• Atmospheric CO2 /Parts per Million /Annual Averages /Data Source: noaa.gov

  • 1980338.91ppm

  • 1981340.11ppm

  • 1982340.86ppm

  • 1983342.53ppm

  • 1984344.07ppm

  • 1985345.54ppm

  • 1986346.97ppm

  • 1987348.68ppm

  • 1988351.16ppm

  • 1989352.78ppm

  • 1990354.05ppm

  • 1991355.39ppm

  • 1992356.1ppm

  • 1993356.83ppm

  • 1994358.33ppm

  • 1995360.18ppm

  • 1996361.93ppm

  • 1997363.04ppm

  • 1998365.7ppm

  • 1999367.8ppm

  • 2000368.97ppm

  • 2001370.57ppm

  • 2002372.59ppm

  • 2003375.14ppm

  • 2004376.96ppm

  • 2005378.97ppm

  • 2006381.13ppm

  • 2007382.9ppm

  • 2008385.01ppm

  • 2009386.5ppm

  • 2010388.76ppm

  • 2011390.63ppm

  • 2012392.65ppm

  • 2013395.39ppm

  • 2014397.34ppm

  • 2015399.65ppm

  • 2016403.09ppm

  • 2017405.22ppm

  • 2018407.62ppm

  • 2019410.07ppm

  • 2020412.44ppm

  • 2021414.72ppm

  • 2022418.56ppm

  • 2023421.08ppm

News & Views

Climate lobbying: an emerging proxy battleground

Corporate lobbying against climate policies has become a key agenda item this AGM season, with nearly half of all PACCAR investors demanding more transparency

Content Tags: Engagement  Paris Alignment  US 

Climate policy has always been susceptible to the push and pull of climate politics. In an era of revamped industrial policy, this might still be true. Companies who stand to gain from stymieing the pace of the transition or redirecting its focus have a history of investing in political capital.

These investments, often channelled through trade associations or think tanks, have taken aim at several policies over the years – from trying to prevent the US from ratifying the Kyoto protocol in 1997 to opposing the Biden administration’s pause on LNG exports in 2024.

Political investments by listed companies are becoming a matter of shareholder concern. Investors are once again pushing for climate lobbying disclosures this proxy season.

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Companies face increasing reputational risks from consumers, investors, and other stakeholders, if they appear to delay or block effective climate policy

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Shareholder resolution filed at PACCAR

Climate lobbying resolutions

It is not just oil and gas majors facing the heat. At PACCAR, a truck manufacturer, shareholders demanded a report on whether the company’s lobbying was aligned with the Paris Agreement. The proposal, co-filed by Calvert Research and Management and the Comptroller of the City of New York says:

“Companies face increasing reputational risks from consumers, investors, and other stakeholders, if they appear to delay or block effective climate policy”.

A similar proposal was filed last year. It received 47.4% support – an indication, according to the two filers, of significant shareholder interest in the issue. PACCAR held its AGM on April 30 where the board recommended a vote against this proposal.

The lobbying question will also be asked on May 23 when NextEra, an American energy company heads into its AGM. CCLA Investment Management, will present a proposal calling on the company to explain the misalignment between its emission reduction target and its climate lobbying efforts. The proposal is being supported by Mercy Investment Services, Railpen and the San Francisco Employees’ Retirement System.

“The latest Climate Action 100+ benchmark indicates that NextEra’s ‘Real Zero’ by 2045 goal and its medium/short-term emissions reduction targets meet all the disclosure framework criteria, but NextEra’s climate policy engagement does not meet any of the disclosure framework criteria”, the proposal argues.

NextEra claims sufficient and robust disclosures have already been made. “The board believes the report requested by the proposal would be an unnecessary, duplicative and unproductive use of the company’s time and resources”, reads the company’s response to the proposal.

Return on political capital

Companies seem to have reason to believe that the returns on political capital invested in climate lobbying are high. A recently published joint staff report by the US Senate offers insight into how climate lobbing by the fossil fuel industry works and why it is lucrative.

The multi-year investigation finds that “fossil fuel companies internally do not dispute that they have understood since at least the 1960s that burning fossil fuels causes climate change and then worked for decades to undermine public understanding of this fact and to deny the underlying science”.

These campaigns of political influence have often targeted sensitive corners of the global climate change debate such as natural gas. The investigation suggests that companies would portray gas as “climate friendly” while acknowledging the extent of its lifecycle emissions in in internal documents.

Senator Sheldon Whitehouse, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee refers to it as a “campaign of deception, disinformation, and doublespeak waged using dark money, phony front groups, false economics, and relentless exertion of political influence—to block climate progress”.

Delays to climate policy implementation or structural alterations to its ethos could have negative consequences for institutional investors – who might choose to allocate capital based on an expectation of conducive policy environments. While policymakers across the globe are rushing to design their own IRA-equivalents, investors seem concerned that the reality of climate policy-making might be more complex than it seems. 

Content Tags: Engagement  Paris Alignment  US 

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