Oil company shareholders reject environmentalist plan for them to go out of business

Big Oil investors voted to continue doing the thing that has defined the industry since the 19th century: drilling for crude.

Shareholders of Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. overwhelmingly rejected resolutions backed by environmental activists on Wednesday that would have curtailed exploration for new oil fields and funneled the money to investors in the form of higher dividends and share buybacks.

The “no" votes reached 96 percent at both companies, where other climate-related proposals also failed. Environmental critics as diverse as state pension funds and Roman Catholic religious orders said future climate rules will soon make it unprofitable for Exxon and Chevron to harvest their reserves. The companies countered that there doesn’t yet exist a renewable fuel that can replace gasoline or diesel, and that demand for petroleum-based fuels will grow for decades, even if carbon limits are imposed.

“We need technological breakthroughs but until we have those, just saying ‘turn the taps off’ is unacceptable to humanity,” Exxon Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Rex Tillerson said during the company’s gathering in a Dallas symphony hall. “There is no alternative fuel known in the world that can replace the pervasiveness of fossil fuels.”
The alternatives that are available are inefficient, inadequate, and expensive.  In some areas, there are no alternatives at all.  The petrochemical business uses natural gas to make plastics and fertilizer among other things.  You can't make either with wind or solar sources.  Wind and solar are also not practical for making steel and aluminum.  In other words, transportation vehicles cannot be made using alternative energy, even if you had adequate batteries to fuel them.


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