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Extracted: Daily News Clips 5/27/21

Mark Hefflinger, Bold Alliance (Photo: Bryon Houlgrave/Des Moines Register

By Mark Hefflinger

News Clips May 27, 2021

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PIPELINE NEWS

  • Facebook: Camp MigiziConstruction of Line 3 has officially started today
  • KBJRWork ramps back up on Enbridge Line 3 project
  • KFGOFour facing charges after demonstration along pipeline route
  • Healing MNGrandmothers stand against Line 3, Bay Mills Indian Community banishes Enbridge Line 5, and other news and events
  • Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN)In the Lead up to June Mobilization, Over 300 Groups Call for President Biden to take Presidential Action to Stop the Line 3 Pipeline Project
  • Facebook: Friends of the HeadwatersPlease help us get the word out that NOTHING IS OVER for the Line 3 court cases
  • Politico Morning EnergyOver 30 groups are submitting comments to FERC today urging the commission to impose far more stringent standards to how it approves fossil fuel pipelines
  • Boston GlobeWeymouth compressor station vents ‘small quantity of natural gas’ amid repairs
  • NPRPipeline Companies Will Have To Report Cyberattacks To The Government
  • BloombergAlberta Revives Pipeline Curtailment Bill

EXTRACTION

  • CBCCanada’s oldest oil and gas trade association to drop ‘oil’ from its name in bid to upgrade image
  • ReutersCanada’s Suncor Energy aims to cut emissions one-third while boosting oil production
  • Upstream‘Running out of time’: Suncor set to abandon legacy oilfield offshore Canada
  • E&E NewsLNG Company Announces Major Carbon Capture Project

WASHINGTON UPDATES

  • Oil City NewsCHENEY ATTEMPTS TO TIE ‘SKYROCKETING’ GAS PRICES, SHORTAGES TO BIDEN OIL AND GAS POLICIES
  • The HillRepublican state treasurers say they’ll weigh banks’ fossil fuel stance in contracting decisions
  • Washington PostPrairie chickens are dying out on the Great Plains. Biden’s efforts to save them could spark fight on key oil patch
  • NY TimesBiden Administration Defends Huge Alaska Oil Drilling Project

STATE UPDATES

  • APNew Mexico rules to curb oil industry emissions take effect
  • MiBiz.comState lawmakers consider bill to preempt local natural gas restrictions

CLIMATE FINANCE

  • CNBCDutch court rules oil giant Shell must cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 in landmark case
  • Forbes‘Monumental Victory’: Shell Oil Ordered To Limit Emissions In Historic Climate Court Case
  • NY TimesClimate Activists Defeat Exxon in Push for Clean Energy
  • BloombergBig Oil’s Climate-Change Takedown Arrives With Stunning Rebukes
  • E&E NewsMoney manager BlackRock faces big climate test today

OPINION

  • Fossil Free MediaA landmark day in the fight against fossil fuels
  • Common DreamsJPMorgan Chase Just Became the World’s Most Dangerous Bank
  • WSJThe Proxy Coup at Exxon: Two board challengers win, but fossil fuels aren’t going away

PIPELINE NEWS

Facebook: Camp Migizi: Construction of Line 3 has officially started today
5/26/21

“Construction of Line 3 has officially started today, get your boots on and join us on the Frontline as we kill this black snake, the time is now, Nimama Akii is crying out for Warriors, and that means YOU.”

KBJR: Work ramps back up on Enbridge Line 3 project
Bonney Bowman, 5/26/21

“Work on the Line 3 replacement project is ramping back up after Enbridge shut down construction during the spring,” KBJR reports. “The company wasn’t allowed to do much work for the last couple months due to seasonal road and environmental restrictions. Work will restart June 1. Workers are coming back. The company said there will be around 4,000 on the job by mid-June.”

KFGO: Four facing charges after demonstration along pipeline route
Paul Jurgens, 5/26/21

“Four protesters were taken to the Wadena County Jail late Tuesday afternoon for trespassing on the Enbridge pipeline right-of-way northwest of Huntersville, about 30 miles north of Wadena,” KFGO reports. “…The four are facing charges of trespassing and obstructing the legal process. Those arrested are from Texas, New York, and Louisiana.”

