Friends of the Earth has taken Shell to court “to force it to cease its destruction of the climate”.
The environmental group says it has made the landmark move on behalf of more than 30,000 people from across 70 countries.
The Dutch branch of the group delivered a court summons to the energy giant’s international headquarters in the Hague, supported by ActionAid NL, Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL, Greenpeace NL, Young Friends of the Earth NL, Waddenvereniging and a group of 500 other plaintiffs.
The activists claims the company had early knowledge of climate change but continues to lobby against climate policies and to invest billions in oil and gas extraction.
They allege Shell’s current climate goals do not guarantee any emissions reductions and claim they even threaten human rights laws, including ‘the right to life’ and ‘the right to family life’.
Friends of the Earth hopes to force Shell to reduce its emissions by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010 levels and to go zero-emission by 2050.
Donald Pols, Director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands, said: “Shell’s directors still do not want to say goodbye to oil and gas. They would pull the world into the abyss. The judge can prevent this from happening.”
A Shell spokesperson said: “We agree that action is needed now on climate change so we fully support the Paris Agreement and the need for society to transition to a lower carbon future. We’re committed to playing our part by addressing our own emissions and helping customers to reduce theirs.
“Addressing a challenge as big as climate change requires a truly collaborative, society-wide approach. We believe that smart policy from government, supported by inclusive action from businesses like ours and from civil society, is the best way to reach solutions and drive progress.”