American Electric Power Energy and Climate Public Policy 2014
|Company||American Electric Power Co., Inc.|
|Filer||Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations|
|Subject(s)||Climate Change; Energy Efficiency (buildings); Public Policy|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Review public policy advocacy on energy policy and climate change position|
|Status||Withdrawn; Ongoing dialogue|
Whereas: The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading scientific authority on climate change, in their 2013 report confirm warming of the climate is unequivocal and human influence is the dominant cause. Recent extreme weather events have caused significant loss of life and billions of dollars of damage. Many investors are deeply concerned about existing and future effects of climate change on society and business.
The IPCC estimates that a 50% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions globally is needed by 2050 (from 1990 levels) to stabilize global temperatures, entailing a U.S. target reduction of 80%.
Urgent action is needed to achieve the required emissions reduction. We believe the U.S. Congress, Administration as well as States and cities, must enact and enforce strong legislation and regulations to mitigate and adapt to climate change, reduce our use of fossil fuels and move us to a renewable energy future.
Accordingly, we believe companies in the energy sector should review and update their public policy positions related to climate change.
The public perception is that business often opposes laws and regulations addressing climate change or renewable energy. For example, in 2009, when Congress debated comprehensive climate change legislation, oil and gas companies and electric utilities spent more than $300 million on lobbying (Opensecrets.org).
Consequently, company political spending and lobbying on energy policy, including through third parties, are increasingly scrutinized. For example, investors question company public policy advocacy through the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which often obstructs progress on climate-related legislation.
Investors have asked hundreds of companies to disclose their political spending and lobbying policies, and over 125 S&P 500 companies now make such disclosures.
Over 500 forward-looking businesses such as General Motors, Microsoft, Nike and Unilever, signed the Climate Declaration that supports the need for legislation and states, “Tackling Climate Change is one of America’s greatest economic opportunities of the 21st Century.“
Resolved: Shareholders request that independent Board members commission a comprehensive review of American Electric Power Company’s positions, oversight and processes related to public policy advocacy on energy policy and climate change. This would include an analysis of political spending and lobbying activities, including indirect support through trade associations, think tanks and other nonprofit organizations. Shareholders also request the company to prepare (at reasonable cost and omitting confidential information) and make available by September, 2014 a report describing the completed review.
We recommend that this review include:
- •Whether our current company positions on climate legislation and regulation are consistent with the reductions deemed necessary by the IPCC;
- •Board oversight of our company’s public policy advocacy on climate;
- •Direct and indirect expenditures (including dues and special payments) supporting or opposing candidates, or for issue ads designed to influence elections, ballot initiatives or legislation related to climate change;
- •Engagements with climate scientists and other stakeholders involved in climate policy discussions;
- •Proposed actions to be taken as a result of the review.