Shell has thrown down the gauntlet to all those fossil fuel fools who predicted the company’s loss in a Dutch court last month on its pace of emission reduction would not matter and would be overturned on appeal.
Instead of sitting pat and challenging the decision, Royal Dutch Shell says it will accelerate its plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions with the oil giant saying it would “rise to the challenge” – even though it is appealing the ruling.
Last month, the District Court in The Hague ruled that Shell must reduce its net carbon emissions by 45% by 2030, compared with the 2019 level. It had planned to cut them by 45% by 2035.
Shell CEO Ben van Beurden said on Wednesday that, as the court’s decision “applies immediately and should not be suspended pending an appeal”, the company would fast track its plan for the energy transition.
Shell says it still plans to appeal the May 26 court ruling but Mr van Beurden said in a LinkedIn post that “For Shell, this ruling does not mean a change, but rather an acceleration of our strategy.”
That raises the question why is the company still appealing the decision and if it wins the appeal, will it backtrack on the new, faster cuts?
In February, Shell set out an ambitious climate strategy, especially compared to peers like BP and Exxon Mobil.
It has a target to cut the carbon intensity of its products by at least 6% by 2023, by 20% by 2030, by 45% by 2035 and by 100% by 2050 from 2016 levels.
“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,” the CEO said in his post.
The court ruling called for Shell to cut its absolute carbon emissions, a move van Beurden had previously rejected because it would force Shell to scale back its oil and gas business, which account for the vast majority of its revenue.
Shell currently plans to increase spending on renewables and low carbon technologies to up to 25% of its overall budget by 2025.
Shell is the world’s top oil and gas trader and said earlier this year its carbon emissions peaked in 2018, while its oil output peaked in 2019 and was set to drop by 1% to 2% per year.
Mr van Beurden repeated his call for governments and companies to tackle oil and gas consumption around the world, and not only supply.