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Record Breaking Number of Oil Investors Back Climate Resolutions

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Climate-focused shareholders at ExxonMobil and Chevron were building up momentum before the oil giant’s Annual General Meetings (AGMs) yesterday. The investors proposed a number of climate change resolutions that highlighted the need to comply with rules set out by the Paris Agreement. Despite not gaining an overall majority, more shareholders (38.2%) than ever before voted for the changes, which campaigners hope will push the businesses into reviewing their climate risk strategies.

Edward Mason, Head of Responsible Investment for the Church Commissioners said: “We are delighted to have got the highest ever vote for a climate change proposal at an ExxonMobil AGM. This is a very significant shareholder revolt on climate change at Exxon.

“Considering the scale of this vote, we urge Exxon to sit down urgently with its investors to agree the reporting it will provide on the risk that climate change policy poses to its business. Following the Paris Agreement the time for climate risk reporting has well and truly arrived and the investor call for it is clear. It will not go away.”

Andrew Logan, Director of Oil & Gas Program, Ceres said: “Today’s strong votes at Exxon and Chevron send a powerful message that investors see climate change as a material financial risk, which underscores the ongoing momentum post-Paris and urgency to prepare for a low-carbon transition. Heading into the meeting, investors managing more than $10 trillion in assets voiced their support for these resolutions, placing substantial pressure on the boards of these companies to change direction as the world moves toward a low-carbon future.

“Given the significant resources Exxon spent fighting this proposal, such a strong vote is a real rebuke to company management. Investors have sent a clear message that meaningful 2˚C stress testing is the new normal, and companies like Exxon and Chevron can no longer act as if nothing has changed.

“Moving forward, investors expect Exxon and Chevron to come to the table and collaborate to prepare meaningful disclosures to assess the risks and opportunities presented by the energy transition.”

Paul Simpson, CDP’s chief executive officer at CDP said: “We congratulate the institutional investors – many of whom are CDP investor signatories – that spearheaded this resolution. They have put out the message loud and clear: climate change poses clear financial risks, and investors require better disclosure to be able to price those risks. The adoption of the Paris Agreement confirms that a transition to a low-carbon and sustainable economy is inevitable.

“Whilst the resolution did not gain a majority, ExxonMobil still has a clear duty to show its investors through improved disclosure how it will prepare for a transition to a below 2˚C economy. Our analysis shows that the companies which acknowledge, prepare for and tackle climate risks will be the ones that thrive in a transition to a low-carbon future.

“Now the ball is firmly in ExxonMobil’s court – the time has come for it to redefine its role in the global energy transition.” 

Rob Schuwerk, Senior Counsel for Carbon Tracker said: “An unprecedented number of Exxon’s shareholders have demanded that it analyse how a 2˚C transition will impact its business. Exxon must now meet this demand or confront a more wary investor class next year.” 

James Leaton, Research Director at Carbon Tracker said: “More of Exxon’s shareholders than ever decided to override board recommendations and demand 2˚C stress-testing.  The rest of the world is considering meeting the climate target and Exxon should join them by reporting on how its business model is impacted by that goal.” 

More than 15,000 people from 47 countries used Vote Your Pension to urge their pension providers to support the climate resolutions at the ExxonMobil and Chevron AGMs, contacting more than 1000 funds. The largest global shareholder engagement campaign is jointly run by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project, SumofUs and ShareAction. They welcomed the overall majority at yesterday’s AGMs.

Julian Poulter, CEO of Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP) said: “This is the beginning of the end for Exxon’s oil based strategy. Many of the world’s biggest investors have sent a clear message to Big Oil that they want a 2˚C business plan that shows how companies will deliver shareholder value in the transition to a low-carbon economy. The board must listen and take action or lose the confidence of shareholders.

“This is good news for the millions of ordinary people who own Exxon shares through their retirement savings. Exxon’s current business strategy risks either calamitous climate change or huge losses in value if global climate change action leaves it with huge reserves of oil and gas that cannot be burned. But it can still prosper in the low-carbon transition by turning itself into a diversified energy company.”

Catherine Howarth, Chief Executive of ShareAction said: “Exxon shareholders have spoken loud and clear: the company must do more to demonstrate its ability to transition its business for a 2˚C world. This vote demonstrates that the tide is turning on big oil; in order to retain the trust of shareholders and the public alike, Exxon must urgently adjust its business model for a low carbon future.”

Liz McDowell, Campaigns Director at SumOfUs: “Pension fund managers can no longer expect the individuals whose pay cheque deductions pay their salaries to sit quietly by while they support the status quo of accelerating climate change and wealth inequality.  New digital platforms like SumOfUs and VoteYourPension are facilitating the interaction of members with their pension funds on a scale never seen before. 

“Our members around the world are engaged and paying attention to how their funds are voting at Exxon and Chevron, because it’s their money and it should be their voice. More than 15,000 of our members contacted their funds to ask them to vote in favour of these resolutions, showing that they’ve struck a nerve.” 

Alex Scott, from Positive+Investment said: “It is heartening to see such a dramatic increase in support for these sorts of resolutions in such a short time, and it’s clear that COP21 in Paris has changed the conversation fundamentally.  It’s also important to remember that there are many employees of Exxon and Chevron who want to see a just transition to a low-carbon economy, and who want these companies to play a constructive role in that shift; we hope that they view these results as a cause for optimism as they work on the side of so many shareholders.”

