WHEN?

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By Anne T. Sulton, Ph.D., J.D.
JA Senior International Correspondent

Last week, I informed our readers about Milieudefensie’s “revolutionary lawsuit”. Milieudefensie is the Dutch arm of Friends of the Earth.

Milieudefensie sued Shell Oil, claiming that Shell violates human rights by extracting fossil fuels. It also contends that Shell’s actions undermine international agreements designed to limit global warming.

Last week, the Dutch court hearing the case ruled in favor of Milieudefensie and against Shell. The court’s landmark decision has international significance.

According to Milieudefensie, essentially the court ruled that “Shell must go green”. Milieudefensie reports that among the “most important points” from the court’s decision are:

  • Shell causes dangerous climate change, putting lives at risk – it must respect human rights.
  • Shell must reduce it CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030.
  • Shell is responsible for corporate and consumer CO2 emissions.
  • Shell must be a leader in helping consumers to select more sustainable choices.
  • Shell is responsible to design rules to prevent climate change – climate change rule making is not the sole task of government.
  • Shell’s burdens to change it policies are outweighed by the earth’s future.
  • Shell must start making changes now.

The lawsuit was a bold step by people trying to protect the planet. The Dutch court’s decision too was bold. Bold steps are required now because climate change is happening now.

When – by what date certain – will USA based courts hold fossil fuel producing corporations accountable for their contributions to dangerous climate change?