ExxonMobil’s Pledge to Disclose Climate Risks Significant, But Short on Details
Statement by Kathy Mulvey, Union of Concerned Scientists.
WASHINGTON - ExxonMobil’s announcement that its board will provide shareholders details on climate change risks and impacts to its business is significant, the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) says, but it was woefully short on details. The company’s filing to U.S. securities regulators came three days before the deadline for shareholders to submit resolutions for the company’s 2018 annual meeting next spring. Earlier this year, investors owning 62 percent of ExxonMobil’s shares voted to instruct the company to produce an annual report on the risks of climate change and government policies to reduce carbon emissions.
“ExxonMobil’s filing shows that the company can’t stem the tide of investor demand for disclosures of companies’ plans to meet 2 degrees Celsius scenarios—but the devil is in the details.
“The company has taken some steps in the right direction by urging President Trump to keep the United States in the Paris climate agreement, appointing a climate scientist to its board, committing to reduce methane emissions, and publicly pressuring the American Legislative Exchange Council to refrain from drafting a sample resolution against the Environmental Protection Agency’s endangerment finding.
“That said, the company is nowhere close to retooling its business model to meet the Paris accord’s goals it purportedly supports. ExxonMobil is still investing aggressively in developing future reserves under the assumption that economies worldwide will continue to rely heavily on fossil fuels. Likewise, the company is still a prominent member of trade associations and industry groups that spend millions of dollars to spread climate disinformation and oppose sensible policies to reduce heat-trapping emissions
“Here are just a few climate-related challenges that the company has yet to address: Climate-induced flooding at its refineries, lawsuits by municipalities seeking to recover costs of adapting to climate-related sea level rise, the fact that its oil and gas reserves may never be recoverable, and ongoing investigations by state attorneys general who charge the company deceived its investors about the reality and seriousness of climate change.”
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The Union of Concerned Scientists is the leading science-based nonprofit working for a healthy environment and a safer world. UCS combines independent scientific research and citizen action to develop innovative, practical solutions and to secure responsible changes in government policy, corporate practices, and consumer choices.