Jun 27, 2021
Today, we're talking about climate litigation against private companies and the implications for China. We have recently seen the burgeoning of climate-related law-suits, including earlier ones such as Kivalina v. ExxonMobil in 2009, and more recent cases in Norway against oil drilling in the Arctic, and the case of New York City v. Chevron. There’s also an on-going case against BP in the UK right now filed by ClientEarth UK.
In today's podcast, we’ll discuss the case in the Netherlands brought by Friends of the Earth against Royal Dutch Shell. On May 26, the court ordered Shell to reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2030 (with 2019 as a base level). The court stated that Shell’s climate policies were “not concrete and are full of conditions...that's not enough.” This is a second monumental verdict issued by the district court in the Hague, after the Urgenda Case, brought by the Urgenda Foundation and Dutch citizens against the government of the Netherlands, which was decided in 2018.
Today we have two guests from ClientEarth China to talk about this judgement and issues beyond: Dimitri de Boer and Boya Jiang.
Dimitri de Boer is the head of ClientEarth China, one of China’s most prominent environmental cooperation experts. Before joining ClientEarth, He previously led the EU – China Environmental Governance Programme from 2010 to 2015. Dimitri worked as senior adviser on environment and climate change for the United Nations Industrial Development Organization in China for 12 years. He also worked as a consultant for the World Bank, European Union, and the Chinese government. Dimitri volunteers as vice-chairman of the Board of China Carbon Forum, an independent platform which aims to foster trust and cooperation among China’s stakeholders for climate action.
Boya Jiang is the Nature and Climate Lawyer at ClientEarth, a charity focusing on advancing environmental governance and rule of law. Boya is a legal expert and she holds a Magis Juris degree in law from the University of Oxford. At present, Boya is focusing on how to promote the environmental rule of law to help resolve issues related to biodiversity and climate change.
For further reading:
Jason Bordoff, "Why Shaking Up Big Oil Could Be a Pyrrhic Victory," Foreign Policy, 3 June 2021, at https://foreignpolicy.com/2021/06/03/big-oil-shell-exxon-chevron-emissions-climate-change-production-supply-demand-cuts-risks/
Background from Reuters on the Shell case: https://www.reuters.com/business/sustainable-business/dutch-court-orders-shell-set-tougher-climate-targets-2021-05-26/
Background on how the Shell case relates to recent shareholder action at ExxonMobil and Chevron: https://www.nbcnews.com/business/energy/climate-activists-score-wins-against-exxon-shell-chevron-n1268705
Background on the Norwegian Arctic case: https://www.reuters.com/article/us-norway-oil-environment-idUSKBN1ZM1A6
IEA reports on the oil and gas industry and need for transition: https://www.iea.org/reports/the-oil-and-gas-industry-in-energy-transitions