In what is described as the first case of its kind, an environmental law firm in Great Britain, ClientEarth, is preparing legal action against the directors of Shell for failing to adequately prepare for transition to a low-carbon economy.
Shell claims in response it is delivering on its strategy, and energy supply challenges can't be solved by litigation.
Energy companies are facing challenges as countries seek to cut use of fossil fuels. If this claim is allowed to proceed, expect other companies to be sued for not doing enough to reduce global warming.
Since this suit is being filed under British law, it would not be a precedent for American companies. While small and medium sized businesses do not have Shell's exposure, we could see claims filed against companies of all sizes for contributing to, or failing to address, climate change.