10 global warming dinosaurs

Activist shareholders charge Wells Fargo, Exxon and Bed, Bath & Beyond, with falling behind peers when it comes to global warming.

By Steve Hargreaves, CNNMoney.com staff writer

NEW YORK (CNNMoney.com) -- A group of environmentally-minded investors with more than $200 billion in assets turned up the heat Tuesday on some of the country's biggest corporations - by publicly accusing them of not doing enough to address global warming.

ConocoPhillips (Charts), ExxonMobil (Charts), Wells Fargo (Charts), and insurer ACE Limited were among the 10 companies singled out by the Investor Network on Climate Risk, a coalition of unions, public pensions, and faith-based institutional investors.


The Investor Network contends that, by not being more more proactive about global warming, these companies could hurt their bottom lines in the long run and miss out on prime business opportunities given investor demand for cleaner technologies.

"Legislation to reduce greenhouse gas emissions looks increasingly likely," Leslie Lowe, director of the Energy and Environment Program at the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, said in a statement. The Interfaith Center, which represents 275 faith-based investors, is one umbrella group behind the Investor Network. Another is Ceres, which represents unions and public pension funds, among others.

"Investors want to know whether companies are prepared to meet the challenge of reducing CO2 in their operations and products," continued Lowe. "They want companies to set voluntary reduction goals and tell the market how they plan to meet those goals."

The Investor Network says it has filed shareholder resolutions with all 10 companies identified Tuesday in the hopes of spurring a more aggressive response to climate change.

Here are the companies publicly criticized by Investor Network - and the specific complaints against them:

Dominion Resources The coalition says the Richmond, Va.-based provider of electricity and natural gas hasn't disclosed the effects any future climate change regulation would have on its bottom line, despite requests from the Investor Network.

A Dominion spokesman declined comment.

TXU Corp. The group wants the Texas utility, which is proposing to build 11 giant coal fired power plants, to say how the company is responding to mounting regulatory pressure to cut carbon dioxide emissions. It also wants to know how conservation measures in Texas might harm its ability to sell power.

A spokeswoman for TXU (Charts) said the company is investing up to $2 billion in clean-coal technology and that its proposed new coal plants could be retrofitted with carbon-capturing technology in the future.

She also said TXU is one of the country's top spenders on conservation programs and that the company isn't concerned with how these measures impact the bottom line.

ConocoPhillips, ExxonMobil Investors Network says Conoco and Exxon, unlike rivals like BP and Chevron, have not invested enough in renewable energy. The coalition wants the companies to issue a report on how they will compete in the renewable energy market.

An Exxon spokesman said the company has cut 11 million tons of carbon emissions - the equivalent of two million cars - from its operations since 1991.

He also said Exxon has committed over the next 10 years to investing $100 million in the Stanford University's Global Climate and Energy Project, which aims to improve renewable technologies.

Conoco did not return calls seeking comment.

Wells Fargo The coalition says the bank, unlike JP Morgan and Bank of America, hasn't come up with a plan to reduce carbon emissions from their everyday business practices.

A Wells Fargo spokeswoman said the bank is addressing global warming on several fronts, including offsetting 40 percent of its electricity with wind power. Nonetheless, she said that the company is studying its carbon emissions.

Bed, Bath & Beyond Investor Network says the retailer hasn't disclosed its strategies on how to improve energy efficiency.

A spokesman for Bed, Bath & Beyond (Charts) said the firm is concerned with energy efficiency and continues to study the issue.

Massey Energy, Consol Energy Investor Network wants the coal mining companies to report on how they are responding to what the group says is mounting competitive and regulatory pressure to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

A spokesman for Consol said the company reports its carbon reductions to the U.S. government and, of the companies reporting, ranks No. 3 in reduced output.

Massey did not return a call seeking comment.

ACE Limited Investor Network says the says the insurer hasn't detailed its strategies, policies and potential exposure to climate change, unlike AIG (Charts) and other competitors.

An ACE spokesman said the company is in the process of preparing a plan on climate change and carbon reduction.

Allegheny Energy Investor Network says the utility, which it claims is one of the 20 largest emitters of carbon gases in the electric power industry, hasn't detailed its exposure to potential global warming regulations despite repeated requests.

An Allegheny spokesman said that the company will ask shareholders at its upcoming annual meeting whether they would like a report similar to the one Investor Network is seeking.


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