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Exxon Board Rejects All Nine Climate Resolutions at Annual Meeting

Climate

At Exxon's annual general meeting Wednesday, the company's board of directors recommended rejection of all nine non-binding climate resolutions brought to the meeting by shareholders. The rejection of all climate resolutions reaffirms that financially prudent investors must cut ties from Exxon and divest from the rogue corporation.

The rejection of all climate resolutions reaffirms that financially prudent investors must cut ties from Exxon and divest from the rogue corporation. Photo credit: 350.org / Flickr

Recent groundbreaking investigations revealed that Exxon knew all that there was to know about climate change for at least half a century and chose to pour resources into sowing deep doubt and deception among the public instead of urging action. This latest refusal to act, even through non-binding resolutions, reaffirms that Exxon will never shift its business model to curb the most devastating impacts of climate change.

“The recommendation by Exxon's board to outright reject every single climate resolution from shareholders sends an incontestable signal to investors: it's due time to divest from Exxon's deception," May Boeve, executive director of 350.org, said. “Exxon knew everything there was to know about climate change decades ago and chose to sow doubt instead of warning the rest of us. Today's results reaffirm that Exxon will never turn from its deceptive and destructive ways."

Key resolutions were proposed by New York State's comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, CalPERS, the Church of England and more. Wednesday's results mimic the rejection of more than 60 proposed shareholder resolutions to address climate change over the past two decades. When the New York State's shareholder resolution was introduced after the Paris climate accord, Exxon attempted to prevent it from coming to a vote. However, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ruled that Exxon must allow the vote to move forward.

Just outside of the meeting, activists rallied to urge responsible investors to shift their investments away from this company whose executives actively buried the biggest crisis of our time and whose business model flagrantly violates our international climate commitment. During the Paris climate talks, 350.org announced that more than 500 institutions representing more than $3.4 trillion in managed assets have committed to some level of fossil fuel divestment.

The call to divest from Exxon has grown immensely since the news of their deception broke last fall. The Rockefeller Family Fund recently divested from Exxon, referring to the company's actions as "morally reprehensible." Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin and California Reps. Ted Lieu and Mark DeSaulnier, have also called for their respective state's pension funds to divest. Both states' pension funds pushed for the passage of their climate resolution at today's meeting and the rejection will only increase pressure for full divestment.

Just last week, 13 members of the House Committee on "Science, Space, and Technology" sent letters to 17 state Attorneys General and eight non-governmental organizations, including 350.org, requesting communication records between the offices.

“Exxon and its allies in Congress are doing everything in their power to try to distract us from the fight for climate justice. The recommended rejection of shareholder's climate resolutions today proved that the company's executives are set on prioritizing profit and greed over our climate and communities," Boeve said. “We won't be distracted and we're not backing down—we're going to keep working to spread the word and keep pushing for divestment from the likes of Exxon."

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A volcano erupts on New Zealand's Whakaari/White Island on Dec. 9, 2019. Michael Schade / Twitter

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"Based on the information we have, we do not believe there are any survivors on the island," the police said in their official statement. "Police is working urgently to confirm the exact number of those who have died, further to the five confirmed deceased already."

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At the time of the eruption on Monday, about 50 passengers from the Ovation of Seas were on the island, including more than 30 who were part of a Royal Caribbean cruise trip, according to CNN. Twenty-three people, including the five dead, were evacuated from the island.

The eruption occurred at 2:11 pm local time on Monday, as footage from a crater camera owned and operated by GeoNet, New Zealand's geological hazards agency, shows. The camera also shows dozens of people walking near the rim as white smoke billows just before the eruption, according to Reuters.

Police were unable to reach the island because searing white ash posed imminent danger to rescue workers, said John Tims, New Zealand's deputy police commissioner, as he stood next to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in a press conference, as The New York Times reported. Tims said rescue workers would assess the safety of approaching the island on Tuesday morning. "We know the urgency to go back to the island," he told reporters.

"The physical environment is unsafe for us to return to the island," Tims added, as CNN reported. "It's important that we consider the health and safety of rescuers, so we're taking advice from experts going forward."

Authorities have had no communication with anyone on the island. They are frantically working to identify how many people remain and who they are, according to CNN.

Geologists said the eruption is not unexpected and some questioned why the island is open to tourism.

"The volcano has been restless for a few weeks, resulting in the raising of the alert level, so that this eruption is not really a surprise," said Bill McGuire, emeritus professor of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, as The Guardian reported.

"White Island has been a disaster waiting to happen for many years," said Raymond Cas, emeritus professor at Monash University's school of earth, atmosphere and environment, as The Guardian reported. "Having visited it twice, I have always felt that it was too dangerous to allow the daily tour groups that visit the uninhabited island volcano by boat and helicopter."

The prime minister arrived Monday night in Whakatane, the town closest to the eruption, where day boats visiting the island are docked. Whakatane has a large Maori population.

Ardern met with local council leaders on Monday. She is scheduled to meet with search and rescue teams and will speak to the media at 7 a.m. local time (1 p.m. EST), after drones survey the island, as CNN reported.