David H. Zellner, Chief Investment Officer at Wespath who are co-filers of Chevron stress test resolution, said: “The energy sector must transition to renewable energy sources if we have any hope of mitigating the risks of climate change. Our resolution asks Chevron to conduct “stress tests” on its business of plausible scenarios resulting from shifting demand for fossil fuels and the impact of carbon taxes.  As investors, we need assurance that Chevron is strategically positioned for the transition to a low-carbon economy.”

Environment

Extra-Mile Water Conservation Efforts Amidst Shortage

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water conserving

While some states are literally flooding due to heavy rains and run-off, others are struggling to get the moisture they need. States like Arizona and California have faced water emergencies for the last few years; water conserving efforts from citizens help keep them out of trouble.

If your area is experiencing a water shortage, there are a few things you can do to go the extra mile.

Repair and Maintain Appliances

Leaks around the house – think showerheads, toilets, dishwashers, and more – lead to wasted water. Beyond that, the constant flow of water will cause water damage to your floors and walls. Have repairs done as soon as you spot any problems.

Sometimes, a leak won’t be evident until it gets bad. For that reason, make appointments to have your appliances inspected and maintained at least once per year. This will extend the life of each machine as well as nip water loss in the bud.

When your appliances are beyond repair, look into Energy Star rated replacements. They’re designed to use the least amount of water and energy possible, without compromising on effectiveness.

Only Run Dishwasher and Washer When Full

It might be easier to do a load of laundry a day rather than doing it once per week, but you’ll waste a lot more water this way. Save up your piles of clothes until you have enough to fully load the washing machine. You could also invest in a washing machine that senses the volume of water needed according to the volume of clothes.

The same thing goes with the dishwasher. Don’t push start until you’ve filled it to capacity. If you have to wash dishes, don’t run the water while you’re washing. Fill the sink or a small bowl a quarter of the way full and use this to wash your dishes.

Recycle Water in Your Yard

Growing a garden in your backyard is a great way to cut down on energy and water waste from food growers and manufacturers, but it will require a lot more water on your part. Gardens must be watered, and this often leads to waste.

You can reduce this waste by participating in water recycling. Using things like a rain barrel, pebble filtering system, and other tools, you can save thousands of gallons a year and still keep your landscaping and garden beautiful and healthy.

Landscape with Drought-Resistant Plants

Recycling water in your yard is a great way to reduce your usage, but you can do even more by reducing the amount of water required to keep your yard looking great. The best drought-resistant plants are those that are native to the area. In California, for example, succulents grow very well, and varieties of cactus do well in states like Arizona or Texas.

Install Water-Saving Features

The average American household uses between 80 and 100 gallons of water every single day. You obviously can’t cut out things like showering or using the toilet, but you can install a few water-saving tools to make your water use more efficient.

There are low-flow showerheads, toilets, and faucet aerators. You could also use automatic shut-off nozzles, shower timers, and grey water diverters. Any of these water saving devices can easily cut your water usage in half.

Research Laws and Ordinances for Your City

Dry states like California, Arizona, New Mexico, and Nevada must create certain laws to keep the water from running out. These laws are put into practice for the benefit of everyone, but they only work if you abide by the laws.

If you live in a state where drought is common, research your state and city’s laws. They might designate one day per week that you’re allowed to water your lawn or how full you can fill a pool. Many people are not well versed in the laws set by their states, and it would mean a lot to your community if you did your part.

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Environment

Cyprus is the Forerunner for Ecotourism

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When I was looking for a second citizenship, I happened to see One Visa’s offer on Cyprus Citizenship by investment program. I had heard about Cyprus being a beautiful country, but I did not know much else, so I decided to start my own research about this gem of a place.

After I did some research, I discovered that Cyprus is a popular destination for tourists. Unfortunately, heavy tourism and the associated development affected villages here and there, with some communities being slowly abandoned. To avoid this from happening any further, Cyprus went into ecotourism, and today, it is the forerunner in this arena. Let’s look in further detail at ecotourism in Cyprus here.

How was it started?

It all started in 2006 with the launch of the “Cyprus Sustainable Tourism Initiative.” This program has the sole scope of promoting ecotourism developments in the tourism industry. It concentrates on those areas which require conservation and environmental safety. At the same time, it helps develop social, as well as economic statuses in the rural parts of Cyprus. Through this program, the government was able to acknowledge that ecotourism will play an essential role in the future of Cyprus, with the concept gaining momentum among tourists from all over the globe.

How to go about it?

So, now you are interested in going for an ecotourism vacation in Cyprus. How will you go about it? I would immediately say that everyone should visit the quaint Cypriot villages spread throughout the island. These communities have a smaller population, and not many tourists visit. They make for a great relaxing spot. Enjoy seeing the bustle of village life go by where simple pleasures abound. Most hamlets are linked by specific minibus tours which ferry tourists to these havens. These trips will have a regular schedule, aimed at promoting ecotourism further. Such tours will be regulated to ensure that while the villages can benefit and develop, they do not get overpopulated or overcrowded with tourists. Therefore, you can be sure to enjoy the beautiful sceneries that nature has to offer here.

If you are wondering if there are any activities to do here, my answer would be: “Yes, plenty.” You can go for some guided walks across various regions here. Here you will be able to explore the diversified natural beauty and wildlife of the area. Several agritourism activities and services are planned to open shortly. Once launched, you will be able to engage in picking olives, milking goats, and several other such events here.

What can be learned?

Although we are aware that natural resources need to be preserved, we do not always remember it in real life. When we go on tours such as these, we can realize the significance of protecting nature. Also, when more and more people visit these places, the concept of ecotourism will become popular among more people. Awareness about ecotourism is set to grow and spread throughout the world. Subsequently, sustainable tourism will gain popularity around the globe with Cyprus being the forerunner for ecotourism .

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