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The federal Securities and Exchange Commission has granted ExxonMobil’s request to throw out a shareholder-pushed resolution urging the oil giant to disclose targets that would drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Why it matters: The investment community is becoming an alternative battleground between publicly traded companies and climate change as U.S. government policy on the matter retreats under President Trump. Activist investors, including those that filed this resolution with Exxon, are worried about what they characterize as the SEC ramping up their scrutiny of resolutions under Trump.

Where it stands:

  • The non-binding, but symbolically significant resolution, filed by the New York public pension fund and Church of England’s endowment, called for disclosure of short-, medium- and long-term targets for reducing greenhouse gas emissions from company operations and products that are in line with the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
  • The SEC, which governs this process known as “shareholder democracy,” said in a letter Tuesday to Exxon and obtained by Axios that such a resolution would result in micromanaging the company.
  • The proposal seeks “to impose specific methods for implementing complex policies in place of the ongoing judgments of management as overseen by its board of directors,” the SEC wrote.

Read the letter:

For the record: An Exxon spokesman declined to comment. Thomas DiNapoli, who as New York Comptroller manages NY’s pension fund, says he will keep pushing Exxon. “Contrary to the SEC Staff’s determination, investors’ efforts to engage on climate risk concerns do not micromanage Exxon,” DiNapoli said. "We are asking the company to disclose its plans to address a long-term threat to its business.”

Go deeper: Investors ramp up pressure on Exxon over climate change

Go deeper

2 hours ago - World

Special report: Trump's U.S.-China transformation

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

President Trump began his term by launching the trade war with China he had promised on the campaign trail. By mid-2020, however, Trump was no longer the public face of China policy-making as he became increasingly consumed with domestic troubles, giving his top aides carte blanche to pursue a cascade of tough-on-China policies.

Why it matters: Trump alone did not reshape the China relationship. But his trade war shattered global norms, paving the way for administration officials to pursue policies that just a few years earlier would have been unthinkable.

McConnell: Trump "provoked" Capitol mob

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said on Tuesday that the pro-Trump mob that stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6 was "provoked by the president and other powerful people."

Why it matters: Trump was impeached by the House last week for "incitement of insurrection." McConnell has not said how he will vote in Trump's coming Senate impeachment trial, but sources told Axios' Mike Allen that the chances of him voting to convict are higher than 50%.

2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

GOP leaders skip Trump sendoff in favor of church with Biden

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) in July. Photo by Erin Scott-Pool/Getty Images

Congressional leaders, including House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, will skip President Trump's departure ceremony in Maryland tomorrow morning in favor of attending mass with incoming President Joe Biden ahead of his inauguration, congressional sources familiar with their plans tell Axios.

Why it matters: Their decision is a clear sign of unity before Biden takes the oath of office.