The Salle Pleyel rang hollow. Inside, many empty rows. Because, outside, about 250 activists from environmental defense associations prevented almost all the shareholders of the TotalEnergies group (formerly Total) from entering the concert hall on 8and arrondissement of Paris, where the oil and gas company had convened its general meeting, Wednesday, May 25 in the morning – the first to be held face-to-face for two years due to Covid-19.
The civil disobedience operation, on the initiative of various non-governmental organizations – including Greenpeace – aimed to push the major to put an end to its expansion in fossil fuels and to cease all its activities in Russia. “TotalEnergies invests in many climate-killing projects, finances the worst regimes and makes record profits, it’s so cynical”, denounces the environmental activist Camille Etienne, present during the blockage. Despite this “danger for the climate, peace and human rights”, Emmanuel Macron and the government “continue to support the company”believes Elodie Nace, spokesperson for Alternatiba and ANV-COP21, also involved in this action.
In the viewfinder of the activists, figure in particular the huge Eacop oil pipeline, which must be built between Uganda and Tanzania, and would have significant consequences for the environment and the local populations. More broadly, the major “develops dozens of projects and is involved in twenty-four carbon bombs”according to the expression used by Lucie Pinson, director of the NGO Reclaim Finance, to designate installations that will emit more than one billion tonnes of CO2 over the duration of their operation. And this, while the International Energy Agency has called for no more investment in new oil or gas infrastructures, to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050 and respect the Paris agreement.
Activists reviled by shareholders
Patrick Pouyanné regretted these disruptions which, according to the group’s Chairman and CEO, “will not have allowed dialogue and exchange”. From videos circulated on social networks showing shareholders invective the activists, with “bitch” Where “die and don’t piss off”.
In recent days, other activists have challenged, at general meetings, the leaders of Crédit Agricole, Amundi, BNP Paribas, Axa or Société Générale, in order to confront them with their support for the major and its oil and gas expansion. “The climate movement is getting structured to identify the real culprits of climate chaos”judge Lucie Pinson.
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