CNBC — “I have called 2022 the year the empire struck back,” Mark van Baal, founder of Dutch shareholder activist Follow This, told CNBC via telephone.
“What we saw happening in 2022 is that the oil majors used the high oil prices and the energy crisis to convince investors that the energy crisis should eclipse the climate crisis — and that has caused a setback,” van Baal said.
After ultimately failing with several climate resolutions in 2022, van Baal said it was clear from discussions with oil majors that they were once again determined to fend off activist and shareholder pressure and continue with their core oil and gas businesses.
“The attitude of the oil industry is ‘we have a very handsome business model and we’re going to defend it tooth and nail,'” van Baal said. “The reason it is so handsome is because there are so many externalities not inside their costs — and, of course, the biggest one is the cost of climate change.”
Van Baal added, “My hope is not with the boards of these oil majors, my hope is that the investors will realize that we don’t have time for another round of discussion, another year of engagement and another year of the benefit of the doubt.”
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