Spain approved a Climate Law
On the 15th of May 2021, Spain’s Parliament approved a Climate Law that intends to set out climate targets and goals for the future of Spain. It establishes ambitious commitments like:
– The reduction of 23% of Spain’s emission, by 2030, compared with the levels of 1990;
– A goal to generate 74% of the country’s electricity with renewables by 2030;
– The end of fossil fuels’ production on Spain by the 31th of December 2042;
– A prohibition of the technique of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and also radioactive mining, such as uranium;
– A prohibition for new exploration and production of coal, gas and oil; and a prohibition to sell vehicles that use fossil fuel, by 2040.
U.S. District Court judged in favour of 7 ex-IPI workers
In the US, Chief Judge Ramona V. Manglona decided in favour of 7 Chinese construction workers from the casino-resort project of Imperial Pacific International (IPI), in Saipan, and awarded them $5.91 million over allegations of force labour and human trafficking by IPI’s former contractors and subcontractors.
The District Court of the Hague ruled Shell must cut its CO2 emissions
On the 26th of May 2021, the District Court of the Hague ordered Royal Dutch Shell (RDS) to reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% relative to 2019 levels, in its global operations (including customers and suppliers) by the end of 2030. The case had been filed in 2019 by the Friends of the Earth Netherlands (Milieudefensie), over 17,000 co-plaintiffs and six other NGOs. The Court considered that the CO2 emissions represent a threat to human rights, especially the right to life and the right to respect for family life. The court found that RDS, as the parent company which sets out the corporate policy for the Shell group, has a legal obligation which derives from an ‘unwritten standard of care’ under Dutch tort law to ‘contribute to the prevention of dangerous climate change through the corporate policy it determines for the Shell group’. The court made an explicit reference to soft law instruments that had been endorsed by RDS, such as the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises a ‘universally endorsed’ and ‘authoritative’ soft law instruments suitable as guidelines in the interpretation of the unwritten standard of care, regardless of whether or not RDS had committed to the UNGPs.