Exxon Energy and Climate Public Policy 2014
|Company||Exxon Mobil Corporation|
|Filer||Province of St. Joseph, Capuchin Order|
|Sector||Oil and Gas|
|Subject(s)||Climate Change; Public Policy|
|Resolved Clause Summary||Review public policy advocacy on energy policy and climate change position|
WHEREAS: In its 2013 Report, The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the world’s leading scientific authority on climate change, confirmed that global warming is unequivocal and that human influence is its dominant cause. The IPCC estimates 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%.
Such reduction demands the combined efforts of government action, energy company ingenuity for alternative sources, and citizen involvement. Notwithstanding this, ExxonMobil is involved in media efforts to influence public opinion to maintain a “business as usual” approach to maintain continued dependency on fossil fuel burning.
Besides lobbying toward this end, ExxonMobil has made huge expenditures in the media to ensure the continued use of fossil fuels. Thus, during the 2012 elections, The Wall Street Journal reported ExxonMobil was part of an industry effort “to persuade a majority of Americans to support expanded oil drilling, hydraulic fracturing and pipeline construction including the Keystone XL Pipeline” (October 26, 2012). Before that (September 14, 2012), The New York Times stated: “with nearly two months before Election Day on Nov. 6, estimated spending on television ads promoting coal and more oil and gas drilling or criticizing clean energy has exceeded $153 million” in 2012. It revealed: “The American Petroleum Institute, backed by the nation’s largest oil and gas companies,” was the top energy spender.
At last year’s annual meeting, Chairman Rex Tillerson was asked to elaborate on XOM’s financing of such efforts. Noting the “ongoing campaign of daily ads on major networks” shown during primetime television, a shareholder said “they promote full speed ahead for continued fossil fuel production and use” while “only giving lip service to alternative energy sources.” She asked specifically “how much ExxonMobil is giving annually to the API and, in particular, for this campaign which seems. . .inconsistent with the company’s messaging.” Admitting the company is “advocating” for continued “petroleum resources,” Mr. Tillerson noted that monies given groups like the API “is not publically available.”
RESOLVED: Shareholders request that independent Board members oversee a comprehensive review of ExxonMobil’s positions, oversight and processes geared to influence public policy advocacy on energy policy and climate change, including an analysis of its political spending, lobbying activities, and 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.
ExxonMobil’s own projections of energy demand make it clear that the problems associated with climate change will only exacerbate in the future. We believe that the Company’s direct and indirect lobbying and media campaigns open it to consequent risks if it can be shown that, instead of working to mitigate such risks, ExxonMobil actually was a key contributor to lobbying and media campaigns to ensure the continued and expanded use of energy sources contributing to our planetary problems.