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Exxon’s climate future showdown has arrived

Exxon’s annual meeting on Wednesday will bring together the most followed shareholder votes on global warming in Big Oil history.Driving the news: Investor activists Engine No. 1 have named four board members who would seek to make Exxon more aggressive on the climate. the latest market trends and economic outlook with Axios Markets. The # 1 engine’s backers include huge public pension funds in California and New York state, and influential proxy advisory firm, Institutional Shareholder Services, recommends shareholders back it up . to thrive in a low carbon world. The group says Exxon needs a more disciplined approach to capital investment around oil and gas. Why it matters: This is the most high-profile effort by activist investors to force oil majors to diversify more quickly from their dominant commodities. It is also a fight over how Exxon, the one of the most powerful companies in the world, should look to the future after years of difficult financial performance. The other side: Exxon management opposes the slate. The company says it is in step with the changing energy mix, citing an increasing emphasis on carbon capture, hydrogen and biofuels. Exxon also says its adjusted capital strategy will deliver strong returns in oil and gas. gas, which she says will remain huge markets for decades despite carbon-based energy growth. Darren Woods, CEO, told the Washington Post that the No. 1 driver “has been very focused on what I would say are perceptions of the past.” The storyline: Exxon’s stock price rebound over the past six months could strengthen management. But a new wild card emerged last week: According to an analysis by the International Energy Agency, a path to net zero emissions in 2050 means that no new oil and gas fields would be approved for development ( investment in existing fields would continue). “This gives a fund manager additional cover to justify voting against management, cover that is not provided by a call to arms from Greenpeace or the Sierra Club,” writes Liam Denning of Bloomberg. with Axios Markets. Subscribe for free

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