Healing MN: Grandmothers stand against Line 3, Bay Mills Indian Community banishes Enbridge Line 5, and other news and events
5/25/21

“Grandmother to Grandmother, Stop Line 3, Wednesday (today) at noon
13th Annual Mde Maka Ska Canoe Nations Gathering, Friday at 8 a.m.
Walk with Migizi, Friday, 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Grandmothers from around the country are joining Minnesota grandmothers to stand in loving energy to stop the climate catastrophe that is the Line 3 Tar Sands Pipeline. They will meet Wednesday, April 26, at noon in front of the Minnesota Governor’s mansion, 1006 Summit Ave. in St. Paul. According to their Facebook Event Page: “We are fiercely determined to listen to our hearts and spirits to make the world a better place for grandchildren, and all future generations.” This action will appeal to Governor Walz and President Biden to use their power to #STOPLINE3. As Enbridge builds Line 3 through Anishinaabe treaty land and prepares to tunnel under the Mississippi Headwaters now is a critical moment to support the movement to defend Indigenous sovereignty, water, and climate. This event will include art, music and speakers. Elder Women: Come out and if possible bring children dear to you. All Co-conspirators-including men and younger adults, welcome to attend! All please bring photos of children in your life and your fierce loving energy!”

Women’s Earth and Climate Action Network (WECAN): In the Lead up to June Mobilization, Over 300 Groups Call for President Biden to take Presidential Action to Stop the Line 3 Pipeline Project
5/26/21

“Over 300 organizations, representing Indigenous groups and national and local organizations, submitted a letter today to the Biden Administration calling for President Biden to  direct the Army Corps of Engineers to immediately re-evaluate and suspend or revoke Enbridge’s Line 3 Clean Water Act Section 404 permit. The letter delivers key information on the impacts of the Line 3 tar sands pipeline project and clarifies how Line 3 directly undermines the  Administration’s priorities, including respecting Indigenous rights and responding to the climate crisis. The letter also alerts President Biden of the upcoming Indigenous-led June mobilization along the Line 3 pipeline construction route and urges him to cancel the project. The decision to mobilize for non-violent action was not made lightly, especially with the occurrence of state violence at Standing Rock in 2016. However, after years of Anishinaabe and Dakota community members in Minnesota actively opposing this pipeline, and an ongoing legal battle led by Tribal governments, concerned citizens across the United States are heeding the call of Indigenous leaders. If built, the Line 3 pipeline would unlock CO2 emissions equivalent to 50 coal plants, and cost society more than $287 billion in climate impacts in just its first 30 years of operation.  The project is set to cross more than 200 waterways and cut through the 1854 and 1855 treaty territory where Anishinaabe people retain the right to hunt, fish, gather medicines, and harvest wild rice.”

Facebook: Friends of the Headwaters: Please help us get the word out that NOTHING IS OVER for the Line 3 court cases
5/26/21

“We admit it: environmental law rarely provides a LAW AND ORDER moment with dramatic revelations that create headlines about corrupt institutions, sympathetic victims, histrionic confessions, and weeping witnesses. But Friends of the Headwaters also knows this: our legal strategies REALLY MATTER. Court cases have provided environmental impact statements. Court cases have STOPPED OIL PIPELINES. Please help us get the word out that NOTHING IS OVER for the Line 3 court cases.  Currently, Friends of the Headwaters has the following cases in state and/or federal court: * A CHALLENGE TO THE MN POLLUTION CONTROL AGENCY’S MISGUIDED AND LACKADAISICAL DECISIONS around the contested case and the water permits. (Oral arguments are scheduled for June 10.)
* An APPEAL DISPUTING THE ADEQUACY OF EIS, the Line 3 Environmental Impact Statement.
* A STAY ON LINE 3 CONSTRUCTION until the appeals have been heard, argued, and decided.
* An APPEAL CHALLENGING THE MN PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMISSION–its process, its lazy acceptance of incomplete Enbridge data, its willful ignorance regarding the MN Environmental Policy Act, and its incoherent rationale for Line 3. (We should hear a ruling about this by 6/21.)
* A legal CHALLENGE TO THE US ARMY CORPS OF ENGINEERS, THEIR 404 PERMIT, AND THE LACK OF A FEDERAL EIS.”

