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Energy Targeted by Environmentalist Investors

Environmentalist investors named nine companies to a "Climate Watch List" and said they are lagging their peers when it comes to addressing climate change. Seven of the nine are in the energy industry.

According to the Ceres investor coalition and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, the offenders are:

"Companies in every industry, especially energy sectors, must assess and mitigate climate change risks," said New York City Comptroller William Thompson Jr., whose office oversees $115 billion in pension fund assets and filed resolutions with electric power and coal companies. "Investors require full and transparent disclosure of the actions companies are taking to address the risks and opportunities of climate change, so that they can make informed investment decisions."

Chevron was named to the list for its extensive investments in Alberta' oilsands and for resisting shareholder requests to disclose potential financial risks associated with the project that encompasses millions of acres, the groups said.

The New York City Pension Funds filed a resolution with Consol Energy requesting a report on how the company is responding to regulatory and competitive pressure to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

ExxonMobil has been unresponsive to investor requests for a decade regarding strategies intended to meet growing demand for diversified clean energy sources, the groups said. Four climate resolutions were filed this year. The company also has been the target of multiple attempts by the Rockefeller family to get it to reduce GHG emissions (see NGI, June 2, 2008). John D. Rockefeller was the founder of Standard Oil, a predecessor company to ExxonMobil. The latest attempt, launched last week, seeks to force the company to assess the impact on climate change were it to become a leader in renewable energy.

Massey Energy continues to resist shareholder resolutions requesting the company develop and disclose a strategy for responding to climate change, the groups said.Canadian Natural Resources has refused to meet with investors on the issue of climate change, and, unlike other oil companies, it has not made any renewable energy investments, the groups said.

Southern Company emits more than 160 million tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year and has balked at shareholder resolutions the past several years asking it to set GHG reduction targets, the groups said.

Ultra Petroleum has resisted shareholder requests the past three years to disclose its strategies for addressing climate change, despite relatively strong shareholder voting support, the groups said.

Additionally, in the energy sector climate change resolutions were filed with coal companies Alpha Natural Resources, Foundation Coal and International Coal; electric power providers Dominion, Dynegy, Idacorp, Mirant and NV Energy; and oil and gas companies ConocoPhillips, Halliburton, Noble Energy, Oneok, Range Resources, South Jersey Industries and Spectra Energy.

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