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Shareholders Vote Down Climate Resolution At French Oil Major Total

Most of the shareholders of Total SA voted on Friday against a resolution put forward by a group of investors demanding the French oil and gas supermajor amend its by-laws to do more under the Paris Agreement goals.

Total’s shareholders approved all resolutions put forward by the company’s board of directors, while a vast majority, or 83.2 percent, of shareholders rejected a resolution that was proposed by a group of shareholders and that the Board of Directors recommended not to approve, Total said in a statement.

Earlier this month, Total became the latest European oil major – after BP, Eni, and Shell – to announce a new climate ambition to get to net zero emissions by 2050. Under Total’s plan, the French company committed to become a Net Zero Emission Company for all its European businesses by 2050.  

“We are determined to advance the energy transition while also growing shareholder value. Today, we are announcing our new Climate Ambition to get to Net Zero by 2050 - together with society. The Board believes that Total’s global roadmap, strategy and actions set out a path that is consistent with goals of the Paris agreement,” chairman and CEO Patrick Pouyanné said in early May.

In recent years, oil and gas majors have been under intense pressure from investors to do more to mitigate climate change and provide greater transparency in their climate-risk and lobbying reporting.

This week, climate-related resolutions were put to the vote at the shareholders’ meetings of the two U.S. supermajors, Exxon and Chevron, too.

Exxon’s shareholders rejected proposals for a report on lobbying and a report on the risks of petrochemical investments.

A shareholder proposal at Chevron, urging it to report on climate lobbying aligned with Paris Agreement Goals, however, passed, as some 53 percent of the votes cast voted for the proposal to report on climate lobbying.

By Tsvetana Paraskova for Oilprice.com

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  • Mamdouh Salameh on May 29 2020 said:
    The overwhelming vote by shareholders of France’s oil giant Total against a proposed resolution demanding that the company do more under the Paris Agreement goals could be the start of a rebellion against rising militancy among environment activists’ and divestment campaigns against oil and gas. This may not be limited to Total’s shareholders but may spread to the whole oil industry.

    In another development a week ago, the CEOs of ExxonMobil and Shell the world’s two biggest supermajors poured cold water on environmental activists’ arguments and made their positions on peak oil demand very clear. Darren Woods the chief executive of ExxonMobil demolished the environmental activists’ arguments when he declared that “the long-term fundamentals that drive our business have not changed." This was echoed by Shell’s CEO Ben Van Beurden who said that it is entirely legitimate to invest in oil and gas because the world demands it". "We have no choice."

    This was echoed also a week ago by the International Energy Agency (IEA) saying “the world hasn’t seen peak oil demand yet, expecting that sooner or later, oil consumption would return to the pre-coronavirus levels and rise above it”.

    Dr Mamdouh G Salameh
    International Oil Economist
    Visiting Professor of Energy Economics at ESCP Europe Business School, London

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