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The world's leading oil and gas companies should set targets to cut C02 and greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 at the upcoming COP28 climate conference, CEO of French multinational energy company TotalEnergies (NYSE:TTE) Patrick Pouyanne has said.
"If we can bring something to COP28 as an oil and gas industry ... (it) is not only IOCs (international oil companies) but also NOCs (national oil companies) should have some targets," Pouyanne told a recent OPEC Seminar conference.
After a brief lull in 2022 amid the global energy crisis following Russia's invasion of Ukraine, oil and gas companies are facing renewed pressure from activists to go harder at their climate pledges. Back in May, climate activists scored yet another victory against Big Oil after Norway's giant sovereign wealth fund announced it would support proposals by ExxonMobil Corp. (NYSE:XOM) and Chevron Corp. (NYSE:CVX) shareholders at their annual general meetings to introduce emissions targets.
With $1.4 trillion in assets, Norway's wealth fund is the largest in the world, and its voice on matters like these carries plenty of weight. The fund is the sixth-largest investor in Exxon with a nearly 1.2% stake. The move comes barely a week after climate protesters unleashed chaos at TotalEnergies' AGM in Paris, which saw shareholders back a motion calling for the French energy giant to speed up cuts to its greenhouse gas emissions. Similarly, in what is now shaping up as another wave of climate fervor, protesters stormed Shell Plc's (NYSE:SHEL) AGM, accusing the Dutch national oil company of "killing" the planet and calling for it to be "shut down".
It's a startling turn of events for oil and gas shareholders, considering that last year, there was a palpable shift in sentiment with climate activism and ESG taking a back seat. In May 2022, Exxon recorded a major victory after its shareholders supported the company's energy transition strategy at the annual general meeting. Only 28% of the participants backed a resolution filed by the Follow This activist group urging faster action to battle climate change; a proposal calling for a report on low carbon business planning received just 10.5% support, while a report on plastic production garnered a 37% favorable vote.
Following in the footsteps of its larger peer, in June, Chevron shareholders voted against a resolution asking the company to adopt greenhouse gas emissions reductions targets, indicating support for the steps the company already has taken to address climate change.
By Alex Kimani for Oilprice.com
Alex Kimani is a veteran finance writer, investor, engineer and researcher for Safehaven.com.