27 November 2019
Shareholders of Armour Energy were stunned during the company’s annual general meeting in Brisbane yesterday by Chairman Nicholas Mather’s outrageous claim that human beings are not the cause of climate change.
In response to a question from a shareholder concerned about the risks climate change poses to his ASX-listed oil and gas exploration and production company, the chairman replied:
“Climate change is a hotly debated topic and from my personal point of view there is no scientific evidence that climate change is caused by human beings, there may or may not be climate change, it’s on a geological level given that the world is 4 billion years old the length of time that records have been taken is nearly irrelevant and perhaps difficult to interpret.”
Mather, who also sits on the board of DGR Global, Dark Horse Resources, IronRidge Resources, Aus Tin Mining, Armour Energy and Lakes Oil, told shareholders that the company’s operations and assets had not been stress-tested against a scenario in which the Paris Agreement goals were met.
Presiding over any company seeking to expand fossil fuels requires an element of climate denial. At least Armour Energy Chair Nicholas Mather is overt with his. pic.twitter.com/hJbt5tJjWp— Market Forces (@market_forces) November 26, 2019
“Climate change is a hotly debated topic and from my personal point of view there is no scientific evidence that climate change is caused by human beings.”Nicholas Mather, Armour chairman
While this is completely out of line with regulatory guidance on climate risk disclosure, it’s perhaps not surprising in light of Mather’s wild claims that “the Paris Agreement is an agreement that was reached by a whole lot of motivated people who were intent on creating a problem. That is my view. There is no scientific evidence at all that man is inducing the so-called data, which the proponents of climate change arguments produced to argue its impacts. I’m a scientist, and a good one.”
Armour’s Annual Report states “there are currently no climate change-related risks which are material enough to warrant disclosure in the Company’s current period Financial Statements.” This contradicts guidance from the Australian Accounting Board, which clearly states that if investors could reasonably expect climate risks would have a significant impact on the entity but have not affected any of the amounts disclosed in the financial statements, the company should disclose why those risks had no impact.
“the Paris Agreement is an agreement that was reached by a whole lot of motivated people who were intent on creating a problem”Nicholas Mather
When asked about this, the chairman replied: “We don’t believe those risks are substantial enough in respect of the previous year or indeed the forthcoming year or in my personal view the years after that to warrant any further impairment of the company’s assets or the outlook for its business going forward.”
This response makes it clear that Armour’s approach to climate risk disclosure is based on the company and its directors’ own views about climate risk materiality. This clearly disregards the AASB’s conclusion that investors’ reasonable expectations should determine whether and how climate risks are disclosed.
Given Mather’s climate change denial, which is totally out of step with the mainstream scientific and investment communities understanding, it’s no wonder the company continues to undermine climate action by pursuing fossil fuel expansion.