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article imageExxon shareholders vote for historic 'climate change' clause

By Tim Sandle     Jun 1, 2017 in Environment
It's not been the best week for environment news, with President Donald Trump poised to pull out of the Paris climate accord. However, one positive is with shareholders in Exxon Mobil backing a motion for the company to assess the climate change risk.
The 2015 Paris accord, for the first time, united most of the world in a single agreement to mitigate climate change. It is designed to address the effects of climate change (specifically global warming), which refers to the damaging effect of emissions released from industry and agriculture on the atmosphere. President Trump appears to be the only major world leader who will not support the measures. Trump has, as quoted by the BBC, previously called climate change "a hoax" and the measures outline within the Paris framework "bad for US business." This contrasts with UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has said it is "absolutely essential" that the world unite to combat the threat from climate change.
The attention on the June 2017 climate summit in Brussels, with Chinese and EU leaders set to agree a joint statement on the Paris climate agreement saying it is "an imperative more important than ever", has drawn attention away from some concerning news about the environment. It has been reported that the big crack cutting across the Larsen C Ice Shelf in Antarctica has significantly changed direction. The fissure threatens to spawn one of the biggest icebergs ever seen, and the crack is a consequence of warming temperatures. To add to this, Australia's Great Barrier Reef has lost nearly a third of its corals in the past year.
There is one piece of more positive environmental news: shareholders in Exxon Mobil have backed a motion that requires the energy company to assess the risks from climate change. This sprung from a proposal by environmentally-minded investors including the Church of England. When presented at the recent annual general meeting the motion was supported by over 62 percent of the shareholders. The consequence means that Exxon will, going forwards, have to consider how global efforts to mitigate climate change will impact upon its operations.
Speaking with the BBC about the decision, Edward Mason, head of responsible investment for the Church Commissioners said: "This is an historic vote - despite strong opposition from the board, the majority of Exxon's shareholders have sent an unequivocal signal to the company that it must do much more to disclose the impact on its business of measures to combat climate change."
More about Exxon mobil, Climate change, Global warming, Shares, Business
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