Dow drops its oldest member, Exxon, after nearly a century

“Big Oil has fallen. Our job is to make sure they don't take us down with them.”

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Credit: Associated Press

Earlier this week, ExxonMobil was dropped from the S&P Dow Jones Industrial Average after a 92-year run. This is great news for climate campaigners and environmental activists fighting to take on the fossil fuel industry. 

ExxonMobil is Dow’s oldest member and the change is driven by Apple’s decision to split its stock, according to S&P Dow Jones Indices, which is responsible for the Dow. Its impact on Exxon will be more symbolic than substantive, says NPR. But it reflects just how once-dominant Exxon has diminished. Many oil companies are struggling on the stock market as climate concerns mount, Silicon Valley stocks massively outperform petroleum and the coronavirus keeps global oil demand well below expectations.

According to Common Dreams, the oil giant was replaced on the index by software company Salesforce as more than 100,000 people were displaced by wildfires raging across California, a third-year of global Fridays for Future climate action protests kicked off, and the Republican Party was rebuked for failing to even mention the planetary emergency on the first night of its national convention.

“Big Oil has fallen. Our job is to make sure they don’t take us down with them. Fossil fuel companies like Exxon knew and lied for decades about the main cause of the devastating impacts we’re now experiencing across the globe: from fires, storms, and floods to droughts and rising seas… We are rising up to make polluters pay for their destruction,” says 350.org executive director May Boeve. 

In recent decades, the solar and wind sectors have drastically increased as has job growth in the renewable energy field. 

This comes at a time when a majority of Americans favor transitioning away from fossil fuels and toward renewable energy sources,  a poll taken in 2019, says. 

Seven oil companies have downgraded their assets by at least $87 billion in the last nine months, while more than 1,200 institutions representing more than $14 trillion in assets have committed to fossil fuel divestment, writes Julie Conley from Common Dreams

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