Stormy weather over Shell

Staff Writer | Apr 09, 2019
Shell, the oil company, is under pressure by the climate change lobby through legal action.

Climate marchers converged on Shell's headquarters in The Hague, Netherlands on Friday 5 March to deliver a summons forcing Shell to meet targets set by the Paris accord. The activists were greeted with coffee from an electric drinks van. 

Shell said that while it "shares concerns about the climate", it "believes in a solution outside the courtroom”.

Roger Cox, lawyer for Dutch climate group Milieudefensie, said: "We are taking Shell to court because it's not keeping to the aims of the Paris climate agreements. This way we are trying to prevent huge damage."

The protesters carried banners with slogans such as "We Shell overcome – eventually" and red posters saying "Shell is as green as this poster".

Shell Netherlands CEO Marjan van Loon addressed the protesters outside the building, saying that fighting climate change was a "team sport".

The plaintiffs said that under Dutch law, Shell was unlawfully endangering peoples' lives by not acting to prevent global warming.

The summons also alleges that Shell has known about climate change since the 1950s and has been aware of its serious consequences since 1986.

Shell, however, has not taken any serious steps to minimise its share in climate change.

Shell is one of five oil and gas majors that have spent more than $1 billion on lobbying against climate legislation since the Paris deal.

In South Africa last week, the North Gauteng High Court found BP guilty in possibly South Africa's first-ever successful private prosecution for environmental crime.

BP could be liable for fines worth millions for building 17 filling stations in Gauteng without environmental approval.

The court held that BP’s failure to do environmental checks before building the filling stations could lead to ground pollution or an accident.

“…In these incidences BP simply went ahead and built the filling stations with no prior assessment at all,” said Gideon Erasmus of the Uzani Environment Advocacy.

BP could be liable for R100 000 in fines for each of the 17 stations and up to three times the commercial value of the filling stations.

BP disagrees with the judgment and is considering its options.




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