French oil giant TotalEnergies used its record 2022 profits to “double down” on fossil fuel investments, a report released on Thursday by research group Oil Change International found.
The report found that the company ranked third in the world, and first out of international oil majors, for approving new oil and gas expansions. This comes despite guidelines from the International Energy Agency stating that in order to maintain targets set out in the Paris Agreement to limit global warming to below 1.5°C, there can be no fresh investment in fossil fuel supply projects.
The report also rates the company’s climate plans as “grossly insufficient” when compared with the goals of the Paris Agreement. Last year for every dollar spent on “low-carbon energies”, which includes natural gas, the company spent a total of $8 on investments in oil and gas and on shareholder dividends, the report states.
Between 2023 and 2025, the company remains on track to approve new fossil fuel projects that would cumulatively lead to the emission of over 1.6 billion tonnes of CO2 pollution over their expected lifetimes.
The report also states that in 2022, TotalEnergies’ CO2 pollution of 429 million tonnes was greater than France’s gross national emissions, which came in at an estimated 408 million tonnes.
“TotalEnergies’ plans and investments are strikingly inconsistent with the urgent need to phase out fossil fuels. The company’s continued focus on oil and gas production undermines efforts to limit global warming to 1.5°C,” Oil Change International global industry campaign manager David Tong said in a statement.
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“Peer reviewed research shows that burning just the oil, gas and coal in developed, operating fields means failure for the Paris Agreement,” he added.
TotalEnergies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Last week, proxy advisor Institutional Shareholder Services (ISS) recommended that investors in TotalEnergies back an activist shareholder resolution calling for tougher action by the company on its emissions. The company has said that it will urge investors to vote against the resolution at its annual general meeting on Friday.
Earlier this week, Oil Change International published analysis showing that OECD countries supported fossil fuel exports by an average of $41bn between 2018 and 2020. This was almost five times that of clean energy exports, which stood at $8.5bn.
Samuel Okulony of the Environment Governance Institute in Uganda said: “The global south, burdened by the impacts of climate change, can no longer shoulder the heavy costs of adaptation, while OECD countries persist in providing export support for fossil fuels. It is time for OECD countries to honour their commitments and cease such support.”