Exxon Shareholders Vote Overwhelmingly Against Environmental Accountability, Same-Sex Benefits

Categories: Environment

RexTillerson.jpg
Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson, who determined that he would rather continue business than "save the planet"
A couple weeks ago, carbon dioxide within the Earth's atmospheric makeup exceeded, for the first time in human history, 400 parts per million. They've not been this high for the past 3 million years -- when sea levels were approximately 80 feet higher than they are now. And while no massive ice shelves instantly sloughed off in celebration, there was a remarkable ripple through those observing. The tally was as much of an inauspicious milestone for our climate health as we could find. And now we're here, and we've no signs of stopping.

Two weeks after we reached the mark, the shareholders of Exxon gathered to vote on a pair of company policies. With this 400-ppm threshold fresh in their minds, the shareholders of Exxon voted 3-to-1 to bar the implementation of any form of either emission cap or emission goal. At a 75-percent clip, those with a stake in Exxon's fiscal health opted to continue pumping their wealth of dioxides at any rate they pleased. Coming off its second-largest profit in the company's history, shareholders opted to continue the selfsame policies that have helped, perhaps more than those of any other company in the world, smother us in the blanket of carbon dioxide mentioned above.

It was the seventh time such a vote has fallen among Exxon shareholders. As CEO Rex Tillerson said following the decision, "What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?"

It's not necessary to parse Tillerson's idiocies in a blog post. (If you don't "save the planet," there will be no humanity left to save, boyo.) His words are testimony to the epistemic bubble in which he exists, and will present plenty of fodder for those looking, years hence, for individuals and organizations to blame for the carbon swath that lifts tides and melts caps. His statement is as damning and obvious as anything you can hope to find from an empty suit like Tillerson.

And that's not all. Shareholders also voted against providing any further transparency for Exxon's fracking policies, and opted -- at an even higher rate! -- to continue Exxon's antigay policies, prohibiting spousal benefits for those who live even in states in which gay marriage is legal. It was the 16th such defeat for those attempting to extend benefits to couples in loving, committed relationships.

"To me, there is an element of linking [between the votes]," Ben Franklin, one of the organizers with Tar Sands Blockade, told Hair Balls. "There's an avoidance of accountability. They point to the policy that they have right now, and they're saying that's good enough, but look, Exxon -- that's obviously blowing smoke up my ass. [And] on climate change reduction, it's particularly symbolic so soon after us crossing the 400-ppm threshold...I'm really torn if they're confident they and their descendants will ride out the consequences, or, like Lehman Brothers, they're just sure they'll never lose."

Who knows? Who's to say what ran through Tillerson's head when he decided to somehow believe Big Oil could raise two billion out of poverty -- or that such a maneuver was worth failing to "save the planet"? Who's to say how many of the Exxon shareholders who voted in favor of the continuance of such policies are as crass and crude as their votes would make them seem?

Look: My landlord works at Exxon. I have friends who, for whatever reason, have opted to work within the Big Oil framework, and for Exxon specifically. The company has provided as much of an economic bulwark in our city as anything we've known since independence. As an influential friend in Houston journalism once told me, it's a fool's game to criticize Big Oil in Houston -- even if Exxon will soon be uprooting for The Woodlands.

But this is just...this is something we can't countenance. It's not. This is a move that is especially unfortunate, coming as it did following the recent carbon threshold and the recent moves to recognize same-sex relationships. This is a vote that was as damning a sentence on Exxon and its shareholders as anything they've seen in recent years. This is a move that makes you glad to see Exxon leaving a town that deserves better.

So let The Woodlands keep them. At a certain point -- at whatever unfathomable rate of atmospheric carbon dioxide you'd want -- you have to wash your hands of a company led by a man as doltish as Tillerson, for whom, along with a majority of shareholders, environmental accountability is an afterthought. Let them leave our city. Let them take their idiocies elsewhere. I'll be just fine with that.

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23 comments
curaecivem
curaecivem

@casey.michel  A word of caution  with the warming earth rhetoric because, if you remember (and I do because I took a course in Environmental  Science in '08, which I highly recommend every American do,) the BIG,BIG scare was the melting of the Permafrost because all that methane would be released and everything would just be icky and toxic and awful. Well, guess what? the PF has started melting and what that has exposed is many (well preserved, I might add) Wolly Mammoths parts and some whole freeze-dried corpses, which has been a boon to WM hunters and traders, etc. But that methane? Well, not so scary, after all.  Reason? Plant absorption. Hmmm. No one saw that coming. Just be careful, is all I'm saying. And I'm a die-hard envrohead. Otherwise, good smack against Exxon, if a bit dramatic.

