Oil sands producer Cenovus Energy Inc. is recommending investors at its annual general meeting vote against a shareholder motion requiring it to set greenhouse gas emission targets aligned with the goals of the Paris climate accord.
The proposal by the Fonds de Solidarite des Travailleurs du Quebec would force Cenovus to set medium– and long-term targets for its direct and indirect methane and other GHG emissions from operations.
The text of the motion in a filing ahead of its April 24 meeting suggests that Cenovus has backed away from a 2016 pledge to reduce the intensity of its total upstream GHG emissions by 33 per cent by 2026.
The Quebec investment fund is one of the co-filers of a similar proposal at American oil company ExxonMobil this year.
In its response, Cenovus says the request is “overly demanding” because achieving the Paris goal of limiting the global average temperature increase to less than two degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels will take an integrated national and global level plan.
It says it agrees with the spirit of the motion but not its approach, adding it has cut per-barrel GHG emissions at its oil sands operations by about one-third since 2004 and is subject to Alberta oil sands and methane emission reduction regulations.
“We believe that the right approach for Cenovus is to focus on its environmental performance measures, including GHG emissions intensity, based on business plans for disciplined growth and the capital allocation priorities that the company has committed to its shareholders,” it says.