Woodside shareholders reject climate plan amid AGM protests

Climate protest targets Woodside AGM

Source: AAP

Climate activists have invaded Woodside Energy’s annual general meeting, shouting out the names of the children of its leadership while accusing the company of “killing children” through its gas projects.

Police were called and the activists were led from the Crown Resort and Casino in Perth, where others tried to disrupt the meeting by singing a modified Crowded House song.

Wednesday’s meeting continued despite the disruption.

Asked by reporters about the activism, WA Premier Roger Cook said that people should protest but in a way that was respectful and allows people to get on with their lives.

Environmental groups wanted Woodside shareholders to reject the oil and gas giant’s climate plan. Photo: AAP

Shareholders at the four-hour meeting voted to re-elect chairman Richard Goyder by a comfortable margin, but also to reject Woodside’s climate transition plan in a vote that was purely advisory. Climate activists had urged a rejection of both.

A preliminary tally indicated Goyder would be re-elected with 83.4 per cent support, with 16.6 per cent of votes cast against him, while the climate plan had garnered just 41.6 per cent support and 58.4 per cent opposition.

“Naturally, we’re disappointed, but respect the result,” Goyder said of the vote on Woodside’s climate plan.

“The vote reflects the challenges and complexities of the energy transition, and today’s outcome is one that we take very seriously.”

Goyder said before the meeting he had personally led over 80 meetings with shareholders and proxy advisers on the issue over the past 12 months and was dealing with climate transition honestly and openly.

“We would love to be investing more money in renewable energy right now, if only we had the customers, and current customers were prepared to make the trade-offs, particularly financial,” Goyder said during the meeting.

Many of its customers are in fact incurring significant costs on their energy transition, he added.

“But we cannot and won’t be turning on a dime on this,” he said.

Climate activists are particularly incensed by Woodside’s Burrup Hub project on WA’s Burrup Peninsula, part of the company’s $16.5 billion plan to develop the Scarborough gas field 375 kilometres off the Pilbara coast of WA.

“Woodside’s enormous Burrup Hub gas precinct would be the Southern Hemisphere’s largest gas carbon bomb, with its lifetime climate pollution more than 13 times Australia’s annual emissions from all sources,” said Australian Conservation Foundation CEO Kelly O’Shanassy.

Woodside says the Scarborough project, scheduled for first gas in 2026, will create thousands of jobs, contribute $19 billion in taxes to Australia and help neighbouring Asian countries with their energy transition.


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