Environmental Court Cases: Royal Dutch Shell

Natural Justice have developed a series of summaries of significant court cases from across the world related to climate change and rights of nature. These are designed for the public, policy makers and practitioners and provide a snapshot of cases that are being brought to courts in order to advance the protection and rights of nature, including seeking ways to hold governments accountable for their international commitments to reducing carbon emissions


Burning fossil fuels on a massive scale has released carbon dioxide (CO2) into the atmosphere and caused an increase in global temperature. Recently, climate science has dictated that the average temperature on earth should not increase by more than 1.5ºC.

On 12 September 2019, Shell Nederland, part of the Shell group, signed the Climate Agreement encompassing a package of measures and agreement between companies, social organizations and government bodies for the joint reduction of greenhouse gas emissions in the Netherlands by 49% in 2030 relative to 1990.

The environmental group brought the case to court in 2019, alongside six other bodies and more than 17,000 Dutch citizens, calling for RDS to cut its CO2 emissions.

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