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.
In a first for the industry, Anglo-Dutch oil giant Royal Dutch Shell will put its own net-zero transition plan to its shareholders on May 18. The so-called advisory vote, while non-binding, is likely to be closely monitored by those inside and outside the energy sector amid deepening concern about the industry’s stubborn dependency on fossil fuels.
Shell’s Energy Transition Strategy, published earlier this year, outlined the group’s plans to reach net-zero emissions by 2050. It aims to reduce net carbon emissions by between 6% to 8% by 2023 when compared to 2016 levels. The target jumps up to 20% by 2030, 45% by 2035, and 100% by 2050. Shell has not committed to Paris-aligned targets for absolute emissions through to 2030, an omission that has not gone unnoticed by climate activists and investors.
Meanwhile, the U.K.’s Local Authority Pension Fund Forum, whose 82 members manage over £300 billion ($423 billion), also plan to oppose Shell’s climate strategy, Reuters reported.