The British-Dutch Multinational oil and gas organization Shell faces the threat of legal action if it does not respond immediately to the demands of Friends of the Earth Netherlands to desist from its perceived destruction of the earth’s climate. This suit if lost by Shell could have rather damaging effects on the oil and gas holdings of the company on a global scale.
Advocates of climate change world over refer to the numerous oil spills as well as water contamination, abuses of human rights and wanton destruction as the handiwork of companies such as Shell. Many are of the view that shell is guilty of many of these crimes. Back in the month of July 2017, a report gotten from CDP indicated that about 71% of the greenhouse gas emissions dating back to 1998 derive their origin from the 100 producers of fossil fuels, and Shell was identified as one of the companies which were ranked as one of the highest emitters of same.
I have said previously that a number of advocates of the environment usually adopt a rather naive approach to what the companies ordinarily should have done. However, the obtainable reality is that we cannot simply end the use of fossil fuels without it leading to a large-scale effect on lives as well as living conditions over the world. However, on the other side, it is vital to recognize that organizations such as Shell have been in the know for well over 3 decades that fossil fuels have a rather damning effect on the environment especially as it has to do with Climate change.
In the defense of Multi-National company Shell; it has been making rather significant steps to mend its image as it has to do with the public. Shell has made it a part of its mandate to invest in clean sources of energy as well as electric car technologies. Back in the month of January, Shell bought into Silicon Ranch Corporation a solar owner and operator based in Nashville. This was as a part of a $20 million investment in spearheading the rural distributed company Husk power systems which operate in Africa and Asia and made an announcement for a power purchase pact for the Bradenstoke solar plant located in England.
In addition to this, back in November 2017, shell made public plans to reduce the total carbon footprint of its products by about 50% before the year 2050 with an initial projection of 20% by the year 2035.
However, despite the good all of this appears to be doing for the image of Shell, it still is considered as inadequate considering the position of the organization. It is believed that it should be doing more in its quest to fight the damning effect of global warming especially owing to the perceived direct input of shell in the issue of global warming.
By reason of this, Friends of the Earth Netherland as well as an organization Friends of the Earth International which is a synergy of about 75 member groups from different parts of the world advocating for justice for the climate- has made threats to charge shell to court if it does nothing on its request to act pertaining taking action against the destruction of the ecosystem.
In the words of Karin Nansen the chairperson of Friends of the Earth International, “this case is important for individuals all over and it is worthy of note that Shell is doing a whole lot on a global scale in terms of damaging the climate. With this lawsuit, Shell will surely be made to account for its actions.”
A notice letter was specifically sent by Friends of the Earth to the Chief executive officer of Shell Ben Van Beurden with a subject “Liability for inadequate climate policy”. In the opening statement, the brains behind the letter stated the reason why they held the opinion that Shell via its activities as well as corporate strategy is going against its legal responsibility of care by inducing damages to the climate all over the world and as such negating the Paris agreement.
The said letter is about 20 pages long and ends by asserting that in the interest of the human race as well the environment and generations unborn, Shell should take responsibility and meet up with its duty of care as well as its responsibility.
The primary aim of the legal threat is to make Shell find a solution to this rather unlawful situation by making sure that its investment decisions, as well as corporate activities, are in line with its climate targets on a global scale. If Milieudefensie is able to record success in its legal target against shell, it should make shell reduce its oil and gas investments on a global scale and hence lead to a compliance of climate agreements on the organization which should have serious effects on its business runnings.
This recent rise in legal actions as advocated for by the activist James Hansen is without doubt mounting pressure on the multi-Nationals. However, as regards it yielding any lasting or significant effect, time is the only thing that would tell.