WASHINGTON (May 31, 2017)—A majority of ExxonMobil shareholders voted in favor of a proposal calling for the oil company to disclose how global efforts to achieve the Paris Agreement’s goal of keeping climate change to 2 degrees centigrade will affect its bottom line. Against management’s recommendations and aggressive lobbying, shareholders approved the resolution by an unprecedented 62.3 percent, the highest vote for any climate-related measure at the world’s largest publicly traded oil company. Last year, a similar proposal at ExxonMobil received 38 percent support. Similar resolutions have gained momentum at other utility and fossil fuel company shareholder meetings this spring, including one held by Occidental Petroleum, where a majority also voted in favor.
ExxonMobil faces increasing public, political and legal pressure over its climate policies. State attorneys general in New York and Massachusetts are investigating whether the company misled the public and investors about the dangers of its products as well as the impact government climate and energy policies may have on its financial outlook.
Statement by Kathy Mulvey, UCS climate accountability campaign manager
“Five years ago, climate wasn’t on investors’ radar screens. Now, disclosure of climate-related financial risks is a mainstream expectation, and fossil fuel companies are on the defensive. Today’s vote is a testament to the tireless work by shareholder advocates, scientists and community leaders to shift the public conversation on climate change and assert ‘yes, climate change is happening; yes, it’s getting worse; and yes, companies will be left behind if they don’t pull their heads out of the sand.’
“Still, it’s going to take public pressure to hold these companies accountable. ExxonMobil talks the talk about the Paris Agreement and carbon pricing, but the company is still lobbying for policies that would lead to a 3 to 4 degree Celsius warming scenario. On top of that, the company gave nearly $2 million in 2015 to more than a dozen think tanks, advocacy groups and other industry-affiliated associations that dispute climate science, disparage renewable energy, and block climate policy action, bringing the total the company has spent over the last two decades on climate disinformation to $33 million.”