ExxonMobil set the climate alarm lobby afire last week when it filed a lawsuit against a pair of activist investor groups challenging manifestly frivolous shareholder initiatives which they hope to bring up at the company’s impending annual meeting in May. The suit was filed in a Texas court January 21 against Massachusetts-based investment firm Arjuna Capital and Amsterdam-based investor group Follow This.
Reports filed by the AP, Reuters, CNBC and other legacy media sites warned that a win by Exxon in the lawsuit could have a “chilling effect” on the bringing of other climate alarm and ESG-related initiatives in the future. The reasoning supporting that claim seems somewhat specious, given that Exxon’s complaint is based on the fact that initiatives virtually identical to the ones sought by Arjuna and Follow This have been brought repeatedly in prior years and were resoundingly rejected in shareholder votes. Raising them again this year is an obvious waste of time and resources and amounts to little more than harassment.
These specific questions, in other words, have been asked and answered several times, leaving little point in raising them again just for the sake of raising them. That hardly would mean that a favorable decision for ExxonMobil in this lawsuit would chill activist investors from raising other, valid questions in the future, but that is the narrative the alarmist lobby and their supportive media have settled on.