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Investors ask Chevron, Equinor to set emissions-reductions targets

Activist investors have filed new resolutions at Chevron Corp. and Norway's Equinor, asking the majors to set greenhouse gas emissions-reductions targets that are in sync with those of the Paris Agreement.

The latest in a string of investor pushes for big oil companies to tackle climate change, the proposal at Chevron is being spearheaded by As You Sow and Arjuna Capital.

"Chevron must immediately plan a cleaner path for providing energy to the world," President of As You Sow Danielle Fugere said Dec. 19. "Chevron can start with reducing its investments in the most carbon extreme fossil fuels and expand from there. Whether it invests in cleaner energy sources or simply reduces its investments in new reserves, Chevron must bring its business plan into line with Paris goals."

Chevron was not immediately available for comment.

Netherlands-based activist investor group Follow This said Dec. 19 it submitted a proposal at Equinor, requesting the company outline stringent climate goals that are aligned with the Paris Agreement on climate change's goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees C from pre-industrial levels.

"The oil and gas industry can make or break the Paris Climate Agreement, and their shareholders are the only ones who can call the oil and gas companies to action," Follow This founder Mark Baal said in a news release.

Equinor was also not immediately available for comment.

Earlier this month, Follow This filed the same proposals at BP PLC and Royal Dutch Shell PLC.

Amid the continued investor pressure, Shell said Dec. 3 that it would set short-term targets to cut emissions, with those levels to be tied to executive pay. In late 2017, Shell announced it would reduce the carbon footprint of the energy products it sells by 50% by 2050 but did not disclose any binding targets. Now, Shell plans to set annually, beginning in 2020, three- to five-year targets through 2050.

On Dec. 16, institutional investors filed a proposal at Exxon Mobil Corp., calling for the company to set and publish, for the first time, its emissions-reductions targets. The New York State Common Retirement Fund, or NYSCRF, and the Church Commissioners for England, or CCE, are calling on Exxon to set and disclose short-, medium- and long-term targets from its operations and the use of its products. Follow This has endorsed the resolution at Exxon.

At the end of September, Exxon and Chevron joined the Oil and Gas Climate Initiative, or OGCI, a group that aims to increase the speed, scale and ambition of efforts to reduce emissions from the production and use of their fuels in power, heating, industry and transportation. Shell and BP were already members.

All of the investor-backed resolutions will be voted on by shareholders at the companies' annual meetings in May 2019.