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New York Leads Investors’ Demand for Resolution on Climate Risk

Minale Tattersfield/flickr
Minale Tattersfield/flickr

The State of New York is joining with four other Exxon shareholders in a filing that asks the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to compel the colossal fossil monolith to include a climate change resolution in its annual shareholder proxy.

The group, which includes the Church of England, collectively holds more than $1 billion in Exxon stock.

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“As investors, we need to know how Exxon Mobil’s bottom line will be impacted by the global effort to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and what the company plans to do about it,” said New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli, who oversees the state’s $178.3-billion pension fund.

“We believe our desire to see reporting on how Exxon Mobil’s business would fare were warming to be restricted to 2°C is widely shared in the institutional investor community,” added Edward Mason, the Church of England’s head of responsible investment.

“Exxon told the SEC last month it intended to block a vote on the resolution at its annual meeting this May, claiming it was vague and asked for metrics that are hard to quantify,” Reuters reports. “Exxon has said in the past that climate change poses little risk to its reserves and that it would start providing some information about how it arrived at this conclusion. The company has also said it has worked transparently for years on climate science and has properly disclosed business risks.”

An InsideClimate News investigation revealed last year that Exxon understood the dangers of climate change as early as 1977, but chose to spend decades funding climate denial rather than contributing to practical solutions.