Politico Morning Energy: Over 30 groups are submitting comments to FERC today urging the commission to impose far more stringent standards to how it approves fossil fuel pipelines.
Matthew Choi, 5/26/11

“Over 30 groups, including the NRDC, Food & Water Watch, Earthjustice and Western Energy Law Center, are submitting comments to FERC today urging the commission to impose far more stringent standards to how it approves fossil fuel pipelines,” according to Politico Morning Energy“Any permitting decision should include a determination that the project is consistent with a broader program that will reduce national emissions to stay within the 1.5°C budget,” the groups write. “Put simply, a business-as-usual approach to fossil fuel infrastructure permitting will condemn humanity to a degraded future – an outcome wholly not in the public interest.”

Boston Globe: Weymouth compressor station vents ‘small quantity of natural gas’ amid repairs
By Jeremy C. Fox, 5/26/21

“Workers at a controversial Weymouth gas compressor station that was shut down for repairs last week vented “a small quantity of natural gas” during maintenance work on Wednesday, officials said,” the Boston Globe reports. “Enbridge, the company that operates the facility, said on Friday that it was performing maintenance work on a piece of equipment that helps reduce compressor unit emissions, a process that required the station to be shut down. As part of that work, natural gas was released from the station “in a controlled manner consistent with our procedures and the design of the facility,” Enbridge spokesman Max Bergeron said in an e-mail Wednesday evening.. “The facility has earned the ire of a number of prominent Massachusetts politicians, as well as local environmental activists, who say it puts local residents at risk.”

NPR: Pipeline Companies Will Have To Report Cyberattacks To The Government
AVIE SCHNEIDER, 5/26/21

“For the first time, the Department of Homeland Security has decided it needs to regulate cybersecurity in the pipeline industry. It’s expected to require such key infrastructure companies to report cyber incidents to the federal government,” NPR reports. “The move, first reported by the The Washington Post, means a new set of rules to safeguard pipeline companies against cyberattacks such as the ransomware that crippled Colonial Pipeline this month. “…It’s going to require reporting of security incidents to TSA and to my old agency, CISA, and that’s it. But there’s additional authority that may take a little bit more time to develop where you may see things like security standards or baseline standards of performance for security measures.”

Bloomberg: Alberta Revives Pipeline Curtailment Bill
Robert Tuttle, 5/26/21

“Alberta is reviving legislation previously blocked by a federal court that would allow the province to curtail oil and gas shipments to other provinces in retaliation for efforts to restrict pipelines,” Bloomberg reports. “If passed by the legislature, the new measure would go into force retroactively on May 1, replacing a 2018 bill meant to restrict oil shipments to British Columbia after the province tried to halt the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline. The new legislation is narrower in scope, and would exclude refined fuels from transport limits. While a federal court blocked the prior bill from going into effect, an appeals court overturned that ruling last month.”

EXTRACTION

CBC: Canada’s oldest oil and gas trade association to drop ‘oil’ from its name in bid to upgrade image
Kyle Bakx, 5/27/21

“After 72 years, Canada’s oldest oil and gas trade association is announcing a new brand and mandate on Thursday, including the removal of the word “oil” from its name,” according to the CBC. “The Canadian Association of Oilwell Drilling Contractors (CAODC) will replace “oilwell drilling” with “energy” to attract new members in a wider variety of fields, not strictly those involved in oilpatch drilling.The new direction comes at a time when the sector is facing increasing pressure to reduce harmful greenhouse gas emissions and transition to lower-emitting sources of energy. CAODC member companies have already approved the new direction, although some grudgingly voted in favour of the name change. “It seems a shame to me” to change the association’s name, Scott Darling, president of Performance Energy Services in Calgary, told CBC.

Reuters: Canada’s Suncor Energy aims to cut emissions one-third while boosting oil production
Rod Nickel, 5/26/21

“Canada’s second-largest oil producer, Suncor Energy Inc (SU.TO), said on Wednesday it plans to cuts its emissions by more than one-third, the most aggressive target of any oil sands producer, even as it lifts production to a new high,” Reuters reports. “At Suncor’s annual investor day, executives said the company would cut annual emissions across its operations by 10 million tonnes or 34%, by 2030, through using lower carbon power, carbon-capture facilities and other initiatives. Its 2019 emissions were 29 million tonnes. The company is the first major oil sands producer to set an absolute emissions reductions target, with most focusing on lowering emissions per barrel. Even as it reduces emissions, Suncor will raise oil production to a record-high average of 800,000 barrels per day over 2021-25, by improving the efficiency of its current facilities rather than building new projects. “We will continue to produce oil sands for many decades to come,” Chief Executive Mark Little said, adding that Suncor would not sell assets to reach emissions targets.”

