Big Oil and its green ambitions could be about to get a serious reality check

CNBC – The month of May promises to be a ground-breaking one for Big Oil.

Oil and gas majors on both sides of the Atlantic are preparing to hold their annual shareholder meetings in the coming weeks. It comes at a time when the world’s largest corporate emitters are under immense pressure to set short, medium and long-term emissions targets that are consistent with the Paris Agreement.

At present, not a single oil and gas company is aligned with Paris-consistent emission reduction targets or investment levels more than five years after the landmark climate accord was ratified by nearly 200 countries. The agreement is widely recognized as critically important to avoid an irreversible climate crisis.

Norway’s Equinor and U.S. oil producer ConocoPhillips will hold their respective annual shareholder meetings on Tuesday. The annual general meetings of the U.K.’s BP and U.S. refiner Phillips 66 will take place on Wednesday, with U.S. oil major Chevron due to hold its AGM on May 26.

Reflecting on four previously unsuccessful attempts to encourage investors to vote for their climate resolutions at Shell’s AGMs, Follow This’ van Baal said he was confident a larger proportion of voters would back their proposal later this month.

In 2016, just 2.7% of investors supported Follow This’ climate motion at Shell’s AGM. However, by 2020, van Baal said this figure had climbed to 14.4%.

“I think the percentage of votes will grow again,” he said, arguing that a “growing minority” of voters had previously been enough to serve as a catalyst for change.

“We have now quite hard proof in Europe that oil majors only move when there’s engagement and voting. Engagement is just talk without consequences,” van Baal said.

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