France: NGOs & local authorities threaten to sue Total if it fails to adequately address climate change crisis

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Article
25 October 2018

French Communities Demand Climate Action by Oil Giant Total

Author: Dana Drugmand, Climate Liability News

In a letter addressed to Total’s chief executive on [the 22 of October], representatives of 13 cities and four organizations said [oil and gas company Total] is not meeting its legal obligations under [the 2017 French Duty of Vigilance Law] that requires the biggest French companies to assess and prevent impacts from their operations on human rights and the environment...

Under the law, two of the requirements for the vigilance plan are a “mapping that identifies, analyzes and ranks risks,” and “appropriate action to mitigate risks or prevent serious violations.” Total’s plan fails both of these requirements, according to the letter...

“The French Duty of Vigilance Law, the first of its kind in the world, provides us with the legal basis to compel Total to take climate risk into account and take appropriate actions to reduce it,” [stated] Sébastien Mabile, lawyer with the Paris-based firm Seattle Avocats...

The French cities and groups are [also] demanding that Total “conform to the climate goal fixed by the Paris Agreement to limit global warming at 1.5°C in order to prevent a climate crisis.” 

The communities have made commitments to environmental sustainability and implementing transformative policies and practices...

[Also refers to Shell]

 

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Article
23 October 2018

1,5°C: 13 French local authorities and 4 NGOs ask the French oil company Total to prevent global warming

Author: Notre Affaire A Tous, Sherpa, Les Eco Maires & ZEA

Following the release of the latest IPCC 1,5°C report, 13 cities & 4 French NGOs call on the French oil giant Total to take into account the impacts of its activities on climate, as requested by...the recent...duty of vigilance law...

[As Total is] the 19th biggest polluter globally, [it] is responsible for...more than the two thirds of the [GHG] emissions emitted by the country...[thus, failing its first vigilance plan]

[This pushed] local communities / cities and NGOs to request the company to comply with its obligations, [among which:] the cities and local communities of Arcueil, Bayonne, Bègles, Correns, Est ensemble, Grande-Synthe, Grenoble, La Possession (la Réunion), Mouans-Sartoux, Nanterre, Saint-Yon, Sevran, and Vitry-le-François...

Together with...NGOs..., [they] are launching...what is the first global interpellation for awareness for an oil and gas firm with regards to the climate risks and its duty to contribute to the protection of human beings and the planet...

The energy sector and in particular the fossil fuel companies are just as responsible as the states in the context of climate change...

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Item
22 October 2018

Letter by Seattle Avocats to Mr. Patrick Pouyanné, Total's CEO, concerning the application of the French duty of vigilance law

Author: Sébastien Mabile & François de Cambiaire, Seattle Avocats

We have been commissioned by...[thirteen mayors of French territorial communities], as well as by [four] NGOs Les Eco Maires”, “Notre Affaireà Tous”, “Sherpa” et “Zéa” to challenge you on the respect of the duty of vigilance which is imposed on your corporate group and which extends to climate risks...

[Richard Heede's work has shown that Total was responsible for 0.7% of all global greenhouse gas emissions in 2015, and 0.9% for the period 1988/2015.]

[Nevertheless, your vigilance plan] does not reflect the reality of the impacts of your activities and the risks of serious damages to the climate system that they induce.

First, the published risk map does not mention the climate change risk resulting from the global increase in greenhouse gas emissions from your own operations...

Secondly, the vigilance plan does not include any appropriate action to mitigate the risks and prevent serious harms arising from climate change...

[Your] plan will have to incorporate the actions that you will not fail to adopt in terms of mitigation of climate risk and prevention of serious damage to the environment and human rights that result.

You will thus draw the necessary consequences for your business...

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