Exxon’s shareholders approved by a 62% favorable vote a proposal calling on the oil and gas giant to assess and disclose how it is preparing its business for the transition to a low-carbon future. The May 31 action, taken over the objection of the company’s management, was termed by the Wall Street Journal a “major rebuke” and “a powerful symbol that big investors see climate change as a major risk that warrants greater transparency from oil and gas companies.” Other petroleum companies that have approved similar resolutions are BP, ConocoPhillips and Royal Dutch Shell.
The resolution states that:
. . . beginning in 2018, ExxonMobil publish an annual assessment of the long-term portfolio impacts of technological advances and global climate change policies, at reasonable cost and omitting proprietary information. The assessment can be incorporated into existing reporting and should analyze the impacts on ExxonMobil’s oil and gas reserves and resources under a scenario in which reduction in demand results from carbon restrictions and related rules or commitments adopted by governments consistent with the globally agreed upon 2-degree target. This reporting should assess the resilience of the company’s full portfolio of reserves and resources through 2040 and beyond, and address the financial risks associated with such a scenario.
The Exxon shareholders vote comes – ironically – on the day before President Trump’s announcement to withdraw the United States from and explore re-negotiating the Paris climate agreement (see news links below, under Big Picture).