Seven years on, despite significant steps, there is still no single oil major which plans to reduce emissions in line with the Paris Climate Agreement, concludes CA100+, the world’s largest alliance of investors (managing $68 trillion of capital threatened by climate change), in their updated Net Zero Company Benchmark released today.
“We hope the CA100+ members translate this benchmark into voting behavior at annual shareholder meetings, otherwise oil majors will continue to claim that they have the support of their shareholders for their current plans,” responds Mark van Baal of Follow This, an organization which files climate resolutions. “The only power investors have is the power of their votes.”
In May 2022, the majority of CA100+ members did not bring their voting in line with their own benchmark. However, shareholder rebellions of 15-42% voted in favor of the Follow This climate resolutions which support oil majors to align their emissions reduction targets with the Paris Climate Agreement.
“We hope investors will support climate resolutions in 2023. Only when shareholders are crystal clear in their voting will oil majors change course. Right now, Big Oil can claim that their shareholders support them in their reluctance to set Paris-consistent targets and make the corresponding investments. We don’t have time for another round of discussions about incremental steps.”
“Although many oil majors made promises for the distant future, no one plans to make the deep emissions reductions this decade which the IPCC* calls for in order to keep limiting global warming to 1.5°C within reach.”
*IPCC: “Without immediate and deep emissions reductions across all sectors, limiting global warming to 1.5°C is beyond reach.”
Concerns about loopholes in CA100+ benchmark
Investors and NGOs have expressed their concerns about the use of carbon intensity targets to assess Paris-alignment**. “Carbon intensity targets do not guarantee the necessary absolute CO2 emissions reductions,” says Mark van Baal of Follow This. “We trust that the CA100+ addresses that loophole before some oil majors make an incremental step and claim to be Paris-aligned with carbon intensity targets without making deep absolute CO2 emissions reductions this decade.”
** CA100+ uses the Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) assessments that use companies’ stated intensity targets.
The CA100+ also shows that none of the above ten oil majors plans to invest consistent with a 1.5°C scenario (capital allocation alignment, indicator 6, assessed by Carbon Tracker; only BP is partial aligned as it meets some criteria).
This is a serious source of concern, as according to the IEA NZE 1.5°C reference scenario, “No new oil and natural gas fields are needed in the net zero pathway”.
About Climate Action 100+
Climate Action 100+ is the world’s largest investor engagement initiative on climate change. It involves 700 investors, responsible for over $68 trillion in assets under management. Investors are focused on ensuring 166 of the world’s biggest corporate greenhouse gas (GHG) emitters take the necessary actions to align their business strategies with the goals of the Paris Agreement.
About the Benchmark methodology
The Climate Action 100+ Net Zero Company Benchmark aims to define the key elements of a robust ‘net zero aligned’ business strategy, to give investors’ confidence that companies are developing comprehensive net zero transition plans. Several research groups have participated in the assessments, such as Carbon Tracker, Influence Map and Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI).