Exxon Mobil to clash with climate activists, investors at annual gathering

Exxon Mobil Corp. signage is displayed on a monitor on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) in New York, U.S., on Friday, June 3, 2016. U.S. stocks fell with the dollar, while Treasuries and gold rallied after American employers added the fewest jobs in almost six years in May, bolstering the case for the Federal Reserve to leave interests rates lower for longer. Photographer: Michael Nagle/Bloomberg

DALLAS – Exxon Mobil will clash with activist investors again on Wednesday at its annual meeting in downtown Dallas, where shareholders will weigh nine proposals related to the company’s impact on climate change, methane emissions, compensation for women and lobbying.

For the second year, investors have asked Exxon to publish an assessment of how global climate change policies — including the Paris climate agreement that aims to limit rising temperatures — will affect the value of its oil and gas reserve over the next quarter century. Investors said the report should analyze scenarios in which energy demand falls because of carbon restrictions.

That shareholder proposal, which Exxon opposes, last year garnered the most votes of any climate-related shareholder proposal, at 38 percent. Exxon argued it already takes climate-related financial risks into account in its annual energy outlook, which projects energy demand will rise 25 percent by 2040.

Even if global climate policies limit rising temperatures, “trillions of dollars of oil and gas investment is required” to supply the world’s energy needs over the next few decades, Exxon CEO Darren Woods said the company’s meeting at the Morton H. Meyerson Symphony Center in Dallas on Wednesday.

Exxon believes oil companies will have to invest more than $11 trillion by 2040 to meet growing global energy demand and replace production that declines naturally over time.

It was the first gathering led by Woods after ex-chief Rex Tillerson stepped down to serve as U.S. Secretary of State this year.

In regulatory filings, the Irving-based oil company said it agrees with the “underlying objective” of many of the proposals but “we just have a different view on the best means to achieve it.”

“We think the goal should be to reduce emissions at the lowest cost to society,” Woods said during the meeting. He argued technological advances will help lower emissions. The advent of shale gas, he said, has reduced U.S. emissions as power plants switched from coal to natural gas in recent years.

 

 

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