ExxonMobil took it on the chin as it suffered stinging defeats at the hands of radical climate activists during its annual shareholders meeting yesterday.

Efforts by the green hedge fund “Engine No. 1” to infiltrate Exxon’s Board of Directors succeeded when two of the outfit’s activist candidates, Gregory Goff and Kaisa Hietala, defeated standing Exxon board members. The hedge has been haranguing Exxon to get on board the “green energy” bandwagon and away from fossil fuels to fight global warming.

Of the 10 resolutions put forward at the meeting, nearly half had at least tangentially to do with climate, including ones to force the company to report on lobbying, and on “environmental lobbying” in particular. Most of these passed despite leadership opposition.

For its part, CFACT had a front row seat to the Exxon theatrics. Committee representatives participated in the annual shareholders meeting along with its allies from the National Center for Public Policy Research and JunkScience.com. These three free market allies banded together to attempt to inject a point of view that contrasted sharply with those seeking to pull the corporate giant further to the Left.

Steve Milloy, a close ally and good friend of CFACT who heads Junkscience.com, delivered a passionate and well-reasoned comment to the board urging passage of a resolution he authored calling for the disclosure the true costs of emissions cuts and climate hysteria. Said Milloy:

This year I proposed that Exxon push back on climate idiocy by disclosing the actual costs and benefits of cutting emissions. The costs of emissions cuts, you see, are very high and the benefits are zero. But the ever-obtuse [Exxon Chairman] Mr. Woods refuses to acknowledge these realities. Instead, he fantasizes about appeasing the crazed political radicals who are the mortal enemies of us genuine shareholders.

Despite support from CFACT and NCPPR, Milloy’s proposal unfortunately did not pass.

Just prior to the meeting, Exxon leadership sought to assuage Green activists by promising to put a “climate expert” on its Board, no doubt hoping this gesture would help fend off the “Engine No. 1” infiltrators.

It didn’t work.

The pathetic overture did, however, prompt CFACT to challenge their appeasement-minded approach. I submitted a question during the Q&A session asking to know, “Why is ExxonMobil choosing to put a climate activist on the Board to appease green activists who want to see the company’s long-term profitability diminish?”

With at least two new members on its board certain to champion the Green cause, Exxon will almost certainly have tough times ahead. The company lost a record $22 billion last year, and likely will lose more unless it decides to fight back.

CFACT of course will be there, along with its allies, pressuring the company to take a stand. At some point, Exxon leaders need to understand there is no achieving “Peace in our Time” with a Green adversary so vicious. The question is, will the company’s top brass find it in them to toss its Chamberlains and put in some Churchill’s?


  • Craig Rucker is a co-founder of CFACT and currently serves as its president.