Exxon Mobil Proxy Will Be Green

SEC tells oil giant to include environmental resolutions in proxy; are climate studies flawed?

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Consider it one more indication that environmental issues have gone mainstream.

Yesterday, the Securities and Exchange Commission told Exxon Mobil Corp. it must include two shareholder resolutions about global warming in the proxy for the oil company’s upcoming annual meeting.

One of the resolutions calls on Exxon Mobil to detail how it plans to reduce its emissions to comply with the Kyoto Protocol at Exxon facilities in countries where the treaty applies, according to The Wall Street Journal. The Kyoto agreement requires cuts in global-warming emissions from industrialized countries that have ratified it. While rejected by the U.S., the Kyoto Protocol was endorsed by many other nations.

The other resolution calls on the energy company to disclose research data behind the company’s “stated position on the science” about global warming, according to the report.

Earlier this month, shareholders agreed to withdraw global-warming-related resolutions from ChevronTexaco Corp. and several smaller oil companies after those businesses agreed to take more action on this issue, the paper noted.

In 2003, more than 22 percent of Exxon shareholders supported a global-warming-related resolution. In 2004, the company issued a report saying it intends “to comply in the most cost-effective manner with whatever regulations and mandates are issued” regarding global warming.

The Journal reported that Exxon argued to the SEC that its 2004 report precluded a need to report on plans for complying with Kyoto or on the company’s views on global-warming science. Over the past few years, the energy giant has reportedly claimed that gaps exist in climate science, thus making it difficult to accurately asses the impact of human activities on climate change.

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