Shell Directors Sued Due to Flawed Climate Strategy

Shell Directors Sued Due to Flawed Climate Strategy

With the repercussions of the 2015 Dieselgate scandal still hounding carmakers and drivers, authorities are constantly watching out for companies or brands that they can add to the lengthy list of diesel emissions violators. Just recently, oil giant Shell was thrust into the spotlight after an environmental law charity alleged that the company’s directors breached the Companies Act regarding the Paris Agreement for climate strategy. 

Shell’s climate transition strategy is described as flawed as it puts the company at risk. While the rest of the world transitions to clean energy, the oil giant still has fossil fuel projects. This not only puts Shell’s future in danger but it would be a waste of money for their investors as well. 

Despite enjoying significant profits (totalling billions), Shell is walking on a thin line because of the continuous increase of climate and emissions-related litigation cases throughout the world. This has resulted in several regulatory and legal issues, including an order from a Dutch court to reduce gas and oil emissions by at least 45% before or by the year 2030. There is also an allegation that Shell lied about its green energy investment. 

As such, even if the oil giant is collecting huge profits nowadays, it is bound to face risks in the near future, especially since a low-carbon economy is slowly becoming a reality. Shell’s directors have failed to follow the legally binding 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change. 

If the lawsuit is successful, Shell will have to come up with an energy transition strategy that is in line with the company’s commitments to the Companies Act. The company will also be expected to comply with emissions reductions as ordered by the Dutch court. 

A representative from Shell denied all allegations and insists that all the company’s directors carried out their legal responsibilities as expected. They also confidently said that their actions and decisions are for the good of the company.

Shell also stresses that they followed the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C temperature goal in putting together their net zero goal and their 2030 goal of halving emissions. They are confident that they have the strong support of their shareholders – at least 80% of the body were in favour of implementing the so-called flawed strategy. 

The ClientEarth lawsuit is the first of its kind worldwide filed against 11 corporate directors. The case was brought to an England high court.

Dangerous emissions

Shell is just one of the companies that add to the burden that air pollution has dumped on the world. Many others – individuals, businesses, organisations, and manufacturers, continue to take for granted the dangers of toxic air. One example is the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal that was mentioned earlier.

The Dieselgate scandal initially involved the Volkswagen Group and two of its diesel vehicles – VW and Audi. Diesel vehicles release dangerous emissions known as NOx or nitrogen oxide. In September 2015, the VW Group received a notice of violation from US authorities. The German carmaker allegedly installed illegal defeat devices in thousands of Audi and Volkswagen diesel vehicles sold to car owners in America. The devices were used to cheat emission tests so vehicles could easily pass regulatory tests.

Defeat devices are designed to detect when a vehicle is being tested and once this happens, they automatically lower emissions to levels within the World Health Organization or WHO’s legal limits. To regulators, the vehicle appears environmentally safe and ready for real-world use. 

When the vehicle is taken out and driven on real-world roads, however, it reverts to its default settings and starts emitting massive amounts of NOx. So it is a pollutant. Car owners who bought defeat device-equipped VW and Audi diesel vehicles were made to believe that the premium-priced cars were clean and safe for driving anywhere. Volkswagen lied to their customers.

Authorities ordered the carmaker to recall affected vehicles but the damage had already been done. Thousands of car owners drove their VWs and Audis on the UK and Europe’s roads and each time they did, they emitted high levels of toxic air. 

NOx emissions damage vegetation, affect a person’s mental health and cognitive abilities, and have serious health impacts. Exposure to NOx can lead to dementia, anxiety or depression (or both), asthma, and respiratory conditions. Serious impacts include cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and premature death.

Authorities stress that like Shell’s directors, VW and the other carmakers possibly guilty of using defeat devices (Mercedes-Benz, BMW, and Vauxhall, have all been accused by authorities of using defeat devices for example) should be held responsible for their alleged illegal actions. Affected carmakers are urged to file a diesel claim. If they win, they’ll receive compensation amounting to thousands (depending on the details of their case).

I bought a VW, am I eligible to file my diesel claim?

If you suspect that your VW is equipped with a defeat device, it is your legal right to file a diesel claim against your carmaker. However, since not all diesel vehicles are affected by the scandal, you should first verify if you are eligible to bring an emission claim to court. 
Visit to find out if you are eligible. Once you’ve all the information you need, you can start working on your claim with the help of emissions experts.