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Shell Claims Court Ruling on Emissions Will Slow the Energy Transition

The landmark ruling of a Dutch court that ordered Shell to slash its emissions could obstruct the role the supermajor can play in the energy transition and could slow the fight against climate change, Shell's lawyers argued on Tuesday in the hearing of the company's appeal against the ruling.

Back in 2021, the District Court in The Hague ordered the oil supermajor to slash its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 in a landmark ruling in a climate case brought by environmentalists that could set precedents for other oil companies. The court ordered Shell to slash net carbon emissions by 45% within ten years and start complying with the ruling "immediately." These emission reductions would include the so-called Scope 3 emissions, those generated by the use of its producers, per the order.

Shell appealed the ruling, and today, on the first day of hearings in The Hague in the appeal, Shell's lawyer Daan Lunsingh Scheurleer told the court that "This case has no legal basis," as carried by Reuters.

The court ruling also "obstructs the role that Shell can and wants to play in the energy transition," Shell's lawyer argued.

Shell is investing in low-carbon energy solutions and its own emission goals to cut Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions go beyond those in the court order, the lawyers said, but noted that a general order to cut the total emissions of Shell products by 45% goes too far.

"A general application of this order is impossible without drastic measures," Scheurleer told the court.

The court will hear arguments this week, with a decision expected later this year. Regardless of the higher court's decision, an appeal to the Supreme Court in the Netherlands is expected.

Earlier this year, Shell reaffirmed its ambitions to be a net-zero energy business by 2050 but eased its carbon intensity target for 2030 as it has shifted away from clean power sales to retail customers.

By Charles Kennedy for

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