Total in France responds after paper details its 50-year climate history


French oil major TotalEnergies pushes back detailed claims that its companies were certainly aware of the threat of climate change by 1971, while making a shift in the defense of its products and messages over the decades.

The 50-year description of Total’s commitment to the fight against climate change was published Tuesday in an academic article. The investigation of historical documents and other information was carried out by researchers from Stanford University in the United States and Sciences Po and the University of Paris Sciences et Lettres in France.

“We show that Total staff received warnings about the catastrophic global warming potential of its products in 1971, became more fully aware of the problem in the 1980s,” the article’s authors said.

After that, they add, Total began “to promote doubt about the scientific basis of global warming in the late 1980s, and finally adopted a position in the late 1990s to publicly accept climate science as anything. by promoting political backwardness or policies peripheral to the control of fossil fuels. “

Total released a statement Wednesday equating its knowledge of climate science in 1971 with that which was publicly available in scientific journals of the time.

“It is therefore wrong to claim that the climate risk was obscured by Total or Elf, whether in the 1970s or since,” the company said. The company also said that the timeline of the authors of the article proves that Total and Elf accepted the findings of climate science “openly and publicly” decades ago.

“TotalEnergies deplores the fact of pointing the finger at a situation of fifty years ago, without underlining the efforts, changes, progress and investments made since then,” added the company.

Image: total file

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