Shell accelerates energy transition plan after Dutch court ruling

After Royal Dutch Shell issued an order in the Dutch court, it will speed up its plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The oil giant said it would “take up the challenge.”

Last month, the District Court of The Hague ruled that Shell must reduce its net carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels. The order affects the company’s entire global business.

Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said in a LinkedIn post on Wednesday that the company will speed up its energy transition plan as the court’s ruling “applies immediately and should not be suspended during the appeal period.”

“For Shell, this ruling does not mean change, but the acceleration of our strategy,” he said. “We will look for ways to further reduce emissions.”

Van Burden added: “This may mean taking some bold but cautious steps in the next few years.”

Judge Larisa Alwin said last month that the ruling of the case by environmentalists, including Milieudefensie, will have a “far-reaching impact” on the Anglo-Dutch company, but how Shell chooses to implement the order depends on Shell.

Alvin has said that Shell’s current climate strategy is not specific enough and added that the company has a human rights obligation to take further action.

Shell announced this year its plan to reduce the carbon intensity of the fossil fuels it produces and sells by 6% by 2023, 20% by 2030, and 45% by 2035, compared with 2016 levels.

These goals are part of its ambition to become a net zero emission company by 2050. Carbon intensity is a measure of carbon emissions per megajoule of energy sold, not an absolute measure of carbon emissions, a goal that activists have been lobbying for for a long time.

Van Burden said he was “disappointed” that Shell was “singled” by a ruling that he believed had little effect on reducing global carbon dioxide emissions.

Shell has long believed that attacking energy producers without simultaneously promoting changes in consumption habits would be a futile effort to combat climate change.

“Imagine Shell decided today to stop selling gasoline and diesel,” Van Burden said. “This will definitely reduce Shell’s carbon emissions. But it will not help the world at all. The demand for fuel will not change.”

He strengthened the company’s commitment to continue producing fossil fuels, which generated most of the oil giant’s cash, he said: “For a long time to come, we hope to continue to provide energy in the form of oil and natural gas products to meet customer needs. And maintain a financially strong company.”

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About the Author: Agnes Zang