March 2, 2019 - Ameren has announced its intention to exit coal and boasts about cutting CO2 emissions. We want Ameren to explain to shareholders how these plans will be a benefit to anyone or anything.
Here is the BURN MORE COAL proposal:
Shareholders request that, beginning in 2019, Ameren Company annually publish a report of actually incurred corporate costs and associated actual and significant benefits accruing to shareholders and the climate from Ameren’s climate-related activities that are voluntary and exceed government regulatory requirements. The report should be prepared at reasonable cost and omit proprietary information.
Ameren’s purpose is to generate profits from generating affordable and reliable electricity while obeying applicable laws and regulations. Maintaining coal plants is the least expensive option for generating electricity per the U.S. Department of Energy’s National Coal Council 2018 report, “Power Reset” (www.BurnMoreCoal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/10/NCC-Power-Reset-2018.pdf). Yet Ameren intends to burn less coal and replace it with more expensive electricity generation.
This resolution is intended to help shareholders monitor whether Ameren’s voluntary activities and expenditures touted as protecting the climate are actually producing meaningful benefits to shareholders and the climate.
Corporate managements sometimes engage in “greenwashing” ? i.e., spending shareholder money on schemes ostensibly environment-related, but really undertaken merely for the purpose of improving the public image of management. Such insincere “green” posturing and associated touting of alleged, but actually imaginary benefits to public health and the environment may harm shareholders by distracting management, wasting corporate assets, ripping off ratepayers and deceiving shareholders and the public.
For example, Ameren touted in its 2018 Corporate Social Responsibility Report and its web site that, “Ameren’s goal is to reduce carbon [dioxide] emissions by 80 percent below 2005 levels by 2050. Since 2005, there have been significant decreases in emissions. Carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions dropped by 22 percent…”
No law or regulation required the past reduction in carbon dioxide. No law or regulation requires future reductions in carbon dioxide.
Carbon dioxide is not a pollutant. It is colorless and odorless and, as plant food, is necessary for life on Earth. NASA reports that higher levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere are greening the Earth.
Moreover, China is reportedly now adding coal plant capacity equal to the entire US coal fleet. Around the world, there are reportedly 1,100 coal plants under construction. In comparison, Ameren operates a mere 4 coal plants. So, what are the actual benefits to ratepayers, shareholders and the climate of Ameren’s bid to reduce carbon dioxide emissions. By how much, in what way, and when will any of these activities reduce, alter or improve climate change, for example?
The information requested by this proposal is not already contained in any Ameren report.
Ameren should report to shareholders what are the specific actual benefits produced by its voluntary, highly touted and costly voluntary climate-related activities. Are the benefits real and worthwhile? Or are they just imaginary and greenwashing? Shareholders want to know.