Following shareholder pressure, oil giant ExxonMobil published two reports on how climate change will affect their business model yesterday. Exxon announced that while climate change warrants action, they do not see a risk of their oil and gas reserves becoming stranded. The company asserts that “all of ExxonMobil’s hydrocarbon assets will be needed” to meet global energy demand.
The reports have made it very clear that Exxon have no intention of adapting their business model whatsoever. To stay within the 2 °C limit, 80% of the fossil fuel industries’ known carbon reserves need to remain unburnt. Yet, Exxon is spending $33 billion this year alone to discover and develop yet more carbon.
Toughening climate regulations and other factors such as decreasing costs of renewable energy sources and changing resource landscapes threaten to turn much of Exxon’s reserves into obsolete stranded assets. According to Bloomberg’s Carbon Risk Valuation Tool, stranded assets could make Exxon’s share price decline by 45%.
Exxon did not shy away from announcing that they intend to exploit their carbon reserves until the last drop, the same day the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) launched its latest report highlighting the sweeping impacts of climate change on humans on every continent.
It’s wrong to profit from an industry that is wrecking our future and fiduciary duty must reflect that. Institutional investors in particular must start to play an active stewardship role with the funds they are entrusted with.
Let’s continue to demand divestment from Exxon and other fossil fuel companies to stop them from executing their catastrophic business model. Investors need to pull their money out of high-carbon assets as quickly as possible.