FAR directors change their opinion about climate risk

FAR, an Australian oil and gas exploration company that operates mainly in Senegal, finally accepted the importance of climate change as a business risk at their annual general meeting (AGM) today.

This was in sharp contrast to last year’s AGM where the topic was not mentioned until question time, and FAR chairman Nicolas Limb made the shocking statement:

If I can express a personal view, after years of being involved in modelling the earth, the fact that someone is actually quantifying something like two degrees is laughable in the extreme.’

You can hear the audio from his comments last year here:

A Baker McKenzie lawyer, Martijn Wilder, recently appeared in media interviews arguing that climate change is now a real risk for the fossil fuel industry and could become like tobacco litigation. Ironically, FAR is a Baker McKenzie client.  

FAR clearly stated at last year’s AGM that they don’t classify climate risk as a material business risk. Today a FAR shareholder cited a legal opinion from lawyer Noel Hutley that recommends directors of companies classify climate risk as a material business risk, and asked once again if FAR classified climate risk as a material business risk. Were directors concerned, she asked, about the legal ramifications of not classifying it as a business risk?

Neither chairman Nicolas Limb nor the board appeared to have ever heard of Martijn Wilder or Noel Hutley.

Bizarrely, Nicolas Limb denied he had said last year that FAR didn’t classify climate risk as a material business risk, and stated that the oil and gas company does indeed classify climate as a business risk. As you can hear in the audio from last year it was not only clear the company didn’t classify climate as a material business risk but also thought it was ‘not our job to consider the policies of climate change.’ 

Listen to Nicolas Limb’s comments on climate risk in 2017 here:

In contrast to his comments in 2018:

Market Forces research shows that FAR, like many companies, aren’t actually doing a lot to mitigate the impact of climate risk. Read our recent report here, and let regulators know that companies need to take climate risk seriously.