ASSESSMENTS

Big Oil Gets a Wake-Up Call on Climate Change

MIN READJun 1, 2021 | 20:45 GMT

Environmental activists covered in black paint take part in a demonstration at a Shell gas station in The Hague, Netherlands, on May 18, 2021.

Climate activists take part in a demonstration at a Shell gas station in The Hague, Netherlands, on May 18, 2021. 

(BART MAAT/ANP/AFP via Getty Images)

Legal and investor pressure on Western oil companies will force them to take more concrete and proactive steps to cut emissions, even if it reduces business profitability in the short term. This trend will solidify the transition to renewable energy, boosting investments in carbon-neutral technologies while accelerating the creation of financial tools to help companies offset emissions. On May 26, the three largest Western oil and gas companies all lost legal cases or shareholder votes that will force them to take a more aggressive approach to cutting emissions. A lower Dutch court ruled that Shell was partially responsible for climate change and ordered the Shell group, along with its suppliers and customers, to reduce carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels through the corporate policy of the group. The ruling is only legally enforceable in the Netherlands and Shell plans to appeal it, but it could be used as...

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