© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: The Occidental Petroleum Corp headquarters is pictured in Los Angeles, California September 16, 2013. REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni/File Photo
By Sabrina Valle
HOUSTON (Reuters) – Occidental Petroleum Corp (NYSE:) shareholders on Friday voted against a proposal by activist investor group Follow This to extend the company’s current carbon emissions reduction targets.
More than 80% of shareholders backed the board’s recommendation to keep current commitments set by the U.S. oil and chemical producer, during the company’s annual meeting on Friday.
Oil majors have been facing pressure from shareholders to cut carbon emissions to meet Paris Agreement climate goals that aim to limit global warming to below 2 degrees Celsius. Friday’s vote signals investors are not willing to commit to proposals they believe could hurt business.
Chief Executive Vicki Hollub said the two sides have a “fundamental disagreement on what it means to be Paris aligned.”
Follow This, a Dutch climate activist, wanted Occidental to disclose quantitative short-, medium- and long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets consistent with the Paris Agreement.
The group’s founder, Mark van Baal, said oil companies need to cut emissions by 40% and that Occidental’s existing commitments do not guarantee that.
Occidental’s board told investors it believes the company is already committed to Paris goals, and to reaching net zero emissions by 2050, with 14 metrics aimed at curbing emissions from its operations and products.
Occidental is betting on carbon sequestration and direct air capture technologies to offset emissions from its oil, gas and chemical operations. It also has set targets to mitigate emissions from its products.