The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
SEC Forces Exxon to Bring Climate-Friendly Accounting to Shareholder Vote
In a key win, the Oakland-based non-profit advocacy group, As You Sow defeated ExxonMobil's attempt to suppress an innovative, first of its kind shareholder resolution. The resolution asks Exxon to report its energy resources in an energy-neutral metric—BTUs—in addition to the traditional "barrels of oil equivalent" standard. Establishing a climate-friendly measure of energy reserves is a key step in incentivizing management, and the market, to support the transition to a clean energy economy.
“We are pleased the SEC sided with shareholders concerned with climate risk," said Danielle Fugere, As You Sow's president and chief counsel. “Exxon must allow shareholders to vote on this first step on the path toward clean energy. Broad support will give management the latitude to develop a diverse and profitable low carbon business plan, while maintaining 100 percent BTU energy replacements."
In response to Exxon's SEC bid to stop the resolution from being voted on by shareholders, As You Sow successfully argued that, “... in a rapidly decarbonizing economy, fossil fuel companies must develop climate change-responsive business models" and one possible path is to transition into energy companies not dependent on carbon intense, climate damaging commodities.
Exxon currently accounts for its energy assets in “barrels of oil equivalent." As You Sow noted in its SEC reply that this accounting measure discourages a low carbon transition by linking the calculation of a company's assets, and therefore its value, to carbon based-metrics.
The resolution proposes reporting company energy resources neutrally, by category, so that all resources—including solar, wind, biofuels, geothermal and other renewables—will be accounted for as BTUs and valued. This metric decouples Exxon and its shareholders from oil's declining profitability, its escalating climate damage and Exxon's decreasing ability to economically replace its oil reserves.
Shareholders seek Exxon's leadership in beginning the inevitable transition to becoming a diversified energy company able to compete in a decarbonizing economy.
As You Sow is simultaneously filing a petition with the SEC to change its reporting requirements to an energy neutral metric, which will free the oil industry as a whole from oil-dependent financial valuation.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
Ethics investigations have been opened into the conduct of senior Trump appointees at the nation's top environmental agencies.
The two investigations focus on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator Andrew Wheeler and six high-ranking officials in the Department of Interior (DOI), The Hill reported Tuesday. Both of them involve the officials' former clients or employers.
"This is demonstrative of the failures at the very top of this administration to set an ethical tone," Campaign Legal Center Ethics Counsel Delaney Marsco told The Washington Post of the DOI investigation. "When people come to work for government, they're supposed to work on behalf of the public. It's a betrayal of the public trust when senior political appointees seem to give privileged access to their former employers or former clients."
By Dipika Kadaba
We've known for more than 50 years that smoking cigarettes comes with health hazards, but it turns out those discarded butts are harmful for the environment, too. Filtered cigarette butts, although small, contain dozens of chemicals, including arsenic and benzene. These toxins can leach into the ground or water, creating a potentially deadly situation for nearby birds, fish and other wildlife.
By Wenonah Hauter
Five years ago this week, an emergency manager appointed by then-Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder made the devastating decision to save money by switching Flint's water supply over from Detroit's water system to the Flint River. Seen as a temporary fix, the new water supply was not properly treated. High levels of lead leached from the old pipes, poisoning a generation of Flint's children, and bacteria responsible for an outbreak of Legionnaires' Disease killed more than a dozen residents.
Did you know that more than a third of food is wasted or thrown away every year? And that only 25 percent of it would be enough to feed the 795 million undernourished people in the world? That's why today is Stop Food Waste Day, a chance to reflect on what you can do to waste less of the food you buy.