Shell served legal summons in historic
Friends of the Earth
has today delivered a court summons to Shell at its
headquarters in the Hague, to legally compel the company to cease its
destruction of the climate, in a historic climate litigation on behalf of more
than 30,000 people from 70 countries.
The 236-page complaint was
delivered to Shell’s international headquarters this afternoon by
Milieudefensie/Friends of the Earth Netherlands together with ActionAid NL,
Both ENDS, Fossielvrij NL, Greenpeace NL, Young Friends of the Earth NL,
Waddenvereniging and a group of 500 co-plaintiffs.
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.”
Groundbreaking climate litigation
In the court summons, Friends of the
Earth Netherlands outlines why it is bringing this groundbreaking climate
litigation case against Shell - highlighting the company’s early
knowledge of climate change and its own role in causing it.
Despite acknowledging that the fossil
fuel industry has a responsibility to act on climate change, and claiming to
“strongly support” the Paris Agreement, Shell continues to lobby against
climate policies and to invest billions in further oil and gas extraction. This
is incompatible with global climate goals.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, a
key piece of evidence in this case, underlines the importance of limiting
global warming to 1.5 degrees for the protection of ecosystems and human lives,
and outlines the devastating and potentially irreversible impacts of any “extra
bit of warming”.
'I believe that we we will win', zingen de eisers in
de #klimaatzaak #KlimaatzaakShell bij
het HQ, overhandiging dagvaarding. pic.twitter.com/zj7DrTHDp7
— Egbert Born (@EgbertBorn) April 5, 2019
Shell knowingly undermining chance to
stay below 1.5C
The court summons proves that Shell's
current climate ambitions do not guarantee any emissions reductions, but would
in fact contribute to a huge overshoot of 1.5 degrees of global warming.
The plaintiffs argue that Shell is
violating its duty of care and threatening human rights by knowingly
undermining the world’s chances to stay below 1.5C.
In addition, the plaintiffs argue that
Shell is violating Articles 2 and 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights:
the right to life and the right to family life. In a historic Urgenda case
against the Dutch state, the Dutch Appeals court created a precedent by
ruling that a failure to achieve climate goals leads to human rights
violations. The court ordered the Dutch state to cut its greenhouse gas
emissions by at least 25% by the end of 2020.
Legal obligation for Shell to change its
Roger Cox, lawyer -
who initially represented Urgenda and is now leading Friends of the Earth’s
case against Shell - said:
“If successful, the uniqueness of the
case would be that Shell, as one of the largest multinational corporations in
the world, would be legally obligated to change its business operations. We
also expect that this would have an effect on other fossil fuel companies,
raising the pressure on them to change.”
The court case would, if successful,
rule that Shell must reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 compared to 2010
levels and to zero by 2050, in line with the Paris Agreement. This would have
major implications, requiring Shell to move away from fossil fuels.
Colin Roche, fossil free campaigner for
Friends of the Earth Europe said:
“In leaked company documents from the
1990s, Shell predicted
that environmental organisations would start suing the company for
causing climate change if it did not listen to the warnings of its own
scientists. Well, that day has come.
"This rising tide of climate
litigation will finally call climate-wrecking corporations like Shell to
account and stop them in their tracks - helping to unleash the fossil free
future we desperately need.”
Several lawsuits holding polluting companies to
account for contributing to climate change exist globally. In 2016 a Peruvian
farmer filed a lawsuit suing German coal company RWE for its contribution to
glacier melt. In 2017 several American cities and states started climate cases
against Shell, BP, ExxonMobil and Chevron.
Stay tuned: at 4pm CET today @Shell will receive a court summons demanding
it to reduce its emissions in line with climate goals. This case is supported
by 17.379 individual co-plaintiffs and 57 organisations worldwide! More details
to come. #StopShell https://t.co/KgNRgXXJyY pic.twitter.com/z89Zw9l1Y7
— Laurie van der Burg (@LaurievdBurg) April 5, 2019