Environmental group ClientEarth has opened legal proceedings against Shell for failing to prepare for net-zero. The case holds 13 Shell directors liable for the company’s inaction.

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The way this first-of-its-kind case will turn out could determine the future of decarbonization. If ClientEarth wins, more companies may be forced to commit to decarbonization. If ClientEarth loses, highly polluting companies may be emboldened to continue their operations.

Related: Campaigners in South Africa halt Shell’s oil exploration

ClientEarth lawyers argue Shell’s failure to enact a practical climate strategy violates the Paris Agreement. According to ClientEarth lawyers, directors legally must adopt strategies to protect the environment under the U.K.’s Companies Act.

Further, ClientEarth says the legal actions being taken are in the best interests of Shell and its shareholders. They argue the company running without a proper long-term plan could lead to unsustainable high profits.

“We believe that there are sufficient grounds to assert that Shell’s Board is mismanaging the material and foreseeable climate risk facing the company,” said Paul Benson, ClientEarth lawyer. “Shell is seriously exposed to the physical and transitional risks of climate change, yet its climate plan is fundamentally flawed. If, as we claim, the company’s plan is being held up to be Paris-aligned when it is not, then there is a risk of misleading investors and the market at large.”

Meanwhile, Shell claims it has already done enough to prepare for net-zero. Through a spokesperson, the company said it is working toward net-zero targets. “To be a net zero emissions business by 2050, we are delivering on our global strategy that supports the Paris agreement. This includes the industry-leading target we have set to halve emissions from our global operations by 2030 and transforming our business to provide more low carbon energy for customers,” a Shell spokesperson said.

Currently, it’s a waiting game to see how the case is argued and decided. A win for ClientEarth would be a big win for the climate. Additionally, this could also pave the way for other countries to deal with large emitters that have refused to comply with climate targets. On the other hand, losing the case could spell bad news for Earth’s future.

Via Energy Live News

Lead image via Pixabay