Victory for activists

Shell and ExxonMobil feel heat of climate action

Backlash against big oil

Climate activists have scored a milestone victory over big oil following a court ruling against Shell and investor action to force boardroom changes at ExxonMobil.

A Dutch court ordered Shell to drastically cut its carbon footprint, while ExxonMobil was forced to accept activists on to its board.

The landmark court ruling in The Hague marks the first time a fossil fuel company has been held accountable for its contribution to climate change and forced to reduce greenhouse gas emissions throughout its whole supply chain.

Seven campaign groups, including Friends of the Earth Netherlands and Greenpeace Netherlands took the case to court on behalf of 17,000 Dutch citizens.

Shell, which had already announced internal targets for cutting emissions, will now have to make radical changes to its operations to meet the international aim of limiting global warming to 1.5C set out in the Paris Agreement.

The company is said to be responsible for 2.36% of all emissions and will now have to cut carbon dioxide gases by 45% over the next ten years, a considerable hike in its own target of 20%.

The case is the first time activists have taken a major energy firm to court to compel it to overhaul its climate strategy and campaigners described the verdict as a “historic victory” for people and the earth.

Andy Palmen, interim director of Greenpeace Netherlands, said: ”This verdict is a historic victory for the climate and everyone facing the consequences of the climate crisis.

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“Shell cannot continue to violate human rights and put profit over people and the planet.

However, Shell is expected to launch an appeal against what a spokesperson for the firm described as a “disappointing court decision”.

The spokesperson added: “We are investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, including electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, renewables and biofuels.

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