After BP and Shell comes the turn of TotalEnergies: the French giant of hydrocarbons is preparing to live an electric general meeting Friday, May 26, targeted before its opening by scuffles between climate protesters and the police, while shareholders are also in disagreement with the group's climate policy.

Blocking of Total's AGM by environmental activists.
Intervention of law enforcement.

— Amar Taoualit (@TaoualitAmar) May 26, 2023

At dawn, dozens of climate protesters tried to enter the stretch of street passing in front of the Salle Pleyel in the beautiful Parisian neighborhoods. A dozen of them, who had sat in front of the entrance, were dislodged by the police and scuffles took place, noted an AFP journalist. Police used tear gas canisters to dislodge the protesters.

A coalition of NGOs has called for the meeting to be blocked and dozens of activists are now sitting at the entrances to the rue du Faubourg Saint-Honoré, chanting "What we want is to overthrow Total" and "One, two and three degrees, it is Total that we must thank".

The meeting comes at the end of a season of stormy AGMs, where activists have multiplied actions against large groups, such as competitors Shell and BP or the bank Barclays, accused of financing the expansion of hydrocarbon projects.

All against a backdrop of staggering profits: together, majors BP, Shell, ExxonMobil, Chevron and TotalEnergies posted more than $40 billion in profits this quarter, after a grandiose 2022.

In a sign of the expected tensions, TotalEnergies will ban shareholders and journalists from using their mobile phones, and will force them to leave certain personal belongings at the entrance. The group especially wants to avoid the chaotic scenario of 2022, when NGO activists prevented shareholders from entering the AGM.

The authorities expect the presence of 200 to 400 activists, who "absolutely want to prevent the holding of the GA", according to a police source.

"Total's AGM will not take place," the signatories, Alternatiba, Friends of the Earth, ANV-COP21, Attac, Greenpeace, Scientists in Rebellion and XR immediately warned in a forum at the end of April. "This general assembly plans to perpetuate the strategy of the oil company: more fossil projects and an unfair distribution of superprofits that fuels climate and social injustice," they denounce.

Despite extreme police violence, climate activists are holding firm 💪

As long as @TotalEnergies destroys, we will be there. #BlocageTotal

— Greenpeace France (@greenpeacefr) May 26, 2023

See also Fossil fuel projects, "climate bombs" in full proliferation

Record profit of $20.5 billion in 2022

Among the hot topics, the approximately 1.5 million individual shareholders, present or online, are called to vote on a consultative resolution from the activist shareholder organization Follow This, which mainly tackles indirect CO2 emissions. In other words, those related to the use of oil by its customers in cars or for heating (scope 3 in carbon accounting), the equivalent of 85% of its carbon footprint. The organization is calling on the company to align its reduction targets with the 2015 Paris Agreement, in order to limit global warming to +1.5°C compared to the pre-industrial era.

Within this coalition of 17 investors who own nearly 1.5% of TotalEnergies are La Banque Postale AM, Edmond de Rothschild AM, La Financière de l'Échiquier. The group recommends voting against, judging the resolution "contrary to the interests" of TotalEnergies, "its shareholders and its customers".

The major will nevertheless highlight its efforts for the climate and calls on its shareholders to "vote in favor" of its own climate resolution. This official strategy focuses mainly on its direct emissions, from its operations or related to the energy it consumes (so-called "scope 1 and 2" perimeters).

Even if the group does not plan to drastically reduce its direct emissions in the decade, it intends to devote a third of its investments to low-carbon energies and reach 100 GW of renewable electricity capacity by 2030.

"It is the revenues from hydrocarbons that allow us to invest massively and develop renewables," CEO Patrick Pouyanné said Wednesday in an interview with Challenges magazine.

The group is present in many liquefied natural gas and oil projects in the United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Papua and Uganda, with the controversial Eacop heated pipeline project becoming a media symbol of the fight against oil.

"We (we) did not know how to anticipate," conceded to Challenges Patrick Pouyanné about this controversy, which is added to many others for the group, criticized for its record profit of $ 20.5 billion (19.12 billion euros) in 2022, its taxes in France or the salary of the CEO. A 10% increase in his remuneration for 2023 is also on the agenda of the AGM.

With AFP

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