November 29, 2021

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For 50 years, the oil team knew about it, but it remained skeptical

This is a dive into Total’s archives, especially Total magazine, designed for its interaction, dedicated to French researchers, a sociologist and two historians. In a science article published on October 19th. They wanted to shed light on how Total has handled the results of research conducted in climate science over the past 50 years.

It looks like, Since 1971, Total was aware of the adverse weather conditions of its operations. However, the oil group has remained skeptical for years, trying to thwart attempts to curb the use of fossil fuels.

That’s all In the 90s.

We already know that large oil groups, especially American groups, have weighed all their weight against the principles of climate change and that they have financed climate skeptics. So the French oil companies did not leave.

We know it as early as 1971, but we ignore or reduce it

Like many companies, especially large companies, the entire team has long attached importance to its communication.

Like other companies, Total has published numerous documents and articles throughout its history, especially in reviews and journals published by the group itself. In particular, CNRS research director Christoph Ponnuyil, sociologist Pierre-Louis Sauquett, and historian Benjamin Frenda of Stanford University in the United States viewed the archives. The company and Elf, another large French oil company, had previously competed with Total, but since 1999, have been part of the Total Group. They have just published the results of their research In an article in the journal Global Climate Change.

These researchers, in internal releases, warned the entire staff about the possible effects of petroleum products on global warming.

Since 1971One release in the overall review explained that fossil fuels lead to combustion “To release high levels of carbon dioxide” And an increase in the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. A “Multiplication […] Is very worrying “, Referred to the text of 1971. However, the team ignored the matter, researchers note.

At that time, 18 people, including 11 firefighters, were killed and more than 80 were injured when the Faisal refinery (Ron Department) exploded in 1966. At the same time, the 1967 oil tanker Tory Canyon was wrecked and its trail reached the French coast. The picture of the oil sector in the early 1970s was so negative that it did not make the case worse by highlighting the sector’s effects on global warming …

So we reduce. UCSIP, the Association of Petroleum Industries Trade Unions or the Federation of French Petroleum Industries, arranges to mitigate the effects of global warming. In one post she speaks “The effect of a slight warming of the Earth’s climate at the end of the century”. However, there will be an impact of human activities “Questionable”.

80s: Climate science challenged

Taken from our October 8 news release:

In the mid-1980s, Exxon, an American company through the Oil Industry Environment Association (IPIECA), is leading the international campaign by oil groups. “Challenging Climate Science and Weakening Controls on Fossil Fuels”, Researchers continue. The energy mix wants to oppose policies that target the role of fossil fuels.

Researchers refer to Bernard Tremire as the director of Total Elf Ecology from 1983 to 2003. Bernard Tremire, quoted in the researchers’ article, says he was informed of the importance of global warming during the 1984 IPIECA meeting. He advised the Elf management team “Get ready to defend yourself”

“The novelty is that we thought only the Exxon and US teams would double. We feel that our French oil champions participated in this event at least between 1987 and 1994.”, Christophe Bonneuil explained to AFP, talking about the “factory of ignorance”.

At the same time, Total and Elf was done “Success, pressure against policies aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions”, The study of French researchers suggests that when seeking to gain environmental credibility through voluntary commitments.

Since the 90s: The reality of global warming is undeniable, but we continue to invest in oil

In the late 1990s, The attitude of the oil industry and is changing overall. IPCC Climate Experts released their first report in 1990. The Earth Summit in Rio in 1992 led to the adoption of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC). The Kyoto Protocol was adopted in 1997.

From that time, “The French oil industry ceases to publicly question climate science, but continues to increase its investment in oil and gas production.”, To emphasize “Uncertainty, (climate) mitigation and distraction from fossil fuels are the root causes of global warming.” Global climate, researchers continue.

In the mid-2000s, a new strategy. The Total Group, which incorporated the Elf in 1999, held a conference on climate change in September 2006. Its CEO, Thierry Desmeret, acknowledged the reality of climate change and the IPCC’s decisions.

Total “Begins to promote the division of roles between science and business, where science describes climate change and companies say it will solve it”, Thus its legitimacy affects public and business policy and its highlight “Energy change”.

A green touch

Since then, the group as a whole has diversified its operations, although oil activity has been key. For example, in 2016, we saw the wholesale acquisition of Lambris, a supplier and manufacturer of Belgian “green” electricity.

Last May, Total renamed itself “TotalEnergies”. An icon.

The Total Panel reported on the findings of three French researchers on aggregate and the evolution of Elfin strategy in relation to climate change in a response to AFP before the scientific article was published. “The knowledge of Total Energies about climate hazard is in no way different from the knowledge of scientific publications of the time (1970s: Editor’s note) “.

“Total executives […] Recognizes the existence of climate change and its relationship with the activities of the oil industry “and since 2015, the company aims to be a key partner in energy change”, “he said. We are totally committed to this reaction to AFP.

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