Royal Dutch Shell PLC said it would accelerate its efforts to cut its carbon emissions in the wake of a Dutch court ruling last month ordering the oil giant to take more drastic action. In a post on LinkedIn on Wednesday, Chief Executive Ben van Beurden said Shell disagreed with the ruling and still expected to appeal the court’s order to curb emissions by 45% by 2030, but nonetheless would rise to the challenge of doing more.
“Now we will seek ways to reduce emissions even further in a way that remains purposeful and profitable. That is likely to mean taking some bold but measured steps over the coming years,” Mr. van Beurden said. Shell in February set out plans to gradually reduce its oil output by 1-2% a year and expand in areas including electricity and biofuels. Other big oil companies have pledged to reduce their dependence on fossil fuels and invest more in low-carbon energy amid growing pressure from activists, investors and governments.
Mr. van Beurden didn’t elaborate on what actions the company might take or to what extent it would speed up its pivot to lower-carbon energy. Shell declined to comment further on his comments.
The district court in The Hague, ruling in a case brought by environmental organizations, said its decision was based on broadly accepted United Nations guidance aimed at limiting global warming and human-rights-related law that is similar across Europe. The ruling could set a precedent, at least in Europe, that individual companies bear a legal responsibility to protect people from climate change. “I still feel disappointed that Shell is being singled out by a ruling that I believe does not help reduce global CO2 emissions,” said Mr. van Beurden, adding that the company expects to produce oil and gas for a long time to come.