NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


October 28, 2004

Global warming activists have not given up on creating a socialist global economy through controls on energy use. They are taking their grievances and scare tactics to the corporate boardrooms of America, says author Steven Milloy.

By becoming shareholders of publicly-owned companies and pushing for changes in corporate disclosure and SEC rules, activist-shareholders are attempting to steer corporate policy:

  • American Electric Power will now report on the risks of its greenhouse gas emissions and the steps they are taking to reduce them.
  • Cinergy Corporation, a coal-burning utility, caved to demands from church and state pension funds to report on its green-house gas emissions.
  • About 40 large companies support the Pew Center on Global Climate Change.
  • The Carbon Disclosure Project, consisting of 87 investors managing $9 trillion in assets, is asking 500 large companies to start disclosing their ?carbon risks? and the plans they have for reducing greenhouse gases.

Moreover, activist-shareholders filed resolutions with over 25 companies in 2003, urging them to reduce greenhouse gases. While none of the resolutions passed, many of them were significantly supported by shareholders with tallies as high as 32 percent.

Activists are also pressuring the SEC to allow for "cumulative voting," whereby minority shareholders can elect members of boards of directors by throwing multiple votes toward one or more candidates. The idea is to get their own "green" members elected to push through more activist policies. Corporations seem unaware of what is going on; the majority of the 690 public comments regarding the SEC rule change were from activists supporting the proposal -- only ten were from corporations or corporate executives.

Source: Steven Milloy, "Global Warming Extremists Use Shareholder Actions to Pressure Corporations," Environment and Climate News, August 2004, Heartland Institute.


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