The Climate lawsuit against Shell
Both ENDS is co-plaintiff in the climate lawsuit being brought by Milieudefensie (Friends of the Earth The Netherlands) against Shell to stop the company from causing harm to the climate. Shell has known about the severity of the climate problem for many years but continues with the climate-polluting extraction of oil and gas. By doing so, it undermines efforts to achieve the climate goals. Companies have a responsibility not to cause serious harm to society and the climate. Because Shell refuses to take that responsibility itself, we are taking the company to court. In brief, we demand that Shell has zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 and adapts its activities to be fully aligned with the climate goals in the Paris Agreement.
Logical step for Both ENDS
It is a logical step for Both ENDS to be co-plaintiff as we have been working together with local environmental and other organisations in developing countries for many decades to combat the consequences of the activities of Shell and other fossil industry businesses for people around the world. We are not demanding compensation, but that Shell changes its course to help prevent climate change. We also hope that this case will lead to changes not only at Shell but also at other oil and gas companies that stand in the way of the energy transition.
Both ENDS’ added value over most of the other co-plaintiffs lies mainly in the link between global climate change, its impact on nature and the environment worldwide and its unprecedented impact on poor people in poor countries. We connect climate change to the Netherlands’ goals for combatting poverty around the world, such as the Sustainable Development Goals.
Pollution, destruction and climate change
A company such as Shell harms people in the countries where it is active in two ways. Firstly the consequences of climate change, to which the use of Shell’s products makes a significant contribution, disproportionately affect people in developing countries. Secondly the extraction of fossil fuels destroys ecosystems on a large scale, which not only causes more climate change but also seriously erodes the livelihoods of local populations: water sources become polluted and agriculture or fishing encounter severe obstacles. Our decision to become co-plaintiffs in this case is therefore based on our duty towards all people who suffer the impact of climate change on a daily basis.
Investing in fossil fuels is short-term thinking
Climate change and climate policy have always been and continue to be a major theme in our work, primarily because we focus mainly on the poorest and most vulnerable groups in countries in the global South. They suffer most from the consequences of climate change, while they have contributed to it the least. It has been agreed worldwide that emissions of CO2 must be reduced radically to restrict global warming to 1.5 degrees. The main condition for achieving that is to prevent new emissions from greenhouse gasses by keeping fossil reserves ’under the ground’. To stay on track with the Paris Agreement, it is therefore very irresponsible to continue extracting and exploiting new oil and gas fields and building the required infrastructure, as Shell continues to do. And yet Shell persuades the governments of countries with fossil reserves to invest in this sector. As these investments cannot be recovered if we want to take climate goals seriously, investing in sustainable energy should get the highest priority.
Invest in renewable instead of fossil energy
In Mozambique and Tanzania, both extremely poor countries, Shell is involved in developing one of the largest gas fields in the world for the international market. The poorest groups are affected the most by these projects; their local environment is being destroyed and the land and water polluted, they are often forced to relocate and do not share in the gas profits with which Shell tempts their governments. By continuing to invest in the fossil sector rather than in sustainable energy, these countries risk becoming highly dependent on export to foreign countries and lagging behind in their own development.
In the 30 years during which, together with partner organisations around the whole world, we have fought for climate action, we have seen that nothing has changed in the daily practice of the fossil industry. Even worse, the sector has done everything possible to prevent positive changes. There are very few restrictions on the fossil fuel sector searching for new oil and gas fields and it can make use of a wide variety of financial and other government support without having to account for its role in global warming. In the meantime increasingly large groups of people are suffering the consequences of rising global temperatures so much that they can hardly lead their lives. In our opinion, therefore, taking legal action is necessary to compel companies such as Shell to take real action and we are pleased to be co-plaintiff in this case.
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Despite the existence of many hydropower dams, foreign investments and large government spending on energy, and new plans for hydropower, oil and gas projects, the vast majority of rural Uganda still remains without electricity. Together with our local partners we are striving towards a sustainable energy strategy for Uganda that starts from the needs and wishes of local communities.
In 2011 one of the world’s largest gas reserves was found in the coastal province of Cabo Delgado, in the north of Mozambique. A total of 35 billion dollars has been invested to extract the gas. Dozens of multinationals and financiers are involved in these rapid developments. It is very difficult for the people living in Cabo Delgado to exert influence on the plans and activities, while they experience the negative consequences. With the arrival of these companies, they are losing their land.
Pension funds have a lot of influence because of their enormous assets. Both ENDS therefore wants pension funds such as the Dutch ABP to withdraw their investments from the fossil industry and to invest sustainably instead.
In 2015, the member states of the United Nations committed themselves to the ambitious Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Unlike their predecessors, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs recognise the importance of equality within and between countries, of decision-making processes in which all people are included and heard, and of legal systems that are independent and accessible to all.
Almost two-thirds of the export credit insurances that Atradius DSB provided in the 2012-2018 period went to the fossil energy sector. That is contrary to the climate agreements that the Netherlands signed in Paris.
Press release / 3 November 2022
The Netherlands breaks major climate promise to end public financing for international fossil fuel projects
Today, a week before the international climate summit in Egypt, the Dutch Government has broken a major climate promise it made last year to end public financing for international fossil fuel projects. International and Dutch NGOs argue that the new policy published by the Dutch Government on restricting finance for fossil fuels has such significant loopholes, that it essentially means The Netherlands has reneged on its promise.
