The People vs. Shell case
We took Shell, one of the biggest climate polluters in the world, to court for causing climate change and we WON! The Shell case is a monumental victory for climate justice.
On 26 May 2021, the District Court of the Hague held Shell liable for causing dangerous climate change. As a result of legal action brought by Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie) together with 17,000 co-plaintiffs and six other organisations, the court ruled that Shell must reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% within 10 years. This historic verdict has enormous consequences for Shell and other big polluters globally.
Shell’s responsibility for climate change
Shell has known about the severity of climate change and the impacts of oil drilling for years, and has not only misled the public, but continues drilling for oil. In Nigeria, Shell continues to leave a trail of oil spills, gas flaring, water contamination, human rights abuses and destruction.
Instead of accepting and acting on the Court’s verdict Shell is wasting time with an appeal.
We only have a few years to keep the global temperature rise below 1.5 degrees and to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. Peoples around the world are acting to reduce emissions, but a mere 25 fossil fuel companies and state-owned entities are responsible for more than half the world’s greenhouse gas emissions. By continuing to extract fossil fuels they are leading us into climate catastrophe.
Stop Shell and regulate corporations
Friends of the Earth International, our member groups and allies are challenging these companies in the courts, on the streets and in parliaments around the world. We need binding laws at the national level and a new international treaty to regulate transnational corporations and to force big business to respect human rights, keep fossil fuels in the ground and reduce emissions. Together we are people power and we are fighting for climate justice.
Key documents in the Shell climate case:
- Statement of defence on appeal, October 2022
- Court verdict, May 2021
- Interview with Donald Pols, director of Milieudefensie, on the victory against Shell, July 2021
- Summary of Court Summons, 5 April 2019
- Legal Summons in full, unofficial translation from Dutch original, 5 April 2019
- Interview with Roger Cox, leading lawyer in the case against Shell, 5 April 2019
- Shell’s response to legal letter, 28 May 2018
- Legal letter to Shell, 4 April 2018
Shell made an appeal against the judgement on 26 May 2021, to which Milieudefensie responded. The outcome of the appeal is still pending. Check the Milieudefensie website for the latest Shell case developments.