A validated climate strategy, under pressure from protesters

The demonstrators, the government, nothing will have made TotalEnergies bend. The shareholders largely validated the group’s climate strategy on Friday, despite the numerous warnings which call on the company to abandon fossil fuels.

Environmental activists, who had promised to block the event, could not carry out their project, kept at bay by tear gas launched by the police, but the climate imposed itself as the central theme of this annual meeting. At the end of three hours largely dominated by this question, the shareholders, on site or online, adopted the group’s climate strategy by 88.76%.

Another consultative resolution, from the activist shareholder organization Follow This, and rejected by the group, was rejected but still received 30.4% of the votes. It asked TotalEnergies to align its emission reduction targets with the 2015 Paris Agreement, to limit global warming to +1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era.

TotalEnergies defends its balance sheet

Patrick Pouyanné, the CEO of TotalEnergies explained himself at length in terms of his group, one of the five big world majors with BP, Shell, ExxonMobil and Chevron. “Our company was the major that invested the most to build the energy model of tomorrow which will be based on electricity”, via renewable energies, he declared, adding that he cannot reduce his petroleum activity.

.The CEO had opened the annual meeting as planned at 10 a.m., held with a thousand security precautions: security guards, barriers, police cars… and inside Plexiglas plates to separate the stage from the public. At dawn, dozens of demonstrators tried to enter the section of street in front of the Salle Pleyel, in the beautiful districts of Paris, before being dislodged.

The demonstrators then remained nearby, about a hundred on each side of the street segment, chanting slogans, before dispersing around noon. “We won’t let them go”, assured Marie Cohuet, spokesperson for the Alternatiba association, for whom TotalEnergies “embodies the worst of what is being done in terms of the exploitation of populations and the planet”. The blockage was organized with other associations including Friends of the Earth, ANV-COP21, Attac, Greenpeace, Scientists in Rebellion and Extinction Rebellion.

The State wants Total to move “faster” towards renewable energies

Six people were arrested, police said. LCI’s Society of Journalists protested the fate of one of its videographers “brutally pushed aside then pushed to the ground by security”. If no activist managed to enter, a person among the shareholders briefly protested in the room, without disturbing the session. Endowed with shares by inheritance, she explained to AFP, she just had time to show her sign “Total destroyed, the banks finance, we resist”.

Asked about these events, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne felt that “climate activists” were “in their role of alerting and saying that we must speed up”. The Minister for Energy Transition Agnès Pannier-Runacher called on TotalEnergies to “go faster” on renewable energies, adding that oil and gas companies “must reinvent themselves, get out of fossil fuels”.

This meeting comes at the end of a stormy AGM season, during which actions have multiplied against large groups against a backdrop of staggering profits: together, BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and TotalEnergies show more than 40 billion of profits this quarter, after a great year 2022.

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