• Wall St v Exxon

    From MrPostingRobot@kymhorsell.com@21:1/5 to All on Thu Jun 3 05:15:17 2021
    XPost: alt.global-warming

    *Wall Street's `monumental' skirmish with Exxon
    Robinson Meyer, The Atlantic via Carbon Brief

    The coverage of Shell's defeat in court last week and the placement of
    two activist investors on Exxon's board of directors continues, with journalists reflecting on what the 2 events mean for the fossil fuel
    industry. Robinson Meyer writes for the Atlantic about how, despite
    controlling just 0.02% of Exxon, activist hedge fund Engine No. 1
    succeeded in placing 2 investors on the oil company's board of
    directors. He notes that to achieve this they won the support of large state-pension funds "that try to act in the best interest of the
    entire market" and newer financial firms, such as State Street and
    BlackRock. "Working together, these funds brought Exxon to heel,"
    Meyer concludes: "Last week, Exxon's shareholders - that is, the
    owners of capital - acted to rein in Exxon's managers and
    insiders. Capital has apparently been recruited into the fight against
    climate change; Wall Street is, la Mothra versus Godzilla, battling
    Big Oil. If that's surprising, it shows how tangled the politics of decarbonisation has become".

    A piece by columnist Thomas Friedman in the New York Times also
    considers events at Exxon, writing that the "petroleum age will end
    because we invent superior technology that coexists harmoniously with
    nature", while leaving plenty of oil still in the ground. "Alas,
    though, not every oil company got the memo," he writes. In light of
    the shareholder revolt during what Friedman describes as "one of the
    most consequential weeks in the history of the oil and gas industry
    and shareholder capitalism", he notes that Engine No. 1 "are out to
    strengthen Exxon, not destroy it. They view it as one of the world's
    greatest collections of scientific and engineering talent." He says
    that while the activists appreciate Exxon's plans for a carbon-capture facility, they also think it needs to invest in a more diversified
    energy sources "while it still has an income stream from oil and
    gas". By contrast, Wall Street Journal editorial board member and
    climate sceptic Holman W Jenkins, Jr describes what happened at Exxon
    as a "pseudo-event" that has been overhyped as a climate
    victory. Jenkins argues that asking oil companies to "voluntarily
    refrain from producing a legal product for which there is huge and
    inelastic demand" is "absurd", as is proposing Exxon switch to wind
    and solar, "in which it has no expertise or advantage".

    In the Conversation, Prof Arthur Petersen, a professor of science,
    technology and public policy at University College London, writes that
    the order by Dutch judges that Shell must implement stringent carbon
    dioxide emissions cuts within the next few years "could have far
    reaching consequences". He continues: "The question arises as to
    whether any company anywhere in the world can be ordered by Dutch
    judges to reduce their emissions". Petersen notes that "legally there
    is nothing fundamentally new happening here" and adds that "more of
    these cases may follow, in the Netherlands and elsewhere, and the
    strength of the legal logic will definitely put additional pressures
    on politicians and businesses to organise for a more rapid low-carbon transition". In the Guardian, Tessa Khan, an international human
    rights lawyer working on climate change litigation, writes that
    Shell's loss is a "turning point in the fight against big oil". "The
    door to real corporate accountability for the climate crisis is
    finally wide open," she writes.


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