ISCs Suffer Legal LossesBy Pedro Alcalá | Fri, 05/28/2021 - 13:53
Oil giants Shell, Chevron and Exxon had a bad week that was reported as a major victory for environmental activists looking to hold oil and gas companies more accountable for their impact on climate change.
A Dutch court ruled against Shell in a case that was originally filed against the IOC by environmental groups such as Greenpeace and Friends of The Earth back in 2019. The original suit claimed that Shell was endangering the lives of Dutch citizens by continuing its involvement in fossil fuel extraction. Among the evidence presented to the court was the latest International Energy Agency (IEA) report which claims that “Climate pledges by governments to date, even if fully achieved, would fall well short of what is required to bring global energy-related carbon dioxide emissions to net zero by 2050 and give the world an even chance of limiting the global temperature rise to 1.5 °C.” This week, the court agreed and mandated Shell to revise its decarbonization objectives: while Shell had pledged to cut their carbon emissions by 20 percent by the end of this decade, the court ordered them to cut them by 45 to 50 percent. Shell reportedly plans to appeal this decision.
Meanwhile, Chevron had established an objective back in March to cut CO2 emissions from its operations by 35 percent per unit of production by 2028. However, its board of directors passed a new plan this week that called for even deeper cuts. Specifically, this plan makes Chevron responsible for cutting emissions generated by all the oil and gas they commercialize, rather than only those emissions generated by oil and gas specifically produced at their “units of production”. This came on top of another slate of negative headlines for Chevron this week after media and public pressure continues to mount for them to drop their controversial case against climate attorney Steven Donziger.
Finally, Exxon was forced to accept new board members into their top leadership circles from activist hedge fund investors. This is the first time activist investors have successfully voted their picks onto Exxon’s board, and it is likely to result in a complete reversal of Exxon’s very modest decarbonization objectives. These objectives were pledged back in December 2020 and call for a reduction of emissions between 15 to 20 percent by 2025. In other parts of the world, a similar turn of the tide took place this week: French oil major Total has chosen to change its name to TotalEnergies, signaling a shift to renewable energy development, and the Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) will replace "oilwell drilling" with "energy".