Anti-fossil fuel shareholder activism

In this issue:

  • Anti-fossil fuel shareholder activism
  • Power Hour: Biden’s climate plan, freedom gas, heat waves, and more
  • The Human Flourishing Project: The wisdom of The Fountainhead (part 1)
  • Scholarships for TOS-Con

Anti-fossil fuel shareholder activism 

Two important shareholder resolutions from anti-fossil fuel activists were voted down last week.

At ExxonMobil, activists backed a measure to create a new board committee to examine “the potential impacts of climate change on business, strategy, financial planning, and the environment.” The committee would have had the authority to review and oversee corporate strategy “above and beyond matters of legal compliance.” Chevron faced a similar measure.

In both cases, the companies opposed the resolutions and the activists lost—winning only 7.4% of votes at Exxon and 8% at Chevron. 

These are just the latest examples of climate-related shareholder activism taking place under the banner of ESG (Environment, Social, Governance) investing. While I’m very glad to see the recent measures at ExxonMobil and Chevron fail, there is still a lot of anti-fossil fuel momentum in the shareholder world.

Over the last year I’ve been working on understanding and countering this activism with several companies. Here’s an outline of my approach. If you’d like the longer whitepaper I’ve written on the subject, just reply to this email with “whitepaper.”

The ESG Threat and What to Do About It

1: One of the leading strategies of the anti-fossil fuel movement is pressuring investors to divest themselves of fossil fuels for moral and economic reasons.

2: The greatest success of this “divestiture” movement so far is harming hydrocarbon valuations by popularizing a narrative that projects a radical decline in oil/gas demand: the “transition to renewables” narrative.

3: According to market surveys this narrative is already causing many investors to negatively revalue oil and gas stocks.

4: To prevent you from challenging the “transition” narrative, the anti-fossil fuel movement is trying to mandate that you endorse it as part of your ESG reporting obligations—which call for negatively biased reporting against your industry.

5: While companies feel compelled to “check the box” on ESG, by doing so in the conventional way they are promoting the “transition” narrative and obligating themselves to reduce future oil/gas development.

6: Fortunately, the ESG push has a giant vulnerability: its disingenuous claim to be concerned with accurate reporting to investors. This gives you the opportunity to agree with the demand for accurate reporting, but to criticize ESG’s bias and to embrace “full-impact” reporting instead.

7: With full-impact reporting as your foundation you can debunk the biased, sloppy “transition” narrative and replace it with an accurate and positive “expansion” narrative.

Power Hour: Biden’s climate plan, freedom gas, heat waves, and more

Once again I was unable to record Power Hour, but my colleagues Don and Steffen stepped in to cover six topics:

Listen to the episode:

The Human Flourishing Project: The wisdom of The Fountainhead (part 1)

On the latest episode of The Human Flourishing Project I discuss what I have learned about the psychology of human flourishing from Ayn Rand’s The Fountainhead.

Scholarships for TOS-Con

If you’re 29 or younger, you might want to apply for a scholarship to a conference I’m speaking at this summer: TOS-Con 2019: Philosophy for Freedom and Flourishing.

The conference will be in beautiful Park City, Utah, August 7–10.

I’ll be speaking on “The Human-Flourishing Framework: A Powerful Tool for Clear Thinking,” and others will be speaking on topics ranging from “How to Create a Career that Makes You Come Alive” to “‘Democratic Socialism’: The Whitewashing of Evil” to “Basic Principles of Fitness Training.” (See the full program at

Scholarships include:

  • Travel expenses (up to $600)
  • Hotel accommodations (4 nights)
  • Tickets to the opening and closing banquets and dance

Applying for a scholarship is quick and easy. Simply email with answers to two questions:

  1. Why do you want to attend TOS-Con 2019?
  2. Which two presentations are you most excited to attend, and why?

You can either write out your answers (300 words max) or make a short video (one minute max). Your choice.

The deadline for applications is June 10, and recipients will be announced on June 15.

I hope you apply for a scholarship—and I hope to see you in Park City for this amazing event!