In the last week of May, a judge in The Hague district court in the Netherlands ruled that Shell must cut its emissions by 45% by 2030 relative to 2019 levels. Before this ruling, courts in the Netherlands, France and Germany had concentrated on holding governments to their commitments under the Paris climate deal of 2015. States were found guilty of denying basic rights to future citizens, triggering more ambitious climate plans. The landmark Hague decision shows that corporations can now be ordered to comply with the goals of the Paris agreement. The judgement placed responsibility on Shell not just for its own emissions but for those of its customers. Taken together these amounted to 1.7 billion tons of CO2 in 2019, about the same as Russia, the world’s fourth-largest polluter. The company, headquartered in Holland, will appeal. The story will not end here, but the pressure to ‘clean up their act’ is clearly growing on both states and the private sector as we approach COP 26 in November
Foreign Policy magazine 27 May 2021
President Bíden has reversed the plans approved by Donald Trump to allow companies to drill for oil and gas in Alaska’s Arctic National wildlife refuge, a remote region that is home for polar bears, caribou, snowy owls and migrating birds from six continents – and 11 billion barrels of oil. The decision to suspend the oil drilling licences follows the temporary moratorium on oil and gas lease activities imposed by Joe Biden on his first day in office, and serves as a high-profile show of his climate credentials after approving hundreds of requests to drill on federal lands in recent weeks.
More details: Guardian 2 June 2021