Shell to step up climate effort but still provide oil and gas, appeal Dutch ruling: CEO
10th June 2021 04:04 GMT

Shell will accelerate its emissions reductions efforts after being ordered to do so by a Dutch district court but, at the same time, still intends to appeal the ruling and will be providing oil and gas "for a long time to come", CEO Ben van Beurden said June 9.

In a message on the LinkedIn website, van Beurden said he felt Shell was unfairly singled out by the May 26 ruling of a district court in the Hague ordering the multinational to cut its carbon footprint by 45% globally by 2030.

He said this would not have an impact on hydrocarbon consumption or emissions as other providers would step in, and noted shareholders had approved Shell's energy transition strategy by a wide margin.

The Hague district court said Shell had a duty to reduce its own emissions and those of its suppliers and customers and warned the company was in "imminent" danger of breaching its responsibilities, in a case brought by the Dutch chapter of Friends of the Earth and other campaign groups.

Shell's strategy before the ruling envisaged a slower reduction in emissions of 20% by 2030 and 45% by 2035 from a 2016 baseline. The targets include emissions from consumption of its products. However, the court pointed to the pathway set out by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Van Beurden noted the court's demand the ruling be complied with immediately, and said: "This ruling does not mean a change, but rather an acceleration of our strategy. We have a clear target to become a net-zero emissions business by 2050, in step with society's progress towards achieving the goal of the Paris Agreement. We have set rigorous, short-term reduction targets along the way."

"But now we will seek ways to reduce emissions even further in a way that remains purposeful and profitable. That is likely to mean taking some bold but measured steps over the coming years," he said in the comment titled "The spirit of Shell will rise to the challenge".

However, "For a long time to come we expect to continue providing energy in the form of oil and gas products both to meet customer demand, and to maintain a financially strong company. We need this financial strength to keep attracting investment in Shell. So we can deliver the energy the world needs, invest in lower-carbon energy and support livelihoods," van Beurden said.

He went on to say the company was "carefully reviewing the court's judgment and the challenges it presents, and we expect to appeal".

Though celebrated by environmental campaigners, the ruling has also met skepticism from some commentators, who have questioned whether it can apply outside the Netherlands and predicted potentially years of legal wrangling.

Platts ,
10th June 2021 04:04 GMT