Australia’s national environment group has urged superannuation funds to push for board renewal at Woodside, as one of Australia’s largest super funds, HESTA, publicly challenges the gas giant’s board by nominating alternative directors.

“Woodside’s tin-eared determination to forge ahead with the enormous Scarborough gas project puts at risk species like the pygmy blue whale, Australia’s renewable export future and flies in the face of the science,” said the Australian Conservation Foundation’s corporate campaigner Jonathan Moylan.

“The best science – and economics – is clear: no new fossil fuel projects can be built if the world is to avoid the deadly effects of extreme heat and climate breakdown caused by climate pollution.

“HESTA’s intervention is consistent with the need to protect its members’ retirement years from the environmental and economic consequences of unchecked climate change.

“Stronger engagement is needed from super funds to align big polluters with the science and the lived reality of Australians.

“Woodside cannot survive the global energy transition without a more focused board, a new set of incentives and likely a different set of leaders.

“Woodside’s purported aspiration to net zero emissions is hollow and unsupported by the oil and gas giant’s actions, recent analysis by ACF has found.”

ACF’s analysis, What Woodside tried to hide, released a month ago, found:

  • Woodside’s net zero aspiration excludes 92% of the company’s contribution to climate change by ignoring emissions from the combustion of the oil and gas it produces.
  • Woodside’s claim of an 11% reduction in net scope 1 and 2 emissions (those that come from running its offices, facilities and vehicles, for example) is entirely dependent on purchased offsets. Its gross emissions increased by 3% over the 2016-2020
  • In 2022, Woodside’s expenditure on exploration for new oil and gas reserves was almost five times more than what it spent in 2021.

ACF’s case asking the Federal Court to stop Woodside’s massive Scarborough gas project until its impact on the Great Barrier Reef is assessed will go to trial on 2 September 2024.

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