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Total plays the strategy of climate chaos

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The oil group Total has one ambition: "to become the major player in responsible energy"! Notre Affaire à tous, 350.org and Friends of the Earth have compared this stated ambition with the Group's real environmental strategy and are publishing a report on May 29, 2019 entitled "Total, the strategy of climate chaos" to denounce its inconsistencies in terms of climate change. This strategy is a façade, absolutely incompatible with the objectives of the Paris Agreement. By continuing to rely massively on hydrocarbons, Total is threatening the lives of millions of people in France and around the world, and exposing itself to significant legal and financial risks.
 
Dn its communications, Total monitors the objective of limiting climate change to 2°C set out in the Paris Accord. However, a reading of the notes to the Group's consolidated financial statements clearly shows that this objective is incompatible with the Kyoto Protocol. In fact, the company refers to the International Energy Agency's New Policies Scenario (NPS) for the development of its fossil fuel activities. Global warming at the end of the century would no longer be 2°C, but 2.7°C according to the designers of this scenario, or even 3.3°C according to some experts. Indeed, the Group continues to invest heavily and almost exclusively in oil and gas, including in the exploration of new deposits.
Thanks to in-depth research, an important report published by the associations Our Affair with All, 350.org, and Friends of the Earth shows that the climate strategy of the oil multinational and its levers for mitigating climate impact are only a decoy and that they lead us, on the contrary, irremediably towards a worsening of the current crisis.
 

Total incompatibility between the Group's strategy and its ambition to be a leader in "responsible energy".

Total is demonstrating its ambition to grow in gas, which the Group describes as a "low-carbon" energy. Yet it is an energy with a global warming potential 84 times greater than that of carbon dioxide over 20 years! To offset this, the Group is relying on carbon capture and sequestration technologies (CCUS). However, these are not even available. Biorefineries, based on palm oil, cannot represent a concrete measure to fight climate change either.
What about renewable energies? In 2018, Total will invest only $0.5 billion in low-carbon energies, including gas, compared with $9.2 billion in oil and gas exploration and production. A target of 2°C does not allow for new hydrocarbon extraction projects.
 
Total's climate strategy is riddled with false solutions: on the one hand, massive investments in gas and agrofuels, which have heavy climate, social and environmental impacts, and on the other hand, blind hope in CO2 capture and storage technologies, whose deployment is risky and whose effectiveness relies heavily on speculation. It therefore seems sensible to question Total's stated ambition to be the leader in responsible energy, especially when the 2014 Carbon Majors Report Total ranks 14th among the industrial companies that have made the greatest contribution to climate change ...
 
According to Juliette Renaud of Friends of the Earth France: "Gas is not a "clean" or "transitional" energy, it is a fossil fuel with a catastrophic climate balance due to the inevitable methane leaks linked to its extraction, transformation and transport. Total is proud to be growing in this sector, notably with the recent acquisition of major assets in Mozambique, despite the fact that it is a veritable climate bomb. Moreover, even before it begins, this gas mega-project is already associated with numerous violations of the human rights of local communities.
 
For Clémence Dubois, from 350.org : "While millions of young people are on strike around the world demanding an end to the fossil fuel era, Total is stepping up its communication and lobbying efforts to continue developing new oil and gas projects that give them no chance of a future. Total is seeking to escape its historic responsibility for the climate crisis, but our movement is forcing institutions to take the measure of their responsibilities and hold Total accountable for the damage it causes".
 

Total plays a risky scenario

The last IPCC report is irrevocable. A warming of more than 1.5°C at the end of the century will have significant consequences for populations and ecosystems. Above 2°C, the impacts will be dramatic. Many consequences of climate change are visible today. Rising waters threaten island populations, farmers lack water for their crops, repeated heat waves kill the most vulnerable people...
The 2019 IPBES report on biodiversity is equally alarming and questions us about our relationship to life. Continuing on a trajectory at 2.7°C means accepting the risk of endangering future generations and the earth's ecosystem.
 
For Yann Robiou du Pont, climatologist: "Total, at the source of emissions almost equal to those of France, is pursuing a trajectory described as 'responsible' on the road to the Paris agreement, despite GHG reduction targets that are insufficient to remain even below 2°C. This lack of ambition and ambiguity undermines the efforts of all to mitigate the increasingly serious impacts of climate change. »
 

Who will pay for this risk?

In the world or in France, the first to be affected are those countries or people who contribute the least to climate change. Climate change reinforces social and economic inequalities.
Who will bear the cost of loss and damage? Multinationals, the main CO2 emitters, can no longer evade their responsibility in this climate crisis. They have a duty to prevent a further aggravation of climate change and to repair the costs caused by global warming.
This is why, on 23 October 2018, accompanied by Our Affair with All, Sherpa, the eco-mayors and ZEA Oceans have decided to to call on Total to demand that its corporate strategy be brought into line with the objectives of the Paris Agreement and that it comply with the 1.5°C limit, by halting all hydrocarbon exploration and production, and by reminding investors that they must also stop financing oil and gas companies like Total, which are major CO2 emitters and the main culprits of climate change.
On May 29, at the Total Group's Annual General Meeting, Notre Affaire à Tous and partner associations informed the firm's shareholders and investors of the double talk held by Total by distributing a summary of the report.
 
The author of the report, Paul Mougeolle, from Our Affair with All, concludes: "Total's climate strategy is all the more serious in that it is still possible to limit global warming to +1.5°C, if a real transition to renewable energies were to take place. There is an urgent need for action: Total has no choice but to radically change its business model. Otherwise, the company is exposed to imminent financial and legal risks".
 

 

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