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Shell to appeal climate change ruling

Anglo-Dutch energy company and lubricant maker Shell has announced its intention to appeal a decision by a Dutch court that requires it to cut its carbon emissions sooner than it originally planned.

Shell has already accelerated its decarbonisation roadmap in line with the judgement, but it feels the court decision has unfairly singled it out. Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said a single judgement against one company was not helpful for addressing climate change, and he argued for a broader approach:

“What is needed is clear, ambitious policies that will drive fundamental change across the whole energy system. Climate change is a challenge that requires both urgent action and an approach that is global, collaborative and encourages coordination between all parties.”

In a previous LinkedIn post, van Beurden argued that Shell could easily cut its emissions by no longer selling petrol and diesel, but this would not help cut global carbon emissions, as customers would simply buy fuel from a different company. Shell has consistently argued that the demand for fossil fuels needs to be addressed before limiting the supply.

Shell has already committed to becoming a net-zero business by 2050, but the court decision means that by 2030, it must also cut its carbon emissions by a total of 45%. The court case had been brought by Milieudefensie, the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth. Its lawyer, Roger Cox, believes the decision will be reiterated on appeal. Regardless of the outcome, Shell looks set to continue its accelerated decarbonisation strategy.

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