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TotalEnergies target of criminal complaint by climate change groups

Patrick Pouyanne is in the crosshairs, along with BlackRock and Norges Bank


Three climate nonprofits and eight people filed a criminal complaint in Paris on Tuesday against TotalEnergies, claiming the French supermajor “willingly ignored science” to push a fossil fuel agenda that ignored the industry’s “fatal impact” on climate change.

The complaint, filed in a France criminal court, targets the TotalEnergies board, chief executive Patrick Pouyanne, and major shareholders BlackRock and Norges Bank, according to a statement from Bloom, a French non-governmental organisation (NGO) that filed the complaint along with Santé Planétaire of France, Nuestro Futuro of Mexico, and eight “climate change victims”.

The groups are accusing TotalEnergies of “deliberately endangering the lives of others, involuntary manslaughter, neglecting to address a disaster, and damaging biodiversity” by fighting climate change regulations and pushing gas as a low-carbon fuel, the Bloom statement said.

A French prosecutor will have a three-month window to decide whether to open an investigation into TotalEnergies, Bloom said. If the prosecutor dismisses the complaint, the groups can take up their case with an investigating judge.

TotalEnergies did not immediately respond to Upstream’s request for comment.

Bloom, which is calling for a “definitive halt” to an expanded fossil fuel industry, said TotalEnergies has become “the second most expansionist fossil fuel company in the world”.

“Despite being perfectly aware that climate change kills, the directors and shareholders of the multibillion-dollar multinational have made the choice to expand oil and gas production for a single reason: to maximize profits,” Bloom said.

In particular, Bloom blasted a TotalEnergies shareholder vote last year in which investors overwhelmingly rejected a proposal to align the French supermajor’s climate strategy with the 2015 Paris climate agreement.

“The NGOs and eight plaintiffs hope to establish the criminal liability of TotalEnergies’ directors and shareholders for their contribution to climate change and to have them condemned for past decisions, which they took despite knowing they would trigger tremendous casualties and environmental damage,” the Bloom statement said.

source from Upstream


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