Climate Takes Center Stage at #ExxonKnew Stockholders Meeting
May 24, 2016
My video on the most underreported-but-about-to-explode stories of the millennium is above. Below, latest developments.
Exxon Mobil Corp (XOM.N) and Chevron Corp (CVX.N) will face their toughest-ever push by shareholders concerned about a warming world at annual meetings on Wednesday, as the Paris accord to tackle climate change ratchets up investor pressure on two of the world’s largest oil companies.
The tension is most acute at Exxon, which has denied accusations from environmentalists that it purposely misled the public about climate change risks. The New York attorney general is investigating Exxon and it has complained of being unfairly targeted by special interest groups.
The raft of proposals up for vote at the two companies more than doubled to 11 this year, the latest sign that environmental concerns once considered peripheral by many investors have become mainstream. Even the most traditional shareholder groups are now urging companies to detail how they will plan for the future after 195 governments agreed in December to limit the rise in global temperatures to 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) through combined national pledges to cut carbon emissions from fossil fuels.
For around a quarter of a century, a varied collection of climate activists and institutions concerned about rising temperatures have attempted to get Exxon Mobil to move forward on the issue of climate change.
This year, they believe the coalition attempting to force change on the issue, is the strongest ever assembled. Investors with at least $8tn under management have indicated they will support greater recognition of the climate change issue.
At the AGM here in Dallas, the company faces resolutions including one to appoint a board member who has a high degree of climate expertise.
One motion asks the company to support the goal of limiting warming to below 2 degrees in line with the Paris climate agreement. Another asks Exxon to disclose how resilient its investments would be if policy measures to restrict warming to 2 degrees were implemented.
This motion has a number of supporters including the Norwegian government’s pension fund, the world’s largest.
It’s being co-sponsored by the Church Commissioners, who manage the Church of England’s investment fund.
Their head of responsible investment says the board of Exxon Mobil should now recognise the new realities.
“It’s a moment where Exxon really has to recognise that the world is changing,” Edward Mason told BBC News.
“Climate change is real, the transition to a low carbon economy is real, and they need to get on board with this.”