News / 24 October 2022
The decision of Minister for Climate and Energy Rob Jetten to withdraw from the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) is good news for the energy transition in the Netherlands and beyond. Governments of countries that are party to this treaty can therefore shape the transition to sustainable energy without having to fear claims by Dutch-based businesses.
Letter / 30 September 2022
Last year at COP26, the Netherlands, alongside 38 other governments and institutions, committed to the Glasgow Statement on International Public Support for the Clean Energy Transition. By signing this statement, the Netherlands has committed to ending new direct public support for the international unabated fossil fuel energy sector by the end of 2022- a commitment it has yet to deliver.
With this letter, 20 civil society organisations call on the Netherlands to announce its implementation policies for the Glasgow Statement ahead of the Export Finance for Future (E3F) Summit on the 3 November. The E3F Summit is a critical opportunity for the Netherlands to uphold the commitments made in Glasgow last year, alongside all other E3F members.
The recent E3F transparency report highlighted that Netherlands insured 6x more fossil fuel transactions than renewables from 2015-2020, with 3 billion EUR in fossil fuel transactions compared to only 0.5 billion EUR in renewables. This demonstrates that a fossil-fuel exclusion policy for Dutch export support is urgent, and essential, to align the Netherlands with its Glasgow commitment and the Paris Agreement.
Press release / 27 September 2022
Utrecht/Amsterdam, 27 September 2022 - On Wednesday 28 September, Dutch civil society organisations will organise a protest at the offices of oil giant TotalEnergies in The Hague, drawing attention to the problems surrounding the East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in Uganda. They are calling on investors to get out of TotalEnergies because of this project, which is causing human rights violations and serious environmental pollution. Two weeks ago the European Parliament passed a resolution against the human rights violations linked to EACOP.
Letter / 22 September 2022
A coalition of 13 Dutch organisations calls on investors like banks, pension funds and insurers to divest from TotalEnergies because of its EACOP project in Uganda and Tanzania. This new pipeline is causing human rights abuses, increased poverty, environmental pollution and climate change, and also TotalEnergies is using loopholes in the tax system to avoid taxes.
The letters has been send, among others, to the banks ABN AMRO, ING and Van Lanschot Kempen, pension funds ABP, BPL, PFZW, PMT and PNO media and the insurers Aegon, Allianz and Nationale Nederlanden. Together, the Dutch investors own shares and obligations worth more than 2.1 billion euros.
Publication / 29 August 2022
Event / 19 June 2022, 12:30
Still, more funds are spent on the fossil industry than on sustainable solutions. Banks, pension funds, insurers and governments keep investing in fossil infrastructure which endangers people and the environment. Therefore we call on financial institutions to stop funding the climate crisis.
Join our "Stop Fossil Finance" block at the next climate march!
Blog / 27 May 2022
and Abigail Kyomuhendo*
This week the annual shareholder meeting (AGM) of TotalEnergies took place. Whilst the shareholders celebrated their profits, Ugandan people were being evicted from their lands, thousands of kilometers away, for Total's East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP).
News / 19 May 2022
Both ENDS and 95 other organisations* today sent a letter to State Secretary for Finance Marnix van Rij and Minister for Foreign Trade and Development Cooperation Liesje Schreinemacher calling on them to implement the Glasgow Declaration in full. In this agreement, which the Netherlands and 33 other countries signed at the Glasgow climate conference, the signatory countries pledge to stop all public funding for fossil projects by the end of 2022.
Publication / 4 March 2022
News / 4 March 2022
Hundreds of organisations from dozens of countries have expressed solidarity with the Ukrainian people in a collective call on world governments to end fossil fuel production once and for all. The current crisis sees Putin weaponising oil and gas money to threaten livelihoods and fuel terror with escalating violence, underscoring the fossil fuel system's role in driving conflict.
Publication / 17 February 2022
News / 9 February 2022
TotalEnergies and the Chinese National Offshore Oil Cooperation (CNOOC) are currently developing an oil extraction and transportation project in Uganda: East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP). The project – the construction of a heated pipeline (EACOP) of no less than 1445 kilometers through Uganda and Tanzania to export crude oil, is increasingly causing human rights violations and environmental damage. This is a matter of great concern to civil society organisations in Uganda and beyond. This week, Both ENDS, together with partner organisations in Uganda, sent an urgent letter to twelve pension funds and asset managers with investments in TotalEnergies and CNOOC.
News / 21 December 2021
In Ghana, the effects of climate change are already tangible, just like in many countries around the world. How to ensure that these different experiences are heard and known by the Ghanaian government so that it will take actions that have a positive effect on people and their environment? And how to make local communities aware that they can hold the government accountable - and even have the responsibility to do so? During COP26 in Glasgow we spoke with Kenneth Nana Amoateng (47) and Richard Matey (30). Kenneth works at the AbibiNsroma Foundation, a local NGO, and took it as his mission to advocate for a healthy environment, climate change, and to give young people opportunities. Richard is part of that younger generation and works at the Alliance for Empowering Rural Communities in Ghana.
News / 22 November 2021
Export support – and especially that to fossil projects – has been in the spotlights quite often recently. This is a positive development, because the Netherlands alone provides fossil export support worth 1.5 billion euros per year. At the climate summit in Glasgow, the United Kingdom launched a statement promising to stop providing export support to fossil projects by the end of 2022. After having denied at first, the Netherlands decided to join the statement after all – which now has already been signed by nearly forty countries and financial institutions.