TotalEnergies Faces Landmark Climate Lawsuit: NGOs and Victims Demand Accountability for 1% of Global Emissions

May 22, 2024
1 min read
Station TotalEnergies Les Tulipes, Paris.. Photo Credit: Chabe01 (CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED)
Station TotalEnergies Les Tulipes, Paris.. Photo Credit: Chabe01 (CC BY-SA 4.0 DEED)

Three NGOs and eight victims of climate disasters from seven countries have filed an unprecedented criminal complaint in Paris against the executives and major shareholders of French oil company TotalEnergies. The complaint alleges their responsibility in global warming. The lawsuit seeks to hold fossil fuel producers and shareholders accountable for the chaos caused by climate change.

The lawsuit targets TotalEnergies, its board of directors, its CEO Patrick Pouyanné, and major shareholders like BlackRock and the Central Bank of Norway. It accuses TotalEnergies of involuntary manslaughter and damage to biodiversity. Eight citizens from various countries joined as “victims of climate change.”

TotalEnergies is accused of knowing about the direct relationship between its activities and climate change since 1971 but delaying action to protect its investments in fossil fuels. The company aims for carbon neutrality by 2050, a crucial goal under the Paris Agreement to limit global warming.

The complaint has been filed “against X” as required by French law, but it implicates shareholders and the company itself. The Prosecutor’s Office must decide whether to launch investigations to determine specific responsibilities.

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One victim, Benjamin Van Bunderen Robberechts, lost a friend to flooding in 2021 and blames TotalEnergies for decades of climate inaction. The complaint targets the company’s board of directors and major shareholders who voted for climate strategies incompatible with the Paris Agreement.

The NGOs behind the complaint, Bloom, Alliance santé planétaire (Planetary Health Alliance) and Nuestro futuro (Our Future), demand accountability for the victims of climate change caused by oil and gas production. TotalEnergies, despite recommendations to halt new extraction projects, continues to invest in fossil fuels.

In March, a Belgian farmer filed a complaint against TotalEnergies to force emission reductions. This legal action adds to ongoing efforts to hold the company accountable for its climate responsibility.

Govind Tekale

Embarking on a new journey post-retirement, Govind, once a dedicated teacher, has transformed his enduring passion for current affairs and general knowledge into a conduit for expression through writing. His historical love affair with reading, which borders on addiction, has evolved into a medium to articulate his thoughts and disseminate vital information. Govind pens down his insights on a myriad of crucial topics, including the environment, wildlife, energy, sustainability, and health, weaving through every aspect that is quintessential for both our existence and that of our planet. His writings not only mirror his profound understanding and curiosity but also serve as a valuable resource, offering a deep dive into issues that are critical to our collective future and well-being.

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