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Extinction Rebellion climate activists protest on Wall Street in October. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

A pair of events over the past few days offers a preview of upcoming investor efforts to push some of the world's largest companies to get more active on global warming.

Why it matters: Shareholder pressure is becoming an increasingly important driver of corporate decision-making at a time when national governments' political will on climate is uneven at best.

Driving the news, part 1: As we wrote yesterday, banking giant Goldman Sachs says it won't directly finance Arctic oil exploration or new coal-fired power plants anywhere, among other revisions to its climate policies.

  • Environmentalists say Goldman should go further, but nonetheless say this is at least more aggressive than any other U.S. bank.
  • What's next: Look for activist shareholders and environmentalists to use Goldman's move as a way to enhance pressure on other big U.S.-based banks. That's the word I got when I touched base yesterday with two groups active in this space: Ceres and As You Sow.
  • Ceres' Dan Saccardi points out that banks pay close attention to their peers. "We'll continue to use leading peer action, such as Goldman's most recent policy, along with investor and other stakeholder input, to help them align with the level of ambition needed to meet the Paris Agreement."
  • As You Sow's Danielle Fugere notes that while Goldman's action is one "important indicator" of progress, they will be looking for all U.S. banks"to measure, monitor, set targets for, and to begin reducing their financed carbon emissions in line with Paris goals."

Driving the news, part 2: Shareholder efforts to push Big Oil to significantly bolster its climate commitments to align with the Paris climate agreement in 2020 are coming into focus.

  • Follow This, a European shareholder group, is expanding its climate-focused resolution effort to include U.S.-based major ExxonMobil and Chevron, in addition to BP, Shell and Equinor.
  • The resolutions announced this week include a push for targets for so-called Scope 3 emissions, that is, CO2 emitted from use of the companies' products in the economy. Reuters has more.
  • Separately, a coalition of As You Sow, the Church of England's investment managers and others yesterday announced shareholder resolutions targeting Exxon and Chevron.

What we're watching: It'll be interesting to see which of these might up for a vote, given the ability of U.S. companies to petition to the Securities and Exchange Commission to thwart them.

Go deeper:

Go deeper

5 hours ago - Health

FDA advisory panel recommends Pfizer boosters for those 65 and older

A healthcare worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine at the Key Biscayne Community Center on Aug. 24, 2021. Photo: Eva Marie Uzcategui/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A key Food and Drug Administration advisory panel on Friday overwhelmingly voted against recommending Pfizer vaccine booster shots for younger Americans, but unanimously recommended approving the third shots for individuals 65 and older, as well as those at high-risk of severe COVID-19.

Why it matters: While the votes are non-binding, and the FDA must still make a final decision, Friday's move pours cold water on the Biden administration's plan to begin administering boosters to most individuals who received the Pfizer vaccine later this month.

5 hours ago - World

France recalls ambassadors from U.S. and Australia over submarine deal

Secretary of State Antony Blinken (L), French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (C), and French ambassador to the U.S. Philippe Etienne. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

France has taken the extraordinary step of recalling its ambassadors to the U.S. and Australia after both countries blindsided their French allies with a new military pact and submarine contract, the French Foreign Ministry announced on Friday.

The backstory: While sealing an agreement with the U.S. and U.K. to acquire nuclear submarines, Australia ripped up an existing $90 billion submarine deal with France. That led senior French officials to accuse the U.S. of a "stab in the back."

Updated 6 hours ago - World

In reversal, Pentagon now says drone strike killed 10 Afghan civilians

Caskets for the dead are carried towards the gravesite as relatives and friends attend a mass funeral for members of a family that is said to have been killed in a U.S. drone airstrike, in Kabul on Aug. 30. Photo: Marcus Yam/Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

A U.S. drone strike launched on Aug. 29 killed 10 civilians in Afghanistan, including seven children, rather than the Islamic State extremists the Biden administration claimed it targeted, the Pentagon said Friday.

Why it matters: U.S. Central Command said at the time that officials "know" the drone strike "disrupted an imminent ISIS-K threat" to Kabul's airport, and that they were "confident we successfully hit the target."