HomeWorldTear gas pollutes air as TotalEnergies annual meeting rejects climate activists' resolution

Tear gas pollutes 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 in the oil major’s greenhouse gas emissions program after climate protesters tried to disrupt its annual general meeting.

The resolution, presented by the climate group Follow This and 17 institutional investors with a total of 1.1 trillion euros under management, obtained 30.44% of the votes, compared to 17% of the votes in 2020, the last time that a similar resolution was presented.

Outside the venue, French riot police used pepper spray on 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 to make way for them. All meeting attendees were required to place phones in sealed wallets for the duration of the meeting.

“I regret that this meeting is not taking place in the conditions that it should,” Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne told the meeting, which started on time. “In any case, I hope that the dialogue will continue.”

As climate activists have stepped up demands that oil companies set tougher targets on greenhouse gas emissions, protesters tried to storm the stage of the Shell shareholders meeting earlier this week and interrupted BP general meeting last month.

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

The Follow This resolution, opposed by the TotalEnergies board, called on the company to commit to steeper absolute emissions cuts by 2030 rather than intensity targets that can fall as a company adds renewable assets.

It also demanded that TotalEnergies include in its 2030 targets Scope 3 emissions released when customers burn the fuels the company sells, such as in planes or cars.

TotalEnergies’ internal climate plan, which proposed more modest gas cuts at its directly owned facilities, was approved with 88.76% of the vote.

The company does not anticipate a significant overall reduction in customer-generated emissions by 2030.

Scientists say the world needs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by about 43% from 2019 levels by 2030 to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement goal of keeping warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3 .6 Fahrenheit) above pre-industrial levels.

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

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

Our standards: The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

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