After 'Robbing Humanity' of Better Future, Shareholders Targeted for Big Oil's Charade

When they gather in Texas and California, respectively, for their annual shareholder meetings next week, ExxonMobil and Chevron will face increasing pressure from shareholders, environmentalists, and impacted communities to act on climate change.

The meetings, both taking place next Wednesday, come amid a concerted effort to hold Exxon and other fossil fuel corporations accountable for deceiving the general public and their shareholders about climate science.

But if history is any indication, the Big Oil giants will remain as intractable as ever, even in the face of a growing climate crisis.

Since 1990, 62 climate-related resolutions have been introduced at annual shareholder meetings, author and co-founder Bill McKibben writes in an op-ed on Friday. Each of them has failed.

“In 2015,” he offers as an example, “shareholder activists put forward a variety of resolutions, the most important of which would have set goals for cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Again Exxon opposed them, its CEO informing shareholders that if climate change caused any ‘inclement weather’ humans would ‘adapt’.”

McKibben continues:

It may be time to “give up the charade,” McKibben argues.

“If this meeting ends with the same dismal failure as the past 25,” he says, “it’s time to admit the obvious: the Exxons of the world are not going to change their stripes, not voluntarily. It will be time for state treasurers and religious groups to join those students and frontline communities and climate scientists who are saying ‘No more.’ It will be time—past time—to get serious, divest and break free of fossil fuels once and for all.”

Activists plan to hold a rally to this effect outside the Exxon shareholder meeting in Dallas next Wednesday.

“Shareholders have all the evidence they need—Exxon has lied to them about the financial risks of climate change since 1977,” reads the call-to-action. “Exxon robbed humanity of half a century’s worth of time to fight climate change, and their core business model relies on wrecking our communities and the climate.”

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