Shell has to reduce its CO2 emissions by nearly a half, court in The Hague rules

The Dutch-British multinational Shell has a responsibility to cut its carbon emissions in the coming years, a court in The Hague decreed in a case brought by the Dutch association Milieudefensie. 

The association believes that Shell is doing too little to reduce its carbon emissions. The multinational’s emission reduction targets are also not in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement.

Six other environmental organisations joined the lawsuit, including Greenpeace, Fossielvrij NL and Waddenvereniging. The cause was supported by more than 17,000 citizens, the NOS reports.

The court ruling

In announcing the ruling, the judge stated that “Shell must do its part to contribute to the fight against dangerous climate change. The oil company is obliged through its group policy to strictly reduce CO2 emissions of the Shell group and customers by a net 45% by the end of 2030, compared to the 2019 level.”

This verdict could set a precedent for future lawsuits against companies with high carbon emissions.  

Law against causing major hazard 

The Netherlands has a law which prohibits causing any major hazard if there are measures that can prevent it. The dangerous effects of climate change have been known since the 1960s meaning that ultimately, Shell has been breaking the law. 

READ MORE | OPINION: why the Shell verdict was much more than just a court case win

Milieudefensie also believes that Shell’s policy is a direct threat to human rights. Specifically, the right to life and health are jeopardised by Shell’s emissions. 

Do you agree that the court’s decision is a step in the right direction? Let us know in the comments below!

Feature Image: Markus Spiske/Unsplash

Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Jana Vondráčková 🇨🇿
Originally from the Czech Republic, Jana moved to the Netherlands for her studies. She fell in love with the local biking culture, and you’ll see her drifting through the streets of Rotterdam on her pink bike even in the worst possible weather (think rain, snow, hail, or all three). Besides advocating for Rotterdam as the best Dutch city, she likes to wander around with a camera in her hand.


  1. Score another one for the Climate Fascists, abetted by the quisling court! Gas prices will go UP and any positive effects will be negligible. The goal, of course, is simply to demonize those evil capitalist corporations and usher in the wonderful world of Big Brother where all is pure and nothing can possibly go wrong.


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