activists call out company for climate crimes

  • Post last modified:May 28, 2024
  • Reading time:10 mins read

Climate crisis activists took French fossil fuel firm TotalEnergies to task at its annual general meeting. Unsurprisingly, the climate-wrecking company proved their action warranted, as it announced plans to double-down on fossil fuels.

Activists take on TotalEnergies at AGM

As TotalEnergies shareholders convened for their AGM, Greenpeace activists scaled the building:

Greenpeace activists scale TotalEnergies building.Greenpeace activists scale TotalEnergies building.

They unfurled an enormous wanted poster style banner with TotalEnergies’ boss Patrick Pouyanne’s face:

"WANTED" banner with Pouyanne's face unfurled on TotalEnergies building."WANTED" banner with Pouyanne's face unfurled on TotalEnergies building.

The banner branded Pouyanne “the leader of France’s most polluting company”.

In March, the company marked its 100 year anniversary. Then too, Greenpeace rained on the corporations celebratory parade. Notably, in a serendipitous ruling, a judge dismissed a legal case TotalEnergies had issued to silence the campaign group.

Meanwhile, several hundred Extinction Rebellion activists gathered near the Paris offices of Amundi. The French asset manager is among TotalEnergies’ biggest shareholders.

The boss of TotalEnergies told shareholders Friday the French energy giant needed to develop new oil fields to meet global demand, as their AGM was picketed by the climate activists.

Predictably, cops came to scenes. As Extinction Rebellion activists occupied Amundi’s offices, French authorities begun issuing a number of arrests. At the TotalEnergies AGM, police quickly acted to protect corporate interests, taking down Greenpeace’s unflattering wanted banner.

Climate strategy and hot air

So while cops shielded the corporate climate criminals from the protesters, inside the AGM, Pouyanne was waxing lyrical about fossil fuels.

First, he claimed that higher oil prices prompted by insufficient fossil fuel output:

would quickly become unbearable for the populations in emerging countries, but also in our developed countries

Of course, TotalEnergies is exploiting oil and gas in a number of these so-called “emerging countries”. For instance, this includes its notorious and human-rights violating East Africa Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) in Tanzania and Uganda.

Pouyane purportedly argued that demand for oil was growing in line with the global population. In another predictable display of blatant greenwashing, Pouyanne also promised that TotalEnergies would pursue its “balanced strategy” of developing both fossil fuel and low-carbon energy production.

Unironically, the oil and gas giant boss said that TotalEnergies had provided proof that it was possible:

to be a profitable, or even the most profitable, company while pursuing a transformation

Naturally, at Friday’s meeting, shareholders shored up their profits. Nearly 80% of them approved their company’s woefully inadequate climate strategy. Additionally, over two thirds voted to renew Pouyanne as the company’s CEO.

“Wanted” for crimes against people and the planet

Of course, climate activists and campaigners have repeatedly exposed this as palpable greenwashing bullshit.

As the Canary reported on the 21 May, a new report by Oil Change International revealed the company’s climate catastrophic trajectory. Specifically, its continued emphasis on developing new oil and gas projects will send temperatures soaring well beyond the Paris Agreement’s 1.5°c limit.

TotalEnergies’ latest piety to expanding fossil fuels comes as a group of nonprofits and members of the public have launched legal action against the company. The Canary previously explained that through the case:

they are calling to try the company for involuntary manslaughter and other consequences of climate crisis “chaos”.

Crucially, the case targets the company’s board, including Pouyanne and major shareholders that backed its climate strategy.

As the stakes on climate breakdown grow, fossil fuel companies dig their heels in. However, climate activists and campaign organisations will continue to use all avenues to hold these criminal planet-killing corporations to account.

As climate activists plastered Pouyanne’s ‘wanted’ poster at its AGM, TotalEnergies’ latest shareholder shenanigans only proved their point.

Feature and in-text images via Greenpeace

Additional reporting by Agence France-Presse

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