Royal Dutch Shell Plc on July 20 confirmed it will appeal a Dutch court ruling ordering it to accelerate its carbon emission reduction target.

Despite already setting one of the sector’s most ambitious climate strategies earlier this year, Shell was ordered in May by a district court in The Hague to reduce its CO₂ emissions by 45% from 2019 levels by 2030. The move was considered a landmark ruling as it could trigger further legal action on climate issues against energy companies around the world.

Shell, an Anglo-Dutch company with international operations, had previously said it would appeal the ruling but would still seek to ramp up its energy transition strategy.

“We agree urgent action is needed and we will accelerate our transition to net zero,” said Shell CEO Ben van Beurden in a statement on July 20.

“But we will appeal because a court judgment, against a single company, is not effective,” he continued. “What is needed are clear, ambitious policies that will drive fundamental change across the whole energy system.”


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Shell has already set out a number of actions to reduce Scope 1 and 2 emissions through a combination of energy efficiency improvements, the elimination of routine flaring, carbon capture and storage technology, working with suppliers to use renewable electricity in facilities and concentrating its global refining portfolio from 13 Shell-controlled sites in 2019 into five energy and chemicals parks by 2030.

As for Scope 3 emissions, which account for over 90% of Shell’s emissions, the company said it is working with its customers to achieve its net-zero target.

In the release, Shell noted its oil production peaked in 2019 and is expected to decline gradually by 1%-2% a year, including divestments, until 2030. Further, Shell expects that total carbon emissions for the company peaked in 2018.