A Dutch court has ruled that Royal Dutch Shell must significantly cut its carbon emissions in a landmark climate decision that could spell trouble for oil companies. 

What is Happening?

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Roger Cox, lawyer for Friends of the Earth Netherlands, said, “This is a turning point in history.” 

Eric De Brabandere,  a professor of international dispute settlement at Leiden University in the Netherlands, said, “I can imagine this will inspire a series of other cases against companies, especially those active in the oil extraction industries like Shell. It is a groundbreaking decision, it’s really a landmark.”

Mounting Pressure on Shell 

In a statement, a Shell spokesperson said, “We are investing billions of dollars in low-carbon energy, including electric vehicle charging, hydrogen, renewables and biofuels. We want to grow demand for these products and scale up our new energy businesses even more quickly. We will continue to focus on these efforts and fully expect to appeal today’s disappointing court decision.” 

Mounting Pressure on Big Oil

Friends of the Earth Netherlands director Donald Pols told reporters, “Shell is the first but will not be the last company that will be forced to stop dangerous climate change. As of today climate lawsuits are a material risk for all major polluters in the world.”

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