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Exxon Triumphs Over Activists

On shareholder proposals, ex-Tesla employees, and extra-hot days.

Sunrise over a field.


Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

Current conditions:More than 400,000 households are currently without power in storm-battered Texas and the southern Plains • Southeast Louisiana tied a century-old temperature record on Memorial Day, recording a high of 98 degrees Fahrenheit in Baton Rouge • India may have broken its own heat record with a preliminary reading of about 126 degrees Fahrenheit near New Delhi.


1. Exxon board members clinch reelection

ExxonMobil Chairman Darren Woods and Lead Director Joseph Hooley easily won reelection at the company’s annual general meeting on Wednesday, neutralizing a threatened shareholder uprising over its climate policies. Several major pension funds said ahead of the meeting that they would vote to remove most of Exxon’s board after the company sued activist shareholders pushing for stronger emissions reduction targets. Though most of its petrochemical peers have similar targets, the company argued that the activists’ true goal was to “interfere with ExxonMobil’s business and to promote their own interests over those of ExxonMobil’s shareholders.”

The resistance effort “amounted to a test of whether top fund firms would rally to defend the small shareholders whose resolutions have put topics like the environment and workforce diversity at the center of many corporate annual meetings,” Reuters said. “Wednesday’s results suggested the answer was no.” All 12 of Exxon’s director nominees received between 87% and 98% support at the meeting, the company reported. The activists, meanwhile, withdrew their proposal in February, but Exxon is still pursuing the matter in court.

2. EV charging companies hire former Tesla employees

The U.S. electric vehicle sector is snapping up Tesla employees who were laid off when the company gutted its charging team last month. Atlanta-based charging provider EnviroSpark Energy Solutions has hired a dozen of them, E&E News reported, while other charging companies have landed high-profile hires let go by Tesla or are in talks to do so. “It does present an awesome opportunity for other charging operators like us to fill in the gap,” David Jankowsky, CEO of Francis Energy, told E&E News. There is still some trepidation, however, over how Tesla’s tribulations could affect the broader industry’s future. Despite its poor recent performance, Tesla still dominates the U.S. EV market, so a dip in consumer confidence could have negative ripple effects on EV uptake.

3. Rich countries meet $100 billion aid target two years late

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development announced Wednesday that the world’s rich countries had met their goal of delivering $100 billion in annual climate finance to poorer countries in 2022 — two years after their self-imposed deadline, the group said. The 2020 target was first set at the 2009 United Nations climate change conference in Copenhagen, and the delay in meeting it had strained recent climate talks. Developed countries came up with $115.9 billion in climate finance in 2022, OECD data shows, an increase of 30% from 2021. That’s the biggest year-on-year jump so far. “Exceeding this annual commitment materially by more than 15% is an important and symbolic achievement which goes some way towards making up for the two-year delay, which should help build trust,” OECD Secretary-General Mathias Cormann said in a statement.

Climate advocates warned, however, that achieving this aim is not an end point in itself. Transitioning to clean energy and adapting to new climate realities are both expensive processes. “While domestic finance, strong policies and private finance are important, for these countries, international public finance needs to play a lynchpin role,” Melanie Robinson, global climate, economics and finance director at the World Resources Institute, said in a statement. Discussions about setting a new climate finance goal will be a centerpiece of COP29 in Azerbaijan.

4. An IRA rebate roll-out

New York will be the first state to launch home energy rebates created by the Inflation Reduction Act, the Biden administration announced Thursday. The initial phase of New York’s $158 million rebate program will be aimed at single-family homes and multifamily properties with up to four units, while later phases will expand to larger buildings and retailers. It will provide up to $14,000 per housing unit for upgrades such as better insulation, heat pumps, and heat pump water heaters. A separate, $159 million IRA home efficiency rebate program is expected to follow. Massachusetts, Michigan and Rhode Island have all applied for the funding to establish their own home energy rebate programs under the IRA — a process that’s turned out to be messier than some had hoped, according to Heatmap’s Emily Pontecorvo.

5. Study: Extra-hot days are on the rise

The average American experienced 20 more extra-hot days over the past year than would have been expected without climate change, a new scientific analysis found. Globally, the average person experienced 26 more extra-hot days due to climate change, while in a few countries, that number exceeded 120, according to the report by Climate Central, the Red Cross Red Crescent Climate Centre, and World Weather Attribution. The researchers considered temperatures abnormal when they exceeded 90% of a location’s daily readings recorded between 1991 and 2020. Americans experienced 39 such days in total over the last 12 months. Almost 80% of the world’s population experienced 31 or more.

Manila residents swelter during a May heat wave. Manila residents swelter during a May heat wave. Ezra Acayan/Getty Images


The National Weather Service issued its first-ever warning for hail the size of a DVD — that is, a diameter of approximately 5 inches — in northern Texas on Tuesday.

Nicole Pollack profile image

Nicole Pollack

Nicole Pollack is a freelance environmental journalist who writes about energy, agriculture, and climate change. She is based in Northeast Ohio.


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A nuclear power plant.
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Green energy and money details.
Heatmap Illustration/Getty Images

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