Third day of hearing in the appeal: Shell cannot hide anymore

The Shell appeal hearings are over for this week. Yesterday was our turn to present our arguments to the court. Our main plea: Shell can’t make future generations pay the price for the climate mess they made.

Shell: 5th largest polluter in the world

Our lawyers made it clear that Shell has nowhere left to hide. They can’t put the blame on  governments or their customers. Or hide behind the inaction of other countries and companies. The fact remains that Shell is 1 of the largest and most powerful oil and gas companies in the world. Only 4 countries on the planet emit more than Shell does. With emissions of this scale, Shell can’t pretend the world isn’t better off when Shell cuts its carbon footprint. It’s the only way to protect future generations from paying the price for Shell’s wrongdoing.


Campaign leader Nine de Pater in front of the courthouse in The Hague. Photogtapher: Muzi Ndiweni.

Shell can change, and can change fast 

For a company like Shell, cutting down carbon emissions is not a matter of ability but of willingness. Shell emits far more CO2 than most countries in the world. That means they are in control of far more emissions than most of these countries. As Milieudefensie Lawyer Roger Cox argued in his plea:

“Milieudefensie isn’t asking Shell to close its doors tomorrow, or to cut off anyone’s oil and gas overnight. What Milieudefensie is asking of Shell is to play their role in the energy transition that is both urgent and feasible.”

Shell’s failed climate target

Today, we have pointed out the most striking examples of Shell’s failing climate policies to the court:

  • Shell is still investing heavily in oil and gas. The company plans to invest 40 billion dollars in the coming years.
  • 95% of Shell´s emissions (from consumers) are not covered by its climate targets;
  • Shell has recently weakened its climate ambitions
  • Last year, Shell scaled down their investments in renewable energy compared to 2022.

Shell can and must reduce its CO2 emissions. It’s the only way to prevent the worst possible climate outcomes.

A warning to other large polluters

Today we have shown what experts all agree on: Shell needs to be forced to curb its CO2 emissions if we want to combat dangerous climate change.

The 2021 ruling is not just an obligation for Shell to reduce its carbon emissions. It also signals a warning to other big polluters. They too run the risk of being taken to court over climate breakdown.

What’s next?

The hearings in the appeal are spread across 4 days. The last hearing is due on April 12th, when all parties will present their closing statements. This will be a special day. It is our last opportunity to convince the judges that they have to uphold the verdict. You can watch the hearings through this livestream (in Dutch).

Header photo: Lead researcher Sjoukje van Oosterhout and campaign leader Nine de Pater consult in court.