Tear gas pollutes the air as TotalEnergies’ annual meeting rejects climate activists’ resolution

PARIS, May 26 (Reuters) – Shareholders of TotalEnergies on Friday rejected an activist resolution calling for faster cuts to the oil company’s greenhouse gas emissions program after climate protesters attempted to disrupt its annual general meeting.

The resolution, tabled by the climate group Follow This and 17 institutional investors with a total of €1.1 trillion under management, received 30.44% of the vote, up from a result of 17% in 2020, the last time that a similar resolution was tabled.

Outside the room, French riot police used pepper spray against several hundred climate activists who tried to disrupt the meeting.

The smell of tear gas from earlier clashes hung in the air as police escorted shareholders and dragged some protesters away to clear a path. All attendees had to put their phones in sealed book bags for the duration.

“I regret that this meeting is not taking place under the conditions it should,” Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne told the meeting when it started on time. “I certainly hope that there will be a dialogue.”

While climate activists have tightened demands that oil companies set stricter targets for greenhouse gas emissions, protesters attempted to storm the podium at Shell’s shareholder meeting earlier this week and disrupt BP’s AGM last month.

Energy Minister Agnes Pannier-Runacher told France Info radio on Friday that oil and gas companies had to “reinvent themselves” and would have no future unless they could chart a path out of fossil fuels.

The Follow This resolution opposed by TotalEnergies’ board of directors called for the company to commit to stronger absolute emissions reductions by 2030, as opposed to intensity targets that can drop if a company adds renewable assets.

It also required TotalEnergies to include in its 2030 targets Scope 3 emissions released when the fuels the company sells are burned by customers, such as in airplanes or cars.

TotalEnergies’ internal climate plan, which proposes more modest gas reductions in its directly owned facilities, was approved with 88.76% of the vote.

The company does not foresee a major overall reduction in customer-produced emissions by 2030.

Scientists say the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 43% by 2030 from 2019 levels to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement target of keeping warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit ) above pre-industrial levels.

“The science is clear, but Total ignores it,” read a banner held aloft by the protesters, including Greenpeace activists.

Reuters Graphic Reuters Graphic

Reporting by Benjamin Mallet and America Hernandez, editing by Silvia Aloisi, Richard Lough and Barbara Lewis

Our Standards: The Thomson Reuters Principles of Trust.

Leave a comment