U.S. Markets open in 3 hrs 37 mins
  • S&P Futures

    4,006.25
    -13.50 (-0.34%)
     
  • Dow Futures

    32,079.00
    -41.00 (-0.13%)
     
  • Nasdaq Futures

    12,313.25
    -69.50 (-0.56%)
     
  • Russell 2000 Futures

    1,783.00
    -6.50 (-0.36%)
     
  • Crude Oil

    110.26
    -0.23 (-0.21%)
     
  • Gold

    1,801.10
    -7.10 (-0.39%)
     
  • Silver

    21.15
    +0.14 (+0.69%)
     
  • EUR/USD

    1.0420
    +0.0003 (+0.0313%)
     
  • 10-Yr Bond

    2.9350
    0.0000 (0.00%)
     
  • Vix

    29.59
    -2.18 (-6.86%)
     
  • GBP/USD

    1.2229
    -0.0033 (-0.2690%)
     
  • USD/JPY

    129.3410
    +0.1560 (+0.1208%)
     
  • BTC-USD

    29,710.63
    -0.62 (-0.00%)
     
  • CMC Crypto 200

    665.42
    -15.69 (-2.30%)
     
  • FTSE 100

    7,427.15
    +9.00 (+0.12%)
     
  • Nikkei 225

    26,547.05
    +119.40 (+0.45%)
     
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Big Oil 'can make or break the Paris Climate Accords,' Follow This Founder says

In this article:
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.
  • Oops!
    Something went wrong.
    Please try again later.

Mark van Baal, Follow This Founder, joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the latest initiative to pressure Big Oil to do more in combatting climate change.

Video Transcript

- As we've been watching the scenes play out around climate activists and some of those big energy companies, and now ExxonMobil the latest target for climate activist group Follow This, the group filing a new shareholder climate resolution for Exxon, urging the company to publish its medium and long-term carbon emissions targets ahead of its 2022 general meeting. Follow This is also targeting Marathon Petroleum.

Joining us now to discuss the filing is Mark van Baal, Follow This founder, who joins us right now. Mark, I appreciate you taking the time here. I mean, we've talked a lot about maybe some of the activists pressuring ExxonMobil. Of course, they had that big battle. We saw another activist group get three new board seats at Exxon. Talk to me about what this push is particularly about and what you want to see change now.

MARK VAN BAAL: We just put a very fair ask on the agenda. And that's we asked ExxonMobil, like we ask every oil major where we file a climate resolution, to commit to the Paris Climate Agreement, to decrease emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, which means approximately halving emissions in the next decade.

- I mean, is it as simple as that? ExxonMobil would counter by saying we've put out our own plan, which includes a carbon capture. It sounds like you're looking for not just a reduction of direct emissions, but indirect or scope three emissions. Can you talk about that a bit more?

MARK VAN BAAL: Yeah, exactly. Thanks for asking that. The emissions of the products of oil majors are the elephant in the room, what nobody likes to talk about, but that's 90% of their emissions. So they need-- every oil major needs to set emission reduction targets for all their emissions, not only their operational emissions, but far more important, the emissions from their products. And if they would do so, they have to conclude that they have to invest completely differently in the next years because they can't grow in oil and gas anymore, they have to invest in renewables.

And that's where we come from. That is, Follow This is basically based on the conviction that we need big oil to have any chance to meet the Paris Climate Accord to have any chance to stop climate change. Big oil can make or break the Paris Climate Accord. And they need their shareholders to support them and, if needed, to push them to commit to the Paris Climate Agreement and start investing differently. That's the only way we have any chance to fight the climate crisis.

- When you talk about these indirect emissions, this is something that so many companies have had to deal with. It is more than a majority of the emissions that a lot of these companies account for. It's in their suppliers, it's down the chain. What are you looking at from a cost perspective for Exxon? I mean, what kind of undertaking would that require on the part of the company?

MARK VAN BAAL: Yeah, scope three emissions can be quite complicated. For most companies, it's very difficult to estimate what the emissions are when your customers use your product. Say you're a car producer or you produce another product. But for an oil major, it's quite simple. We know that every barrel of oil that's been sold will be burned and will cause CO2 in the atmosphere. So scope three product emissions is very simple to measure. And we also know that the scope three emissions, all emissions have to halve in the next decade to meet the Paris Accord.

And so that's what everybody has to work on. So on the demand side, we have to make different choices, but on the supply side, the energy industry, which is now fossil fuel industry, should completely overhaul the supply of energy. And yeah, the only way to achieve that is to stop investing in exploration of more oil and gas and start the exploration of new business models in renewables.

Renewables are getting cheaper by the day. The world is not asking for oil and gas. The world is asking for energy, and preferably renewable energy. And we need big oil, they have the brains and the billions to achieve the Paris Accords to make sure we win the fight against the climate crisis.

- And Mark, I mean, I guess, you know, when we talk about these resolutions, you've obviously used them for other big energy companies, too, Royal Dutch Shell. We've talked to you in the past about that push. I mean, talk to me about how important this avenue is, rather than maybe some other avenues you could take to really impact carbon emissions, and whether or not you've seen the success that you wanted to so far by going this path.

MARK VAN BAAL: Yeah, with Shell, where we started in 2016, and later with BP, Equinor in Europe, and Chevron in the US, we've seen the exact same pattern all over every time again. And that's we file a resolution, the company says you're asking for emission reductions of scope three, that's not our responsibility, we do not know what our customers do with our products, so you're asking something unreasonable. So shareholders, please vote against this resolution.

Then more and more investors started voting for these kind of resolutions. With Chevron, for example, last year 61%, with Phillips 66 even 80%, eight, zero, and then these companies set scope three targets. In the far future, in 2050, not enough to reach the Paris Climate Agreement. But with these kind of resolutions, climate resolutions, we've proven that oil majors only reluctantly take steps in the fight against climate change when their shareholders are voting for these kind of resolutions. So far, it is the only thing that has worked.

- And on that front, something that Zack mentioned earlier, Engine No. 1 earlier this year successfully winning three new board seats on ExxonMobil's board. You know, the idea here was to push the oil giant to move more aggressively in cutting emissions and accelerating that transition to cleaner energy. Have you seen the results?

MARK VAN BAAL: Not with Exxon yet. These board members are just a couple of months in their position. But we really think that our resolutions and the actions of Engine No. 1 getting board seats will enforce each other. They are inside. We are now inside with a climate resolution. We arranged the push from shareholders. So at the end of the day, this will enforce each other. For a start, Exxon cannot unanimously reject our resolution, like Shell always does.

- Well, progress, you know, obviously takes a lot of effort here. And appreciate you coming on here to chat with us about some of the pushes. Mark van Baal, Follow This founder, appreciate the time. Thanks again.