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Report: BURN MORE COAL Success at Duke Energy Annual Meeting



May 3, 2019 - Based on the results of the shareholder vote at the Duke Energy annual meeting, BURN MORE COAL earned the right to present its “greenwashing audit” shareholder proposal again at Duke’s 2020 annual meeting.

Steve Milloy’s presentation at the Duke Energy shareholder meeting is below. Discussion afterwards.

Good afternoon fellow shareholders. I am Steve Milloy and here is my proposal.

The purpose of Duke Energy is to make money by generating affordable and reliable electricity for customers while obeying the law.

Coal plants are the cheapest way to generate electricity.

And burning coal in a modern coal plant is clean.

Yet management intends to close Duke’s coal plants.

By doing so, management hopes to somehow alter whatever global climate change may or may not be occurring.

This proposal is intended to help shareholders monitor whether Duke’s expensive voluntary activities related to the climate and environment are actually producing meaningful benefits to customers, shareholders, the public health and the environment.

Corporate managements sometimes engage in what I call “greenwashing.”

They spend shareholder money on schemes that appear to be related to the environment.

But these schemes are really undertaken merely for the purpose of polishing management’s public image.

Greenwashing harms shareholders by distracting management, wasting corporate assets, ripping off customers and deceiving shareholders and the public.

I believe, for example, that Duke management is greenwashing by pretending that there are benefits from closing coal plants and cutting carbon dioxide emissions.

Management recently claimed that it had cut carbon dioxide emissions by 31% since 2005.

No law required these cuts.

What did they accomplish? Anything? Nothing? Who knows?

Shareholders should have an honest accounting of the actual benefits of the emissions cuts.

The emphasis, here, is on actual benefits — not hypothetical, pretend or imaginary benefits.

After all, Duke’s unilateral emissions cuts are NOT an obvious benefit to anyone or anything.

Management now says its “goal” is to reduce CO2 emissions even more.

Still, no law requires this action.

What will the actual benefits be to anyone or anything?

Global carbon dioxide emissions are higher now than ever… and increasing… with no end in sight.

China is building coal plants equal to the entire US coal fleet.

Around the world, there are 1,100 coal plants under construction.

In comparison, Duke operates a mere 14 coal plants.

So what are the actual benefits to customers, shareholders and the environment of meeting Duke management’s goal?

By how much, in what way, and when… will Duke’s emissions cuts alter climate change?

I don’t believe there are any benefits to be had by closing Duke’s coal plants.

It’s all pain and no gain for all concerned… except, of course, for our greenwashing management… hoping to get patted on the back for its political correctness.

Customers will pay higher rates for no purpose.

Customers, regulators and investors will continue to deceived about the purpose and effects of the emissions cuts.

This is bad business. It is dishonest business.

If management disagrees – and we know it does because it opposes this proposal – let them show us their math.

Until they do, we can only assume they are greenwashing. Nothing good will come from this deception.

Thank you for your attention and vote.

Not surprisingly, the BURN MORE COAL proposal did not prevail — such proposals rarely do. But by getting 4% of the vote, the proposal earned enough of the shareholder vote to guarantee that the proposal will appear in the proxy statement and be voted on at next year’s Duke annual meeting. Check out the Charlotte Business Journal report of the meeting.


Stay tuned for BURN MORE COAL’s offseason activities. We’ve got something special in store.