Bloomberg has the pre-fight preview of the battle at today’s Exxon shareholder meeting between the $1 trillion in investor capital led by the Sisters of St Dominic and an Exxon board that does not want to set goals for reduction greenhouse gases.
The investor group, including the nuns and CALPERS (California state employees’ retirement fund), want to have Exxon director Michael Boskin removed because he refused to meet with shareholders over climate change issues. The bigger issue of course is whether Exxon will match ConocoPhillips in agreeing to greenhouse gas reduction targets. Since Exxon made $4.5 million per hour last year, I wouldn’t bet on it.
It’s great that investors are making their case for Exxon to get in the alternative fuel business and to live by global targets for saving the climate. The question is whether ousting Boskin is the best statement. Why not stop Exxon from investing its profits back in its own stock and put those profits into developing alternative fuels? Or take that $1 trillion out of Exxon all together? If everyone who cared about climate change refused to put their money in Exxon it could make a difference. If today’s strategy fails the nuns as expected, it’s time for more than prayers. Let’s pull the investment capital out of Big Oil, that’s what’s keeping the petroleum economy thriving as much as motorists.