Dutch Shell, by means of its corporate policy, to reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 with respect to the level of 2019 for the Shell group and the suppliers and customers of the group.”

Earlier this year Shell set out one of the sector's most ambitious climate strategies. It has a target to cut the carbon intensity of its products by at least 6% by 2023… and become a net-zero emissions energy company by 2050.

But - the court ordered Shell to reduce its absolute levels of carbon emissions, while Shell's intensity-based targets could, in theory, allow the company to grow its output.

The lawsuit against Shell was filed in 2019 by seven groups - including Friends of the Earth Netherlands - on behalf of more than 17,000 Dutch citizens who say Shell is threatening human rights as it continues to invest billions in the production of fossil fuels.

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