Upstream: ‘Running out of time’: Suncor set to abandon legacy oilfield offshore Canada
By Iain Esau, 5/27/21

“Calgary-based Suncor looks set to announce a decision to abandon its Terra Nova oilfield offshore eastern Canada on 15 June, in what will be a bitter blow to Newfoundland & Labrador’s upstream sector, Upstream reports. “Despite planned financial support from the Canadian authorities, all signs now point to Suncor pushing ahead with an abandonment plan, judging by comments made yesterday by chief executive Mark Little during the company’s investor day. Discussing the future of Terra Nova and its potential abandonment, he told analysts: “I think it is becoming more and more of a real possibility …because we’re running out of time to do the ALE – there’s weather windows we need to hit (to) execute …the work. “We’ve advocated for ALE, but honestly, we’ve been doing this for many, many months and working it very diligently and it does not look like it’s going to get there.”

E&E News: LNG Company Announces Major Carbon Capture Project
Lesley Clark & Carlos Anchondo, 5/27/21

“A liquefied natural gas producer is unveiling plans today to develop a carbon capture project at two export facilities in Louisiana, expanding the sector’s interest in carbon capture and storage as a way to reduce its carbon footprint,” according to E&E News. “Virginia-based Venture Global LNG said it has performed engineering and geotechnical studies and that, ‘subject only to regulatory approvals,’ it will launch the carbon capture and sequestration project at its Calcasieu Pass and Plaquemines LNG facilities… “Calcasieu Pass aims to be the next LNG facility to come online in the U.S., and the company says the completion of a successful carbon capture project there would be the ‘first of its kind for an existing LNG facility in the United States.”

WASHINGTON UPDATES

Oil City News: CHENEY ATTEMPTS TO TIE ‘SKYROCKETING’ GAS PRICES, SHORTAGES TO BIDEN OIL AND GAS POLICIES
By Brendan LaChance, 5/25/21

“Facing a crowded field of challengers in the 2022 General Election, Wyoming’s U.S. Rep. Liz Cheney has been back in Wyoming touting her commitment to fighting for the state’s oil and gas industry in recent days,” Oil City News reports. “Cheney said via Twitter on Tuesday that she took a tour of Jonah Energy in Pinedale this week and used the opportunity to declare that Wyoming’s oil and gas industry is “under attack from the far-left and the Biden Administration’s heartless energy policies in Washington… “From cancelling the Keystone Pipeline to banning new oil & gas leasing on federal lands, Biden’s energy policies are having devastating consequences,” Cheney said via Twitter. “We’ve already seen a glimpse of this devastation with prices skyrocketing & gas shortages hitting communities across the country.” While Cheney is attempting to link gasoline price increases and shortages to the Biden administration’s policies, shortages in the eastern United States in recent weeks were due to a cyberattack on the Colonial Pipeline, which was temporarily shut down on May 7 before resuming operations on May 12. That pipeline provides about 45% of fuel consumed on the East Coast, according to the Associated Press, and the shut down impacted gasoline distribution, though there was and is not a shortage of overall supply.”

The Hill: Republican state treasurers say they’ll weigh banks’ fossil fuel stance in contracting decisions
BY RACHEL FRAZIN, 5/26/21

“Fifteen Republican state treasurers say they will consider whether banks are willing to lend to fossil fuel companies when making contracting decisions, an attempt to counter reported attempts by the Biden administration to push banks to be more climate-friendly,” The Hill reports. “In a letter to special climate envoy John Kerry on Tuesday, the group wrote that they will “put banks and financial institutions on notice” and urged them not to refuse services to fossil fuel companies.  “As the chief financial officers of our respective states, we trust banks and financial institutions with billions of our taxpayers’ dollars,” they wrote. “It is only logical that we will give significant weight to the fact that an institution engaged in tactics that will harm the people whose money they are handling before entering into or extending any contract.”

