Shareholders force Exxon to be more forthcoming on global-warming disclosure

Exxon Mobil shareholders won a major victory over the oil giant in their bid to get the $340 billion company ramp up global-warming disclosure. Over 60 per cent of the shareholders had backed a move up from under 40 per cent in a similar attempt last year. Exxon had already embraced the debate more than most, but shareholders wanted the company to be more forthcoming. According to commentators, the move had set the stage for more industry players to follow or risk investor ire.

Exxon's chief executive, Darren Woods, who assumed charge at the beginning of the year, wrote in his first blog post about the importance of managing the risks of climate change. Woods had talked on several occasions about how Exxon did business in an environment in which, under the 2015 Paris accord, nearly 200 countries, including China and India, had agreed to reduce their carbon emissions.

At the company's annual meeting in Dallas on Wednesday, Woods reiterated Exxon's commitment to adhere to the guidelines of the agreement even if President Trump decided to withdraw the US from the deal. According to commentators, Exxon's energy outlook remained fairly rosy, showing rising oil demand through 2040. According to Woods, oil and gas development still needed $11 trillion of investment even under the constraints of the Paris agreement.

Meanwhile, Exxon investors are expected to seek a meeting with oil company officials this summer to thrash out elements of a climate-impact analysis following a shareholder vote that called for studies of technology and climate-related risks to its business.

"I anticipate we'll be having a meeting this summer," said Tracey Rembert, assistant director of Catholic Responsible Investing, Reuters reported.