Energy giant Shell has filed its appeal against a Dutch court challenging the ruling that ordered the oil, gas and fuel producer to cut its emissions faster in a landmark win for activists turning to courts to force climate action.
While Shell had set itself a target to reach net zero carbon neutrality by 2050, its intermediate targets were based on emissions intensity, which could in theory allow the group to increase fossil fuel output.
In last May’s ruling on the case brought by seven groups including Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth Netherlands, the court said that Shell must cut emissions faster and reduce its absolute emissions by 45 per cent by 2030.
Shell said at the time of the ruling that it would appeal. In a post on LinkedIn, Marjan van Loon, Shell’s Netherlands President, said the appeal was filed on March 22.
The vast majority of Shell’s emissions are so-called Scope 3 emissions from the use of its products by customers, such as when gasoline is combusted in a car or jet fuel on a plane.
Shell Chief Executive Ben van Beurden has argued that Shell can reach net zero only if society as a whole moves to net zero.
“The judgment holds Shell responsible for reducing the emissions of its customers from the use of its products,” he said. “We question how Shell can have a legal obligation to reduce carbon emissions we do not control from customers who are not under a similar legal obligation to reduce their emissions.
“If we decided to stop selling petrol, it would not mean that people would buy less petrol. Customers would buy it elsewhere.”