Clintel is changing the course of climate litigation
Clintel, a not-for-profit organization based in The Netherlands that promotes science-based climate policy consistent with the rule of law, is changing the course of climate litigation, which thus far has been dominated by the climate movement. Indeed, Clintel has applied for leave to intervene in a high profile Dutch court case between oil and gas company Shell and the environmental NGO Friends of the Earth (in The Netherlands called Milieudefensie).
Climate case of the century
This case is now pending on appeal before the Hague Court of Appeals. In first instance, the District Court found, based on evidence submitted by Friends of the Earth, that at or above an average temperature increase of 1.5 degrees Celsius “dangerous climate change” will occur. Shell, it ruled, must do its part to prevent such “dangerous climate change.” Clintel disputes the scientific and factual basis for this judgment.
Friends of the Earth (FoE) calls this case ‘the Climate Case of the Century’. Clintel agrees and is therefore intervening.
In The Netherlands, we have now had two prominent climate cases. In 2015 Dutch NGO Urgenda won its case against the Dutch state, demanding more ambitious reduction of greenhouse gases. Now FoE prevailed against a private company, Shell, in a climate case. Shell was ordered by the Hague District Court to adopt corporate policies to reduce the CO2 emissions from the group’s activities by net 45% by the end of 2030 compared to 2019. This reduction obligation applies to the Shell Group’s entire global energy portfolio. Shell must not only reduce its own emissions but also ensure that the emissions of its suppliers and customers (Scope 3 emissions) fall drastically.
Thus, many citizens and businesses around the world will be affected by the court judgment. Neither citizens nor businesses other than Shell, however, were represented before the court.
Sweetheart law suit
The verdict and court documents reveal that this is some sort of ‘sweetheart’ case in which the parties agreed on the facts. Shell could hardly defend itself against the alarmist statements put forward by FoE because the company had previously made similar statements. Moreover, nowadays, a large, publicly traded company cannot publicly deny the “climate crisis”. If a company were to do so, it would have the media, activists, and a large number of politicians all condemning it. No public company can afford such reputational damage. Climate activists exploit the inability of corporations to defend themselves.
Friends of the Earth in power
With the big win against Shell in its pocket FoE demanded ambitious ‘climate plans’ from 30 major Dutch companies, including food companies and even banks and insurance companies. These climate plans have been verified by the “NewClimate Institute,” a consultancy known for the “Climate Action Tracker” that has turned climate into a huge revenue model. The result was a red “climate crisis index” rating for the vast majority.
These companies face the same dilemma as Shell. If they fight back they will likely suffer reputational damage. Shell moved its headquarter from The Hague to London last year, and will receive huge subsidies for CCS-projects (Carbon Capture and Storage) and green hydrogen. Ultimately, the bill for all these ‘climate plans’ will have to be paid by citizens and Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs). Small companies are already suffering due to high energy prices, which are only partly related to the war in Ukraine and are structurally the result of environmental and climate policies.
The strategies and arguments developed in this court case are also deployed in other countries to get judges to impose climate policies in violation of the scientific ethos, citizen rights, the separation of powers and the rule of law.
Intervention by Clintel
Clintel, founded by the well-known Dutch climate journalist Marcel Crok and emeritus professor of geophysics Guus Berkhout, is saying “enough is enough.” In October Clintel sent a request to the Hague Court of Appeals to join the FoE v Shell case as an independent third party. Clintel’s aim is to make clear that the judge based its verdict on a distorted picture of climate science, the role of the IPCC and the state of the climate. It will also defend the rights and interests of citizens and democracy.
Not surprisingly, but disappointing nonetheless, both Shell and FoE oppose Clintel‘s proposed intervention. The court ordered a hearing on March 15th 2023 in which Clintel can plead its case.
The outcome of this case will be critical to the future of climate litigation around the world. Clintel must win this battle to restore balance and science-based policymaking. Clintel seeks your help and support.
Clintel launched a special website for this court case: climatecaseofthecentury.org.
Everyone in the world can (free of charge) join our case (as a citizen/lawyer or as a scientist) by filling in a form on the website. The more people participate, the better for making your voices heard. You can also help us by alerting other people that might want to join our case.
Clintel faces powerful and very well financed opponents. FoE receives millions of euros subsidies straight from the Dutch government! To achieve its objective and reverse the course of events, Clintel needs financial support for this big court case. All details about how you can contribute are available on climatecaseofthecentury.org.
Many thanks in advance for your help and support!
Guus Berkhout & Marcel Crok, founders of Clintel
For more information, please contact the general email address of Clintel, email@example.com. Clintel has also published the World Climate Declaration that has now been signed by 1500 scientists and experts around the World.