One of the world’s largest grassroots environmental networks has announced its intentions to take legal action against Shell for its failure to act on climate change.

According to Donald Pols, director of Friends of the Earth Netherlands Shell is among the ten biggest climate polluters worldwide.

“It has known for over 30 years that it is causing dangerous climate change, but continues to extract oil and gas and invests billions in the search and development of new fossil fuels,” Pols noted in a statement recently.

Campaigning for climate justice

Closer to home the oil and gas giant was at the center of the fracking explorations in the Karoo before the exploration was put to an end.  According to groundWork’s Climate Justice and Energy Campaigner, Samuel Chademana notes that Shell and oil and gas companies alike, have a long history of non-compliance. “This lawsuit is a welcomed attempt by civil society to hold the multinational accountable for its destruction,” he says.

The case is supported by Friends of the Earth International, which campaigns for climate justice for people across the world impacted by dirty energy and climate change.

Karin Nansen, chair of Friends of the Earth International comments: “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.”

Major consequences going forward

The case is unique because it is the first climate lawsuit demanding that 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 requiring them to comply with global climate targets.

Nansen adds: “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. We want 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.