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Shell face Climate Lawsuit

written by Joel Kenrick

Royal Dutch Shell threatened with climate change legal action: 'Royal Dutch Shell has been threatened with legal action aimed at forcing the oil and gas group to shift away from fossil fuels in support of efforts to tackle climate change' report the Financial Times (4 Apr). 'The case against Shell is being led by Roger Cox, the lawyer who won a landmark judgment in 2015 forcing the Dutch government to set more ambitious carbon reduction targets.'

'Shell was already facing a resolution at its annual meeting in May from activist shareholders [Follow This] calling on the group to bring its business into line with Paris,' noted the FT. The Guardian also have the story, noting that any fight between Shell and Friends of the Earth 'would be a challenge of David and Goliath proportions' but that the Dutch courts have produced surprises, including ruling the Dutch governments plans to cut emissions by just 14-17% by 2002 was unlawful given the scale of the theat from climate change.

Similarly in the US Vox report 'Chevron just agreed in court that humans cause climate change, setting a new legal precedent, but the question of whether a city can sue an oil company for climate change damage remains murky.' (28 Mar)

Shell launch Paris Agreement based 'SKY' scenario: 'The scenario, which finds the world in a net-zero emissions state by 2070, is based on the idea that “a simple extension of current efforts, whether efficiency mandates, modest carbon taxes, or renewable energy supports, is insufficient for the scale of change required,” the oil company document reads' (Washington Post, 26 March). Shell say: The Sky Scenario illustrates a technically possible, but challenging pathway for society to achieve the goals of the Paris Agreement.'

'For the first time, the Anglo Dutch firm, which is facing calls by activist shareholders to take stronger action on global warming, has mapped out how the world could hit the Paris climate deal’s target of keeping temperature rises below 2C write The Guardian. 'Planes and trucks powered by hydrogen will be a crucial part of efforts to cut carbon emissions to safe levels, according to oil giant Shell.'

In detailed analysis Simon Evans at Carbon Brief and David Roberts at Vox compare the scenario to others. Evans says that: 'Carbon Brief analysis shows that Shell’s scenario is broadly consistent with other well-below 2C pathways drawn from the academic literature. Almost all of these alternative futures share a heavy reliance on using unproven negative emissions technologies to suck excess CO2 from the atmosphere.'

Roberts notes that: 'To summarize: Shell’s Sky scenario, like most mainstream decarbonization scenarios these days, delays radical emission reductions for a few decades; to compensate, it targets only a 66 percent chance of 2°C and banks on hundreds of gigatons of negative emissions later in the century. The problem is not so much that Shell is constructing a scenario designed to be gentle on giant energy incumbents; the problem is that most 2°C scenarios do that.

Shell Knew: 'It wasn't just Exxon: Shell knew the truth about global warming at least 30 years ago', write Mashable. 'The documents, posted online at the Climate Files website and the Climate Investigations Center, show that Shell researchers were remarkably prescient about how global warming would play out, and the eventual legal ramifications for oil companies given the warnings.' ... 'The 1998 report envisioned class action lawsuits filed after these storms against the government and fossil fuel companies, because these entities ignored what scientists "(including their own) have been saying for years: that something must be done." The Washington Post also cover the news in their story 'Shell foresaw climate dangers in 1988 and understood Big Oil's big role.'

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