Tear gas taints the air as TotalEnergies AGM rejects climate activist resolution


By Benjamin Mallet and America Hernandez

PARIS (Reuters) – TotalEnergies shareholders rejected an activist resolution on Friday urging faster cuts to the oil major’s greenhouse gas emissions programme after climate protesters sought to disrupt its annual general meeting.

The resolution, filed by climate group Follow This and 17 institutional investors with a total 1.1 trillion euros under management, obtained 30.44% of votes, up from a 17% vote share result in 2020, the last time a similar resolution was put forth.

Outside the venue, French riot police used pepper spray against several hundred climate activists who tried to disrupt the meeting.

The smell of teargas from earlier clashes hung in the air as police escorted shareholders and dragged some protesters away to free a path. All those attending the meeting were required to place phones in sealed satchels for its duration.


“I regret that this meeting does not take place in the conditions that it should,” Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne told the meeting as it began on time. “In any case, I hope dialogue will follow.”

As climate activists have intensified demands oil companies set tougher targets on greenhouse gas emissions, protesters tried to storm the stage of Shell’s shareholder meeting earlier this week and disrupted BP’s AGM last month.

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

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

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

TotalEnergies’ internal climate plan, proposing more modest cuts from gases at its directly-owned facilities, was approved with 88.76% of votes.

The company does not envisage a major overall reduction in client-produced emissions by 2030.

Scientists say the world needs to cut greenhouse gas emissions by about 43% from 2019 levels by 2030 to meet the 2015 Paris Agreement’s 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 one banner held up by the demonstrators, who included Greenpeace activists.

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