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Shell climate case: Dutch judge has historic opportunity to ensure the fossil fuel giant cuts its emissions

Shell court case

The Hague – ActionAid is one of seven environmental and human rights organisations, led by Friends of the Earth Netherlands, taking legal action against Shell to demand it reduces its emissions in line with global climate goals.

On Wednesday (26 May), a judge in The Hague will deliver their verdict on the ground-breaking climate case against the fossil fuel giant.

Marit Maij, executive director of ActionAid Netherlands, says:

"Shell's current net zero climate plans are incompatible with achieving global climate goals. Their strategy is to keep polluting while offsetting their emissions with vast tree plantations. This will require land the equivalent of three times the size of the Netherlands, which risks driving conflicts over food and land in the Global South.

“The communities that we work with are already being devastated by the climate crisis. They are the worst hit, but the least to blame. Big polluters like Shell have an outsized responsibility to help tackle climate change. We hope the judge will take this historic opportunity to hold Shell accountable for its actions and ensure it cuts its emissions in line with the Paris Agreement.”


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Notes to editors:

ActionAid is one of seven environmental and human rights organisations, led by Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie), that are part of a historic legal action against Shell, launched in 2018. The case demands that Shell reduces its emissions in line with the global goals set out in the Paris Climate Agreement. This means Shell must cut its emissions 45% by 2030.

Shell’s net zero climate plans: To reach net zero emissions by 2050, Shell plans to offset 120 million tonnes of CO2 in 2030 by planting vast tree plantations. ActionAid’s analysis finds this would need 12 million hectares of land – the equivalent of three times the size of the Netherlands.

Instead of phasing out fossil fuels over the next decade to cut harmful CO2 emissions, Shell will continue investing $4billion a year in fossil gas, and $8billion a year on oil and gas exploration, compared to just $2-3billion in renewable energy.

Shell in the Niger Delta: In November 2020, ActionAid worked with Nigerian filmmaker Nora Awolowo to capture the stories of communities affected by Shell’s polluting activities in the Niger Delta. She spoke to families whose lives and livelihoods are being devastated by oil spills, gas flaring, polluted water and human rights abuses.

Communities in the Niger Delta are also being hit by increasingly frequent and severe flooding, fuelled by the climate crisis, caused by Shell and other big polluters.

Download media b-roll and stills here: