Santos challenged on climate at AGM

Santos challenged on climate at AGM

Media comment
May 2 2019

This morning at Santos’ AGM in Adelaide, representatives from the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR) asked the Santos chair questions about:

  • the contradiction between its promises about gas displacing coal on one hand and its refusal to consider Scope 3 emissions on the other;
  • concerns about the company becoming uninvestable after Norges Bank Investment Management put it on its divestment list, due to Santos having no decarbonisation/transition strategy;
  • whether the company agreed with APPEA’s advocacy for Kyoto carryover credits to be used in calculating Australia’s national emissions reductions target

ACCR also asked Santos directors up for re-election the following questions:

  • To Mr Goh: ‘oil and gas is in your blood,’ as you say, and you have been in this industry for a long time. What has changed about your understanding of oil and gas and how the industry affects the planet? Can you give an example of how you have steered the company through a transition comparable to the one this company now faces?
  • To Mr Hearl: What is your understanding of the difference in the planet’s atmosphere during your grandchildren’s lifetimes, at 1.5, 2 and 3 degrees? Are you saying that CCS, a technology which is not presently commercially deployable at scale, is necessary for this business to be viable at 2050?

Brynn O’Brien, Executive Director of the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, said:

“ACCR has engaged with Santos and has monitored its plans over several years. Unlike major European oil and gas companies, Santos has made no credible commitment to decarbonisation of its business model, and has failed to provide its shareholders with even a rudimentary timeline for coming to grips with this pressing challenge.

“Santos’ claims about its ‘aspirational target’ of net zero emissions by 2050 should not be given any credence by shareholders until they are backed up with action. The fact is that Santos has taken no action at all to reposition itself for a life beyond fossil fuels. It would need to do this to have any hope of fulfilling its aspiration.

“Curiously, Santos continues to promise its shareholders that the use of its products will reduce emissions. The burning of gas, like any other fossil fuel, involves substantial carbon emissions. Santos is basing its promise on a wing and a prayer that its customers will displace coal with gas, and that this will result in material emissions reductions in line with the Paris Agreement. This is pure speculation and not grounded in any evidence. Further, it misunderstands how the Paris Agreement is intended to operate.

“It is also the ultimate exercise in buck-passing. Santos cannot hold this position about the use of its products on one hand and refuse to acknowledge Scope 3 emissions (emissions from its products) as its problem on the other. These two positions are inherently contradictory.

“Today ACCR asked Santos if they believed APPEA’s advocacy for Kyoto credit carryover was consistent with Santos’ own policy positions, and while the chair didn’t have a ‘company answer’ ready to go, he stopped short of defending APPEA’s position. Santos needs to stop being coy, and clarify whether or not APPEA’s advocacy serves the interests of its shareholders.”

Media contact: Brynn O’Brien, 0423 951 316

ACCR are also attending the Woodside Petroleum AGM this afternoon in Perth at 2pm (AWST), and challenging the company on the same issues. You can watch the Woodside AGM at: https://webcast.openbriefing.com/5174/index.php. For media comment on Woodside, contact Dan Gocher, ACCR’s Director of Climate and Environment, on 0410 550 337.


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