Washington Post: Prairie chickens are dying out on the Great Plains. Biden’s efforts to save them could spark fight on key oil patch
By Joshua Partlow and Juliet Eilperin, 5/26/21

“The Biden administration called for new protections under the Endangered Species Act for an iconic bird of the Great Plains on Wednesday, a move with major consequences for the oil and gas industry. U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials proposed listing as endangered a portion of the lesser prairie chicken’s population living in Texas and New Mexico, whose range overlaps with the oil- and gas-rich Permian Basin,” according to the Washington Post. “The agency stopped short of awarding the same protections to the birds’ northern population, in Oklahoma and Kansas, on the grounds that their numbers had declined less drastically. The decision, one of nearly two dozen new conservation measures the administration has adopted in the past four months, underscores President Biden’s push to unravel his predecessor’s environmental policies. In a separate move Wednesday, the Environmental Protection Agency abolished a rule restricting what sort of studies the agency can use in crafting public health rules. Biden has targeted Trump’s energy and environmental policies or proposed one of his own at the rate of about one a day, according to a Washington Post analysis.”

NY Times: Biden Administration Defends Huge Alaska Oil Drilling Project
By Lisa Friedman, 5/26/21

“The Biden administration is defending a huge Trump-era oil and gas project in the North Slope of Alaska designed to produce more than 100,000 barrels of oil a day for the next 30 years, despite President Biden’s pledge to pivot the country away from fossil fuels,” NY Times reports. “The multibillion-dollar plan from ConocoPhillips to drill in part of the National Petroleum Reserve was approved by the Trump administration late last year. Environmental groups sued, arguing that the federal government failed to take into account the impact that drilling would have on fragile wildlife and that burning the oil would have on global warming. The project, known as Willow, set up a choice for the Biden administration: decline to defend oil drilling and hinder a lucrative project that conflicts with its climate policy or support a federal decision backed by the state of Alaska, some tribal nations, unions and key officials, including Lisa Murkowski, a moderate Republican senator seen as a potential ally of the administration in an evenly split Senate. On Wednesday, the administration filed a brief in U.S. District Court for Alaska, defending the Trump administration decision to greenlight the Willow project… “The administration declined to explain how its position on the Willow project aligns with its climate change policies.”

AP: New Mexico rules to curb oil industry emissions take effect
5/25/21

“New Mexico’s new rules to limit most venting and flaring in the oilfield as a way to reduce methane emissions are now in effect,” the AP reports. “State officials are billing the rules, published Tuesday in the New Mexico Register, as some of the strongest gas capture requirements in the nation. Unlike other states, New Mexico’s rules also apply to the midstream sector, which collects natural gas from wells for processing… “The target is capturing 98% of all natural gas waste by the end of 2026. If operators fail, regulators can deny drilling permits.”

MiBiz.com: State lawmakers consider bill to preempt local natural gas restrictions
BY ANDY BALASKOVITZ, 5/25/21

“Michigan lawmakers have joined nearly two dozen other states looking to stop local climate change efforts that involve electrifying various building and transportation components to reduce carbon emissions,” MiBiz.com reports. “House lawmakers today debated House Bill 4575 — sponsored by state Rep. Michele Hoitenga, R-Manton — in the House Committee on Regulatory Reform. The co-owner of an oil and gas drilling consulting business with her husband Philip, Hoitenga introduced the largely preemptive bill as an effort to stop local governments from adopting, maintaining or enforcing an ordinance that “prohibits the use of an appliance that uses gas in a new or existing residential building or structure… “The legislation is opposed by the city of Ann Arbor, where officials have adopted the A2Zero Plan that includes strategies to electrify homes and businesses. The plan more broadly calls for the city to reach net zero emissions by 2030 through renewable energy generation and purchases, energy efficiency, weatherization measures and electrifying transportation. Cities across the country, including in the states of Massachusetts and California, are exploring a ban on natural gas hookups in new construction or at least requiring an electrical connection for appliances.”

CLIMATE FINANCE

CNBC: Dutch court rules oil giant Shell must cut carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 in landmark case
Chloe Taylor, 5/26/21

“A Dutch court on Wednesday ruled oil giant Royal Dutch Shell must reduce its carbon emissions by 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels,” CNBC reports. “That’s a much higher reduction than the company’s current aim of lowering its emissions by 20% by 2030. Shell’s current climate strategy states that the company is aiming to become a net-zero emissions business by 2050, with the company setting a target of cutting its CO2 emissions by 45% by 2035… “The lawsuit was filed in April 2019 by seven activist groups — including Friends of the Earth and Greenpeace — on behalf of 17,200 Dutch citizens. Court summons claimed Shell’s business model “is endangering human rights and lives” by posing a threat to the goals laid out in the Paris Agreement.”

