Four seismic climate wins show big oil, gas and coal are running out of places to hide.

The Climate Council has reported on 3 June that:

  1. A district court in the Hague ruled that Royal Dutch Shell must slash its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels.  
  2. In an upset at Exxon Mobil, an activist hedge fund won two seats on the company’s board. 
  3. 61% of Chevron shareholders backed a resolution to force Chevron to slash its greenhouse emissions.
  4. The Australian Federal Court ruled that the federal Minister for the Environment, when deciding whether or not to approve a new coal mine, owes a duty of care to young people to avoid causing them personal injury from climate change.

The Climate Council explains that a district court in the Hague ruled that Royal Dutch Shell must slash its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels.

According to the Climate Council, this could have significant implications for the Australian gas industry, as Royal Dutch Shell holds large interests in some of our biggest gas projects.

This is the latest in a series of court rulings globally that are placing the responsibility of emissions reductions on large polluting corporations. As this global trend continues, an over-reliance on fossil fuel exports leaves Australia in an increasingly precarious position.

The Climate Council elaborates that, to date, the question of whether corporate polluters can be legally forced to reduce greenhouse emissions has remained unanswered. Whilst fossil fuel companies have faced a string of climate lawsuits in the United States and Europe, courts have often dismissed the claims on procedural grounds.

Cases brought against governments have been more successful. In 2019, for example, the Dutch Supreme Court affirmed the government has a legal duty to prevent dangerous climate change.

The decision against Shell is significant, and sends a clear signal that corporations can be held legally responsible for greenhouse pollution.

The ABC states that while Dutch law doesn’t extend to Australia, “the size of Shell’s Australian interests virtually guarantee that it will be closely examining its operations.”

Shell is a possible partner of Woodside’s disastrous Burrup Hub proposal, and you can help by emailing Shell, asking them not to fund Woodside’s Burrup Hub fossil gas expansion.

Big businesses should recognise that the writing is on the wall for fossil fuels, in a world which has the technology, people power, communication abilities, renewable energy sources, and the intelligence, need and un-selfish will to stop polluting and warming the planet (while there’s still time to do so). 

We need the community to get on board, to help build pressure on corporations and politicians to take the immediate actions required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – to ensure a safe and healthy environment for us today, and for future generations.

If you are someone who would like to join our movement and get involved in actions, please sign up to volunteer here, and someone from the 350 Boorloo Perth team will get in touch!

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