Statement by Katherine Silverthorne, Director, US Climate Change Program World Wildlife Fund, commenting on today's vote by American Electric Power shareholders on CO2 risk.
WASHINGTON, 4/23/2003 - "This vote is among the first rumblings of shareholder concern about the carbon dioxide emissions that result from the power sector's over reliance on polluting fossil fuels. Over the past year, 29 similar resolutions were filed by shareholders seeking disclosure of the financial risks associated with CO2 emissions.
"Shareholders are recognizing that CO2 emissions may well be the next hidden risk on Wall Street. Smart companies can be part of the global warming solution instead of the problem.
"AEP is the nation's largest emitter of CO2 - the primary heat-trapping gas associated with global warming. Now, its shareholders are looking for the company to take a responsible approach to the risk associated with high CO2 emissions and consider the benefits of reducing those emissions.
"As the biggest emitters of CO2, the power sector can be a big part of the solution to global warming. WWF is challenging power companies to take responsible steps towards solving this growing environmental problem as part of its PowerSwitch! initiative. It's time to switch to clean energy, before it's too late to save wildlife and wild spaces from the impacts of global warming."
Note to editors: The American Electric Power (NYSE: AEP) resolution was filed by Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds (CRPTF) and Christian Brothers Investment Services (CBIS). Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS), the largest investment advisory service to institutional investors nationwide, issued a recommendation that institutional shareholders vote in favor of this shareholder resolution despite management recommendations against.
The resolution asks that the company prepare a report to shareholders on "(a) the economic risks associated with the Company's past, present, and future emissions of carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide and mercury emissions, and the public stance of the company regarding efforts to reduce these emissions and (b) the economic benefits of committing to a substantial reduction of those emissions related to its current business activities (i.e. potential improvement in competitiveness and profitability)." Source: State of Connecticut, Treasurer's Office