Last Wednesday was called “a bad day for big oil.” On that same day, ExxonMobil and Chevron shareholders told them to step up their game on controlling climate change, and a Dutch court told Shell the same.
Most dramatically, at ExxonMobil’s annual meeting, shareholders elected two new independent members to its board of directors. This victory came despite strong opposition by Exxon managers who attempted to call and persuade shareholders to change their cast votes and, in a desperate move, called a recess.
Speaking of the ExxonMobil vote, Environmental Defense Fund president Fred Krupp said the move “sends an unmistakable signal that climate action is a financial imperative, and leading investors know it and are demanding change. This is a watershed moment for the oil and gas industry. It’s no longer tenable for companies like ExxonMobil to defy calls to align their businesses with decarbonizing the economy.”
At the Chevron meeting, stockholders passed a directive for the company to set emissions reduction goals that include usage of its own products by its customers — over the resistance of company management. Shareholders’ strong fight reflects a growing public call for fossil fuel polluters and other major multinational companies to take more aggressive action in implementing decarbonization goals.
Finally, in a case brought by climate activist groups, a Dutch court ordered Shell to cut its carbon emissions 45% from 2019 levels by 2030. The company indicated it would appeal.
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