Total Withdraws from American Petroleum Institute over Differing Views on Climate Change

OE Staff
Friday, January 15, 2021

French oil major Total has decided not to renew its membership with the U.S. oil and gas industry association American Petroleum Institute (API), over the differing climate positions, as well as over API's support for candidates who oppose Paris Agreement.

" Following a detailed analysis of the climate positions of the American Petroleum Institute (API), Total announces its decision not to renew its membership for 2021," Total said Friday.

Total explained that it, each year, assesses the main industry associations of which it is a member to ensure they are aligned with the Group’s climate positions.

The alignment review includes six key points such as the position that the link between human activity and climate change is an established fact, support for the objectives of the Paris Agreement, Total's belief in the necessity to implement carbon pricing, the company's confidence in the key role that natural gas plays in the energy transition, support for policies and initiatives that promote the development of renewable energy, and support for the development of CO2 capture and storage.

Following Total's 2019 and 2020 reviews, API's positions were assessed as "partially aligned" with those of Total.

Total said that certain divergences, which have been discussed within the association, remain today.

See below the list of divergences between Total and API, as shared by Total on Friday:

  • regarding the role of natural gas, API maintains its support for the rollback of U.S. regulation on methane emissions, which Total opposed in November 2019;
  • regarding transport decarbonization, API is part of the Transportation Fairness Alliance, which is opposed to subsidies for electric vehicles;
  • regarding the carbon pricing principle, API expresses differing positions to those of Total.

Moreover, Total said, API gave its support during the recent elections to candidates who argued against the United States’ participation in the Paris Agreement.

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total said: "The Group acknowledges the API's considerable contribution, for over a century, to the development of our industry. Nevertheless, as part of our Climate Ambition made public in May 2020, we are committed to ensuring, in a transparent manner, that the industry associations of which we are a member adopt positions and messages that are aligned with those of the Group in the fight against climate change."

"This transparency responds to our stakeholders' expectations, as well as being an essential guarantee of the credibility of our strategy."

In a response on Twitter, API said:"We thank Total for their membership in this critical forum for our industry. We believe that the world’s energy & environmental challenges are large enough that many different approaches are necessary to solve them & we benefit from a diversity of views.

"As a member-driven org, we don’t support subsidizing energy because it distorts the market & ultimately proves harmful to consumers. Our focus continues to be on taking meaningful action & shaping policy to reduce emissions & ensure access to affordable, reliable energy."  

Categories: Energy Activity Climate Climate Change

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