Shareholder Activists’ Scare Tactics
Religion & Liberty Online

Shareholder Activists’ Scare Tactics

Global warming alarmists at the U.S. Department of Energy are seeking to harsh Halloween’s mellow this year. The DOE’s website this week features stories on costuming children as solar panels and methane emissions from rotting jack-o’-lanterns contributing to climate change.

I’m not kidding. It seems there’s no limit to the scarifying lengths some will go in their predictions for climate catastrophe. For example, Ceres – an organization that “mobilizes a powerful network of investors, companies and public interest groups to accelerate and expand the adoption of sustainable business practices and solutions to build a healthy global economy” – is attempting to unite its extensive member roster behind its efforts to force companies in which they invest to report on greenhouse gas emissions. Writing in Institutional Investor, Ceres President Mindy Lubber warns failure in this effort will resort in a plague of weather events as bad as or worse than Hurricane Sandy without once mentioning the number and intensity of hurricanes have both declined since the late 1970s. Nor does she make any compelling connection between Sandy’s rampage and her dire predictions for our planet.

Ceres includes among its members many religious-based groups, shareholder activists and even entire denominations, including As You Sow, Calvert Asset Management Company, Inc., Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, Episcopal Ecological Network, Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, Mercy Investment Services, Inc., Presbyterian Church (USA), Trillium Asset Management, Unitarian Universalist Association of Congregations, United Methodist Church General Board of Pension and Health Benefits and Walden Asset Management. Oh, yes, and I almost forgot to mention many, many labor unions and far-left activist groups such as Natural Resources Defense Council and the Sierra Club are also members. US SIF: The Forum for Sustainable and Responsible Investment also partners with Ceres, and includes many of the same religious groups listed above.

Confused? This serves as background for readers as to the size, power and organizational complexity of the religious shareholder universe. It’s big … scary big.

Robert Kropp, writing this past week for SocialFunds’ Sustainability Investment News, reports the Union of Concerned Scientists, a group promoting big-government solutions and corporate and investor sacrifices in order to mitigate what they claim is imminent catastrophic climate change caused by human activity, issued a letter demanding oil and gas companies bow to such activist demands as:

severing ‘financial ties to advocacy groups and trade associations that spread disinformation on climate science and politicians who oppose climate policies.’ None of the issues raised by UCS [Union of Concerned Scientists] were specifically addressed in the OGCI [Oil & Gas Climate Initiative] statement.

Rejecting the opportunity to join his European counterparts, Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson told reporters, ‘We’re not going to be disingenuous about it. We’re not going to fake it.’ Instead, Tillerson took the opportunity to once again question the accuracy of current climate models, stating that they ‘just aren’t that good.’

Tillerson’s remarks came after Exxon’s annual general meeting in May, where shareowners such as Sister Pat Daly of the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility (ICCR) challenged the company on its inaction.

‘Investors have shifted,’ Sister Daly said. ‘We need to walk away from the Paris climate negotiations in December with a treaty that will lead us in a sustainable direction.’

Confused? Yes, despite enjoying status as a member of a massive organization of coordinated, likeminded, climate-change activist groups, Sr. Daly is allowed to pretend she’s David confronting Exxon’s Goliath when nothing could be further from the truth.

Additionally, as I’ve questioned time and again, exactly when will Sr. Daly, ICCR, As You Sow and the combined Ceres and US SIF membership leftist activists behind them drop the charade they’re working in the best interests of the companies and fellow shareholders under the guise of “sustainability” all the while attempting to silence all “advocacy groups and trade associations” as well as lobbyists opposing them? I’m not one who ordinarily defaults to conspiracy theories, but you have to admit this all seems a little creepy.

Bruce Edward Walker

has more than 30 years’ writing and editing experience in a variety of publishing areas, including reference books, newspapers, magazines, media relations and corporate speeches. Much of this material involved research on water rights, land use, alternative-technology vehicles and other environmental issues, but Walker has also written extensively on nonscientific subjects, having produced six titles in Wiley Publishing’s CliffsNotes series, including study guides for "Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest." He has also authored more than 100 critical biographies of authors and musicians for Gale Research's Contemporary Literary Criticism and Contemporary Musicians reference-book series. He was managing editor of The Heartland Institute's InfoTech & Telecom News from 2010-2012. Prior to that, he was manager of communications for the Mackinac Center's Property Rights Network. He also served from 2006-2011 as editor of Michigan Science, a quarterly Mackinac Center publication. Walker has served as an adjunct professor of literature and academic writing at University of Detroit Mercy. For the past five years, he has authored a weekly column for the mid-Michigan Morning Sun newspaper. Walker holds a bachelor’s degree in English from Michigan State University. He is the father of two daughters and currently lives in Flint, Mich., with his wife Katherine.