Exxon Mobil and Chevron Corp., the biggest oil producers in the United States, are not interested in finding a global strategy addressing climate change, in spite of the best efforts shown by their European counterparts. Exxon shareholders made their stance clear on Wednesday, when they rejected a series of environmental resolutions.
Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson said that he will under no circumstances accept a climate-change expert on the company’s board of executives. The suggestion was made by an organization of Catholic priests at the oil giant’s annual shareholders meeting in Dallas, who also advised that Exxon should try to set a cap for its greenhouse gas emissions.
“This company has to be making plans for the future,” said Michael Crosby, the main sponsor of the resolution. “Let’s get an expert on the board to deal with a critical question.”
Exxon dismissed the climate concerns vociferated by the organization, arguing that many of its board members have scientific and engineering training and can make their own judgment regarding climate change. A mere 21 percent of the shareholders showed their support for Crosby’s proposal. Even fewer of them – less than 10 percent – agreed that greenhouse gas emissions need to be reduced.
When asked about the long term effects of Exxon’s stubbornness, Tillerson expressed his confidence that the human race is resilient enough to deal with any problem. “Mankind has this enormous capacity to deal with adversity,” the company’s chief executive said. Tillerson did not seem too concerned if his answer satisfied anyone.
However, climate change seems to be a cause of great concern for oil giants outside the US, who appear more and more determined to start investing in renewable energy. For instance, Royal Dutch Shell passed a resolution in January intended to show the world how committed the company is to reduce gas emissions and find alternative energy sources.
Shell has started cooperating with other major European energy companies to find a common strategy addressing climate change. The initiative comes shortly after the U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry advised governments to set limits for carbon emissions. The Europeans hope to send the right message to United Nations negotiators that are set to gather in Paris in December.
Still, Exxon and Chevron are having none of it. Chevron CEO John Watson said that the company’s shareholders would rather stay out of the coalition and send their own message to the United Nations. Exxon’s Tillerson went even further and suggested that the common climate strategy is nothing but a marketing ploy, and accused his European counterparts of trying “to fake it”.
Image Source: Guardian