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Exxon, Chevron shareholders strongly reject climate-related petitions




HOUSTON, May 31 (Reuters) – Shareholders in Exxon Mobil Corp ( XOM.N ) and Chevron Corp ( CVX.N ) on Wednesday overwhelmingly rejected calls for stronger action to curb climate change, rejecting more than a dozen climate-related proposals at their annual meetings.

The results supported the two biggest US oil producers in resisting pressure from investor groups calling for the pair to follow European rivals in accepting tougher emissions reduction targets.

Despite efforts by Shell PLC ( SHEL.L ), BP PLC ( BP.L ) and TotalEnergies ( TTEF.PA ), protesters still stormed their shareholder meetings this year, seeking a faster shift away from fossil fuels. Their claims similarly failed.

Exxon and Chevron’s meetings were online, avoiding similar protests.

“There is no single oil major that really wants to transition,” said Mark van Baal, founder of the activist group Follow This, which suffered heavy losses at several meetings. “They all want to hang on to fossil fuels for as long as possible.”

His group, which represents about 9,500 oil and gas company shareholders, had asked Exxon to set medium-term goals to reduce emissions from fuel burned by customers — or Scope 3 goals.

That resolution received less than half the support of 11% of the votes cast, compared to 27% for the group’s emissions reduction proposal last year.

CEO Darren Woods called Follow This “an anti-oil and gas” group that uses environmental and social goals “to diminish the important role Exxon plays” in the industry.

“Scope 3 gives companies like ours zero credit for reducing other people’s emissions through technologies like carbon capture and storage,” Woods said.

Exxon is the only one of the five Western oil companies without a 2030 target to reduce its customers’ carbon emissions from its products.

Exxon owners rejected all 12 shareholder proposals, the majority of which dealt with climate-related issues. No one received a majority of the votes cast that would signal a victory, according to early results.

Chevron investors also rejected proposals on customer emissions reduction targets, the creation of a decarbonisation risk steering committee, and a report on worker and community impacts from plant closures and energy transitions.

LOW SUPPORT

Overall, the results showed declining support for proposals designed to strengthen oil and gas companies’ contribution to tackling climate change. After gaining some ground earlier this decade, the initiatives lost steam after concerns increased over supply and prices following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.

A proposal to increase Exxon’s methane gas measurement reporting received 36% of the votes cast, the largest for any climate initiative. Last year, shareholders approved by a 51% vote a request that Exxon issue a revised report on emissions using assumptions from the International Energy Agency’s Net Zero by 2050 pathway.

The shareholders also rejected the creation of a worst-case oil containment plan for the Guyana operations. It received only 13% of the votes cast.

Reporting by Sabrina Valle and Arathy Somasekhar in Houston; Mrinalika Roy and Sourasis Bose in Bengaluru. Editing by Jon Boyle and Margaret Choy

Our standards: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.



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