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ExxonMobil Shareholders To Raise Heat On Global Warming

The disgruntled investors said they will also be supporting shareholder resolutions urging ExxonMobil to set specific targets for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and to boost its spending on renewable energy technologies.
by Staff Writers
Washington (AFP) May 23, 2007
A group of ExxonMobil shareholders, including large public US pension funds, said Wednesday they planned to raise the heat on oil giant ExxonMobil over its climate change policies. The investors, who include the California State Teachers Retirement System (CalSTRS) and the New York City Employees Retirement System among others, said they would seek to reform ExxonMobil's position on global warming at the annual shareholder meeting on May 30.

"ExxonMobil's go-slow approach on renewables, its resistance to a strong national climate policy and its campaign to muddy the waters on climate science is troubling to investors," said California state controller and CalSTRS board member John Chiang.

The investors told reporters on a conference call that they plan to seek the removal of Michael Boskin, the head of ExxonMobil's Public Issues Committee, from the board of directors of the world's largest oil company.

The activist investors said Boskin -- who is backed by the board for re-election -- was being targeted because he has the power to change ExxonMobil's stance on climate change.

Gantt Walton, an ExxonMobil spokesman, said the company disagreed with the investors' criticism and said ExxonMobil was moving to improve its energy efficiency while also seeking to cut its greenhouse gas emissions.

"The company has made significant actions on reducing greenhouse gas emissions," Walton said, citing a multibillion dollar project to end gas flaring at its Nigerian operations by 2008 among other measures.

The disgruntled investors said they will also be supporting shareholder resolutions urging ExxonMobil to set specific targets for reducing its greenhouse gas emissions and to boost its spending on renewable energy technologies.

Most scientists say greenhouse gases are responsible for climate change.

The shareholders said Boskin, who is also an economics professor at Stanford University, had refused to meet with them on five occasions to discuss ExxonMobil's approach to climate change.

"By refusing to meet with shareholders, the firm and Boskin have disregarded their environmental responsibility and their financial obligation to shareholders," said California state treasurer Bill Lockyer.

Walton said that senior ExxonMobil executives had met with at least one of the concerned investors last year and that Boskin had sent detailed written responses to the group.

The investors' conference call coincided with the release Wednesday of ExxonMobil's 2006 Corporate Citizenship Report which touted its efforts to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The report said ExxonMobil had cut its carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions by about eight million metric tonnes last year and said the company was making continued investments in "energy-efficient" equipment.

The investors, who also include the Illinois State Board of Investment and the Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, North Carolina and Vermont state treasurers, said they will withold their support for Boskin's reappointment to the board at the shareholder meeting in Dallas, Texas, next week.

Karina Litvack, a director of governance and sustainable investment at British-based F and C Asset Management Plc. which owns about 2.6 million ExxonMobil shares, said F and C is also supporting the initiatives.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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US Carbon-Dioxide Emissions Fell 1.3 Percent In 2006
Washington (AFP) May 23, 2007
US carbon-dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels fell by 1.3 percent in 2006, the federal government said Wednesday, citing weather conditions and higher energy prices as factors. US emissions from the burning of oil, natural gas and coal typically increase by one percent a year, according to the average determined by the Energy Information Administration (EIA) for the period of 1990-2006. The decline last year was the sharpest since 1990.

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