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A French climate alliance comprised of non-governmental organisations and local authorities has launched legal action against French energy company Total to make the company reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

The alliance accuses Total of ignoring its legal obligation to take measures in order to prevent environmental violations, according to Associated Press. It wants Total to align its goals with the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement to avoid climate change by limiting global warming to below 2°C.

Spokesperson for climate justice association Notre Affaire à Tous (NAAT – “An Issue For Us All”) Cecilia Rinaudo said: “This is the first time a French private company will be taken to court and have to answer questions about the politics of climate. It must be held accountable and be vigilant about the climate in its ambitions.”

She added that a legal document starting the litigation has been handed to a court.

Total said on its website that it has made environment and community engagement an integral part of their strategy, saying: “We have singled out five drivers to tackle climate issues: enhancing energy efficiency, growing in natural gas, stepping up our low-carbon electricity activities, promoting sustainable biofuels and investing in carbon storage.

“Energy efficiency is the key to the ongoing reduction of our direct greenhouse gas emissions, already 25% lower in our operated activities than they were in 2010. Less flaring and steps to optimise our facilities are what helped bring them down.”

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Total has not yet responded to the alliance’s accusations. Offshore Technology has reached out to the company for comment.