Shell faces historic legal action for its failure to act on climate change

4 April 2018

Friends of the Earth Netherlands announced today that they will take Shell to court if it does not act on demands to stop its destruction of the climate.

The Friends of the Earth Netherlands case is the first climate lawsuit demanding a fossil fuel company acts on climate change, rather than seeking compensation. This ground-breaking case, if successful, would significantly limit Shell's investments in oil and gas globally by forcing them to comply with climate targets.


Karin Nansen, chair of Friends of the Earth International commented: ”This case matters for people everywhere. Shell is doing enormous damage worldwide – climate change and dirty energy have devastating impacts around the world, but especially in the global South. With this lawsuit we have a chance to hold Shell to account.”

Nansen added:If we win this case, it has major consequences for other fossil companies, and opens the door for further legal action against other climate polluters. Friends of the Earth International wants to see binding rules for corporations like Shell who so often regard themselves as being above the law, including when it comes to climate goals.”

Shell is among the ten biggest climate polluters worldwide, one of Europe’s biggest fossil fuel companies, and a major fossil fuel lobbyist

Shell is currently heavily promoting gas as a ‘clean fuel’ even as research shows that Europe cannot continue to use fossil fuels including gas and meet commitments to limit global warming to ‘well below 2°C’ and to ‘pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5°C’, as agreed in the Paris climate agreement. Shell is planning to invest in Europe’s biggest fossil fuel project – the Nord Stream II gas pipeline from Russia to Germany proposed to last 50 years.

Colin Roche, extractive industries campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: “Not only is Shell one of Europe’s biggest climate polluters but also one of Europe’s biggest carbon pushers, continuing to lobby for a fossil fuel future even as the effects of climate change begin to ruin lives and livelihoods across the planet."

The case is supported by Friends of the Earth International and Friends of the Earth Europe.

Friends of the Earth Netherlands’ case is part of a growing global movement to hold companies to account for their contribution to dangerous climate change.