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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

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Jun 8, 2021 - Energy & Environment

The huge gap between today's policies and Paris goals

Data: Resources for the Future report; Chart: Sara Wise/Axios

The think tank Resources for the Future on Tuesday released its latest report comparing various projections and scenarios around emissions, energy demand and more.

The big picture: The energy analyst hive mind is pretty united around the conclusion that nations' current and planned climate policies won't come close to meeting the goals of the Paris climate deal.

NZ report recommends drastic methane emissions cuts to meet climate goals

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern during a May news conference in Queenstown, New Zealand. Photo: Joe Allison/Getty Images

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said in a speech Wednesday that the climate crisis was a matter of "life or death," as a blueprint for meeting her government's ambitious green targets was unveiled.

Driving the news: The Climate Commission, an independent body advising the government, outlines in its report what the country needs to do to meet its target for 2050 of producing zero carbon emissions — including reducing biogenic methane emissions by 24% to 47%, with no new household gas connections by 2025.

1 hour ago - Health

Novavax says COVID-19 vaccine was 90% effective in Phase 3 trial

Photo: Pavlo Gonchar/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Novavax, a Maryland biotechnology company, announced Monday that its COVID-19 vaccine was 90.4% effective in its Phase 3 trial, including against coronavirus variants.

Why it matters: The study of 29,960 participants in the U.S. and Mexico found the shot was safe and highly effective, paving the way for the FDA to clear a 4th vaccine for emergency use by the end of the year.