French oil giant TotalEnergies sues Greenpeace over emissions report

French oil major TotalEnergies has sued environmental group Greenpeace France and climate consulting firm Factor-X over a report claiming the company vastly underestimated its greenhouse gas emissions in 2019, Total said on Wednesday.

The civil complaint, notified on April 28, requests that the November publication be declared to contain “false and misleading information”, a court order to withdraw the publication and cease all references to it under penalty of a €2,000 daily fine. , plus a symbolic €1 fine in damages.

A first procedural hearing will take place on September 7 at the Paris judicial court to establish a timetable for the arguments, although it will be several months before a judge begins to rule on the merits of the case.

Greenpeace and X-Factor accused the oil major of having emitted around 1.64 billion tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2019, but only disclosed 455 million tons in public statements.

TotalEnergies responded that the report double-counted emissions by deliberately using dubious methodologies, which were morally damaging to the publicly traded company.

“This is a matter of principle, and a court ruling will not stop Greenpeace from continuing to criticize us and our climate strategy if they wish, but it will remind them that public debate on issues with so much at stake for a listed company requires rigor. and good faith,” a TotalEnergies spokesperson said.

The TotalEnergies spokesperson added that the company’s main goal was for the court to recognize the knowingly false nature of the report, as the X-Factor firm behind the math presented itself as an expert in the field of carbon emissions accounting. .

Factor-X could not immediately be reached for comment.

Greenpeace said the lawsuit was an attempt to silence her ahead of TotalEnergies’ May 26 general meeting, where activist shareholders will push for tougher climate commitments. Environmental groups have called for the gate to be blocked in protest of the company’s global oil and gas projects.

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“TotalEnergies wants to drag Greenpeace through a lengthy legal process… to erase our reports and prevent us from exposing their deceptive and climate-killing practices,” Greenpeace France director Jean-François Julliard said. “We will continue to lift the veil on their responsibility for global warming.”

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