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Oil Giants Face Pressure to Act on Climate Change

FILE - The logo for ExxonMobil appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Oct. 8, 2019.
FILE - The logo for ExxonMobil appears above a trading post on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange, Oct. 8, 2019.

Some of the world’s biggest oil companies are under pressure to take more action to address climate change.

ExxonMobil shareholders Wednesday elected at least two members proposed by hedge fund Engine No. 1 to serve on the company’s 12-member board of directors.

The fund said in a statement earlier this week that the board needed “directors with experience in successful and profitable energy industry transformations who can help turn aspirations of addressing the risks of climate change into a long-term business plan, not talking points.”

ExxonMobil shareholders also voted in favor of a proposal requiring the company to report on its climate change lobbying activities.

"We've heard from shareholders about their desire to catalyze further progress at ExxonMobil and we are well prepared to deliver," chief executive Darren Woods said Wednesday.

Also Wednesday, Chevron shareholders approved a proposal to cut Scope 3 emissions, which are those generated by the use of a company’s products.

The proposal did not set specific targets for how much to cut emissions or any deadline.

Wednesday also brought a ruling from a Dutch court ordering Royal Dutch Shell to cut its carbon emissions by a net 45% by 2030 compared to 2019 levels.

Seven environmental groups filed the lawsuit against Royal Dutch Shell arguing the company was in breach of its obligation to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.

In her decision, Hague District Court Judge Larissa Alwin ruled that since Royal Dutch Shell currently has a plan to reduce emissions and was still developing it, it is not currently in breach of its obligation, as the groups argued.

But the judge said a violation of that obligation is imminent, as the company’s policy “is not concrete, has many caveats and is based on monitoring social developments rather than the company’s own responsibility for achieving a carbon dioxide reduction.”

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