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27 Jan 2020

Angelique Chrisafis, Guardian (UK)

French NGOs and local authorities take court action against Total

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An alliance of 14 French local authorities and several NGOs will take unprecedented court action this week against the French oil firm Total to try to force the firm to drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

It is the first climate change litigation against a private company in France. Campaigners want the court to ensure Total does more to curb its emissions...

Under a French law called the duty of vigilance, large companies must set out clear measures to any prevent human rights violations or environmental damage resulting from their activities.

The non-governmental organisations [...] said Total had not included enough substantial detail in its vigilance plan to curb emissions, and the firm was out of step with the Paris climate agreement’s goals on limiting global heating.

On Tuesday, a court summons will be made in Nanterre, outside Paris.

Sandra Cossart, the head of Sherpa [...] said the case was an “important moment” to show that big companies have to step up on the climate emergency...

The French state has already faced court action over the climate emergency...

Total’s chief executive, Patrick Pouyanné, met the NGOs and local authorities bringing the case last year. The firm is expected to argue that it is meeting its obligations and will produce a report in March setting out the measures taken.

Part of the following timelines

France: NGOs & local authorities to bring case against Total over alleged failure to set out measures on climate change under Duty of Vigilance law

TotalEnergies lawsuit (re climate change, France)