Forbes: ‘Monumental Victory’: Shell Oil Ordered To Limit Emissions In Historic Climate Court Case
David Vetter, 5/26/21

“Environmental campaigners in the Netherlands and around the world are celebrating today after a court in The Hague ordered oil firm Royal Dutch Shell to cut its carbon emissions, in a first-of-its-kind case that pitted climate activists against an oil giant,” Forbes reports. “In her ruling on the case, Judge Larisa Alwin ordered Shell to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions 45% by 2030 from 2019 levels. The court found that Shell’s existing carbon mitigation strategy was “not concrete and is full of conditions … that’s not enough.” The court also ruled that Shell is responsible for emissions from its customers and suppliers, known as scope 3 emissions, and further that Shell’s activities constituted a threat to the “right to life” and “undisturbed family life,” as set out in the European Convention on Human Rights.”

NY Times: Climate Activists Defeat Exxon in Push for Clean Energy
By Clifford Krauss and Peter Eavis, 5/26/21

“Big Oil was dealt a stunning defeat on Wednesday when shareholders of Exxon Mobil elected at least two board candidates nominated by activist investors who pledged to steer the company toward cleaner energy and away from oil and gas,” the NY Times reports. “The success of the campaign, led by a tiny hedge fund against the nation’s largest oil company, could force the energy industry to confront climate change and embolden Wall Street investment firms that are prioritizing the issue. Analysts could not recall another time that Exxon management had lost a vote against company-picked directors. “This is a landmark moment for Exxon and for the industry,” said Andrew Logan, a senior director at Ceres, a nonprofit investor network that pushes corporations to take climate change seriously. “How the industry chooses to respond to this clear signal will determine which companies thrive through the coming transition and which wither.” The vote reveals the growing power of giant Wall Street firms that manage the 401(k)s and other investments of individuals and businesses to press C.E.O.s to pursue environmental and social goals. Some of these firms are run by executives who say they see climate change as a major threat to the economy and the planet.”

Bloomberg: Big Oil’s Climate-Change Takedown Arrives With Stunning Rebukes
By Kevin Crowley, 5/26/21

“Fresh from striking a hammer blow in the boardrooms of the world’s biggest oil companies, the climate movement has a clear message: the energy transition is happening and there’s no turning back,” according to Bloomberg. “Just five years ago, environmental activists were limited to waving placards outside of annual meetings and to the odd shareholder proposal, inevitably rebuffed by the boards and management teams. On Wednesday by contrast, stock investors ousted two Exxon Mobil Corp. directors seen as insufficiently attuned to the threat of climate change, while Chevron Corp. shareholders voted for a proposal to compel the company to reduce pollution by its customers. Royal Dutch Shell Plc was ordered to slash emissions harder and faster than planned by a Dutch court. It was a humiliating loss for Exxon, the Western world’s biggest oil company, made worse by the fact that the effort was championed by an activist with just a 0.02% stake… “It’s a big deal for Exxon, but it’s a watershed moment for the oil and gas industry,” said Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund. “It’s no longer tenable for companies like Exxon Mobil to defy calls to align their business strategies with decarbonizing the economy.”

E&E News: Money manager BlackRock faces big climate test today
Avery Ellfeldt, 5/26/21

“BlackRock Inc. for months has vowed to take a more proactive role in addressing climate change. Today, that promise will be put to the test,” according to E&E News. “As the world’s largest money manager — with an estimated $8.7 trillion in assets — BlackRock has outsize power to steer the companies it invests in. That leverage is especially important when shareholders such as BlackRock get the chance to vote on a company’s future direction. Today, the wealth giant will have the opportunity to do just that at the annual shareholder meetings of three major greenhouse gas emitters: utility Southern Co. and fossil fuel giants Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. “We’ve got three meetings this week, three simple choices, that will really say a lot about the degree to which the large asset managers individually and together are acting responsibly,” said Eli Kasargod-Staub, the executive director of Majority Action, a corporate accountability nonprofit. That’s not all. BlackRock and its CEO, Larry Fink, will face their own shareholders today at the New York-based firm’s annual general meeting. One climate-related resolution is on the agenda: a measure that calls on the firm to become a “public benefit corporation.”