David Aulds
David Aulds

Environmental concerns are always overblown by the media. Humans can't destroy anything because history has shown plants and animals ALWAYS RECLAIM THINGS if left abandoned to long.

Josh Reddoch
Josh Reddoch

“What good is it to save the planet if humanity suffers?” Translation: I would rather make my $40 million/year than leave a better planet for future generations.

Mary May
Mary May

this is their choice. Live with it.

Molly Martin
Molly Martin

The ultimate insult is their opinion is that the environment should suffer instead of their profits.

Phillip Byron
Phillip Byron

That's why we need stronger government regulations. Many of these big oil companies would have us wearing gas masks and drinking our water through filters. All in the name of that mighty dollar. So who cares if our planet is left barren? Who cares as long as we have a job? Although he way the climate is going we'll all be wearing hazmat suits to work. We have got to the dumbest generation. The sad part about it is that we have more information at our fingertips than at any point in human history via the internet on our smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. Speak up and speak out. Profits over people that's the big business way.

Autumn Smith
Autumn Smith

Useless, selfish bigotry and irresponsibility.

jberlat1
jberlat1

The shareholders have spoken....

itstdl
itstdl

read the link to the "father/son climate heads" article.  apparently the levels found recently were pretty much identical to the levels 2 - 4 million years ago.  does anybody REALLY give a shit about all this climate science that nobody can prove?    

jb411208
jb411208

The temperature has stopped rising.  It is falling a little bit.  All "consensus" climate models have been wrong, every single one of them.  Your comments, Casey, rely 100% on your beliefs that these models, that have proved wrong, are now correctly predicting the future.  You also assume, probably without any relevant knowledge or education, that a warmer average climate regime, if it occurs, will do more harm than good.  

curaecivem
curaecivem

@jberlat1  Like the shareholders are the planet's' only inhabitants? Oh, I forgot, they think they live on Planet Exxon. My bad.

H_e_x
H_e_x

@jb411208Hank Hill: Dale you giblet head, we live in Texas. It's already 110 in the summer, and if it gets one degree hotter I'm gonna kick your ass!

jb411208
jb411208

@casey.michel @jb411208 I used "consensus" advisedly.  You have found one reasonably accurate modeling out of many, many models.  The UN IPCC AR1 and AR2 were "consensus" in the late 1990s.  It was these reports that drove poltics in the 2000s as well as the notorious Year 2035 Melting Himalayan Glaciers prediction that passed many levels of peer review before being published in IPCC AR4.  The most sensational "worst case" models get the most publicity in the mass media and are what what most people, including politicians, believe.  It is likely that there are rigorous models produced by respectable scientists out there that in 1996 predicted much warmer and much colder temperatures than Myles Allen, et al.  2+2=4 is a good model.  Climate models are 3<(2+2)<5.  

casey.michel
casey.michel

@jb411208 @casey.michel And I'll remind you, once more, that I've sufficiently debunked your claims above. Feel free, moreover, to link to any contextualizing or supporting evidence in the future. Your rhetoric's hollow if you stand only on your own, easily falsifiable claims.

jb411208
jb411208

@casey.michel @jb411208  This will conclude our discussion.  Ther term "Guardian reader" in UK implies a person on the far left of the political scale.  It is notorious for its liberal bias.  Like our "Nation" or "Mother Jones" it can be relied on to find and report on the most extreme studies in support of AGW.  It is a perfect example of how AGW extremism drives leftist politics.  I will remind you, regarding your last paragraph, that the Guardian headlnes of a few years age warned that hundreds of millions would die on the Indian subcontinent because all Himalaya glaciers would melt by 2035, according the the UN and Al Gore, two sources they counted as unimpeachable.

casey.michel
casey.michel

@jb411208 @casey.michel You wrote, "'All "consensus" climate models have been wrong, every single one of them.' I selected one of the more recently published pieces to debunk your statement. It wasn't difficult.

Moreover, you noted that "
The temperature has stopped rising.  It is falling a little bit." Since you've failed to link to any sufficient evidence, here's yet another Guardian link bunking your point: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/19/climate-change-meltdown-unlikely-research

As to the "assum[ption]
, probably without any relevant knowledge or education, that a warmer average climate regime, if it occurs, will do more harm than good", well, while we're on such a Guardian kick: http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2013/may/12/climate-change-expert-stern-displacement

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