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Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala

Zainab Calcuttawala is an American journalist based in Morocco. She completed her undergraduate coursework at the University of Texas at Austin (Hook’em) and reports on…

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Total Jumps On Renewables Bandwagon, Announces Ambitious Goals

Total announced, in a strategy paper on Tuesday, that it aims to have renewable energy make up 20 percent of its portfolio by 2035.

The company said its La Mede refinery in France will be transformed into a “world-class” bio-refinery by 2017.

It will also strategically decide which areas to drill for oil and natural gas by reducing its exposure to tar sands and letting the Arctic ice pack be.

“The 2C scenario [of the International Energy Agency] highlights that a part of the world’s fossil fuel resources cannot be developed,” the company’s report said in reference to the plan that would limit the global temperature increase to two degrees on the Centigrade scale.

"Total’s growth strategy takes [the 2C scenario] into account,” the document read.

Related: Mozambique’s LNG Dreams Falling Apart

The report’s foreword, written by chief executive Patrick Pouyanne, stressed the importance of the Paris agreement in shaping the French company’s future.

“COP21 was definitely a watershed,” Pouyanne said. “Despite the current instability worldwide, 195 countries managed to unite around an ambitious climate agreement. That sends a strong message.”

Total has demonstrated a commitment to clean energy in the past: It spent more than US$1 billion to buy the battery manufacturer Saft, and bought a majority stake in SunPower, a solar energy company.

Related: BP Faces Setback In World’s Largest Unexplored Oil Basin

Other major oil companies have also jumped on the renewable energy bandwagon.

Shell recently announced a $1.7 billion project to create a renewable energy division, and ExxonMobil - a longtime denier of the effects of human activity on climate change - said it would investigate fuel cell technology to recapture carbon from the atmosphere.

ExxonMobil and Chevron will host their Annual General Meetings on Wednesday, but their executives have reportedly opposed moves by shareholders to add climate change experts to their boards or assess the business implications of a 2C scenario.

By Zainab Calcuttawala for Oilprice.com

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