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Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

Shell said Wednesday it would accelerate its clean energy and climate efforts following a major Dutch court ruling last month that ordered faster greenhouse gas emissions cuts.

Why it matters: CEO Ben van Beurden's announcement signals how the landmark court ruling could tangibly affect one of the world's most powerful oil giants, even though Shell plans to appeal the decision.

What they're saying: His post this morning criticizes the ruling but adds that Shell feels "a determination to rise to the challenge."

  • "[W]e will seek ways to reduce emissions even further in a way that remains purposeful and profitable," he said while touting and defending the company's existing climate strategy and targets.
  • "[T]his ruling does not mean a change, but rather an acceleration of our strategy," van Beurden said.

Catch up fast: In late May, the Dutch district court in The Hague ordered Shell to cut its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 relative to 2019 levels, which is considerably more aggressive than Shell's current plans.

The big picture: The court ruling was a major win for environmentalists, who are using a mix of legal efforts, investor activism and public pressure to push Big Oil on climate.

  • However, some analysts warn that absent more aggressive global efforts to curb demand and speed clean energy deployment, the campaigns against Big Oil will just shift production toward state-owned producers in OPEC producers and elsewhere.
  • Van Beurden's post argues that "Shell is being singled out by a ruling that I believe does not help reduce global CO2 emissions."
  • He also notes that if Shell hypothetically quit selling gasoline and diesel today, it would cut Shell's emissions but "demand for fuel would not change."

Go deeper: Big Oil's climate earthquake

Go deeper

UN climate summit warning signs are adding up

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

There are growing signs that make-or-break climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, this fall won’t produce tangible plans for emissions cuts that keep the Paris agreement’s targets viable.

Why it matters: The climate summit is billed by world and environmental leaders as the last, best hope for securing the global commitments needed to get countries on track to avoiding potentially catastrophic levels of climate change during the next several decades.

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Sep 16, 2021 - Energy & Environment

First look: Greens seek K Street wedge on climate

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Environmentalists are pressing big companies with lofty climate goals to split with their lobbying associations over sweeping Democratic legislation that includes major new clean energy spending and tax incentives.

Driving the news: A suite of climate groups just released an open letter to two dozen companies — including Apple, Walmart, Coca-Cola and Amazon — in the Business Roundtable, which has voiced several concerns about Democrats' wider spending and tax package.

DOJ seeks emergency order to temporarily block Texas abortion law

Pro-Abortion rights protesters march outside the Texas State Capitol on Sept. 1 in Austin, Texas. Photo: Sergio Flores For The Washington Post via Getty Images

The Department of Justice submitted an emergency motion late Tuesday seeking a temporary restraining order or preliminary injunction on Texas' ban on abortions after six weeks.

Why it matters: The action marks an escalation by the Biden administration in its challenge on the constitutionality of the GOP-led state's restrictive new law, after the DOJ filed a lawsuit last week following the U.S. Supreme Court's decision, in a 5-4 vote, to allow the ban to remain in place.