OPINION

Fossil Free Media: A landmark day in the fight against fossil fuels
BY JAMIE HENN, 5/26/21

“May 26, 2021 has been the type of day that fossil fuel fighters dream of. It started in the morning, when news came in from the Netherlands that a Dutch court ruled in a case against Shell, ordering the oil giant to cut emissions 45% by 2030 in line with the goals of the Paris Climate Agreement. The case had been brought by activists, led by Milieudefensie, the Dutch branch of Friends of the Earth. Organizers ultimately signed up 17,000 co-plaintiffs to the case and mobilized hundreds of thousands more to support the effort. While the ruling will surely be appealed, and doesn’t go nearly far enough to address Shell’s decades of human rights and climate abuses, it’s a monumental win. It will also help validate what many have dismissed as a long shot legal strategy to hold polluters accountable for their climate crimes. I remember back in Paris in 2015 when we hosted a mock tribunal for ExxonMobil in a warehouse far from the official UN Climate Talks. To see an actual court hold Shell accountable today felt like watching our fantasies play out in real time… “As a fossil fuel divestment activist, I’ve been a critic of most mainstream shareholder activism because it tends to lack teeth and, until recently, it never felt like there was widespread enough understanding amongst investors and the public writ large to make such efforts successful. But that could be changing. As NPR reported, today’s vote at Exxon “demonstrates how arguments about the financial implications of climate change — specifically, the possibility that the world will stop using oil and gas and investments in fossil fuels will not pay off — have moved firmly to the center of mainstream investor thinking.”

Common Dreams: JPMorgan Chase Just Became the World’s Most Dangerous Bank
By Alec Connon, 5/24/21

“The International Energy Agency (IEA) is the world’s most influential energy forecaster. Providing in-depth policy advice to dozens of national governments, the IEA has long been a friend of fossil fuel executives, regularly encouraging evermore fossil fuel development, even in the face of evermore dire climate warnings,” Alec Connon writes for Common Dreams. “But all that started to change last week. The IEA released a special report that represents the agency’s first attempt at modeling an energy pathway that is compatible with limiting global warming to 1.5°C, the aspirational goal of the Paris Agreement. Chase is the first major US bank to commit to 2030 climate targets; by setting the bar so devastatingly low they have made it easier for other Wall Street banks to engage in similar acts of greenwashing. Perhaps the single most important sentence in the 224-page report is this one: “There is no need for investment in new fossil fuel supply in our net zero pathway.” In other words, if we want to curtail global warming to 1.5°C―and thus slow the rate of species extinction and prevent millions of early deaths―we cannot invest a single dollar more in expanding the fossil fuel industry… In October of last year, Chase, the world’s largest funder of fossil fuels, announced that it was going to align its business model with the Paris Agreement. The pledge came only after years of campaigning by activists and was widely welcomed. The most exciting part of the announcement was Chase’s promise to release 2030 climate targets. Well, Chase just released those targets―and they are worse than even the most pessimistic among us feared.”

WSJ: The Proxy Coup at Exxon: Two board challengers win, but fossil fuels aren’t going away
By The Editorial Board, 5/26/21

“The usual suspects are casting Exxon Mobil’s partial defeat in a proxy shareholder battle on Wednesday as a Waterloo for fossil fuels,” according to the WSJ Editorial Board. “Sorry—the vote is a reflection of the enormous political pressure and financial leverage of government pension funds, proxy advisers and asset managers like BlackRock that want to be seen as virtuous to the progressives who are now in power. The San Francisco-based hedge fund Engine No. 1 formed in November of last year and set out to overhaul Exxon’s board. Its goal: Make the biggest U.S. oil and gas company “transition” out of its legacy business. The fund enlisted big public pension funds and exploited the pandemic’s ravages. Exxon had to “wake up” and “get out of the oil and gas focus,” California State Teachers’ Retirement System (Calstrs) Chief Investment Officer Chris Ailman said in December. Critics said Exxon’s board was too deferential to management, which had invested in U.S. shale and cranked up debt as oil and gas prices plunged. Critics also flogged former CEO Rex Tillerson’s big bet on Canada’s oil sands, which became unprofitable amid low prices.”

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