How to dismantle oil and gas giant TotalEnergies

  • The report “TotalEnergies: This is what a total phase-out of fossil fuels looks like” provides concrete pathways to shut down the fossil fuel industry.

As representatives from across the world negotiate at the UN Climate Conference (COP28) in Dubai along with close to 2,500 fossil fuel lobbyists, debates on the urgent need to phase out fossil fuels are taking center stage.

On Friday 8 December and the Multinationals Observatory will launch the report “TotalEnergies: This is what a total phase-out of fossil fuels looks like” with a press conference at COP28. The report outlines why it is necessary to dismantle the fossil fuel industry for the world to transition to clean energy, and how to do it. Using TotalEnergies as its main case study, it proposes three possible pathways to make this dismantlement happen in an equitable way that supports urgent climate action, investment in clean energy, and industry workers’ rights and future.

Clémence Dubois, Associate Director of Global Campaigns, and coordinator of the report:

“Fossil fuel giants are trying to convince us that the end of their industry is impossible, insisting that the world’s energy fate lies solely in their hands. To perpetuate policy inertia, they have taken over the United Nations climate talks and negotiations – close to 2,500 fossil fuel lobbyists are registered at COP28, including TotalEnergies’ CEO Patrick Pouyanné, who is part of the French delegation! However, at the heart of their greenwashing lies a pivotal truth: they aren’t the solution but the barrier. As the urgency of the climate crisis reaches unprecedented levels, the imperative is crystal clear: we must liberate ourselves from their grip to forge a sustainable path forward. Our politicians must urgently explore every possible pathway to phase out the fossil fuel industry.”

Olivier Petitjean, Co-founder of the Multinationals Observatory and co-author of the report:

“Shutting down the fossil fuel industry can be seen as a radical idea, but it is high time that it is included in climate discussions. If we are to initiate a real exit from fossil fuels, we have no other choice but to attack the economic and political weight of the fossil fuel majors. They won’t change by themselves. The climate crisis and its impacts are accelerating and this, like war or pandemic situations, can bring about rapid changes. Scenarios that were previously unimaginable scenarios can become credible, and even unavoidable. We want to challenge political decision-makers to imagine them, and to implement them.

Nicolas Haeringer, Associate Director for Mouvement Partnerships, 

“The presence of TotalEnergies’ CEO Patrick Pouyanné at COP as part of the French delegation is a scandal. This means the French government allowed Patrick Pouyanné to come to COP to try and push for more business-as-usual, even though TotalEnergies belongs to the problem, not the solution. Just this week, seven Ugandan students have been arrested for opposing TotalEnergies’ East African Crude Oil Pipeline (EACOP) project. Fossil fuel polluters should be out of COP. Patrick Pouyanné should be out of COP. And the seven students should be out of jail.”

WHAT: Report Launch Press Conference

WHEN: Friday 8 December, 11-11:30am Dubai time / 10-10:30am EAT / 8-8:30am CET / 7-7:30am GMT

WHERE: Press conference room 2 (Zone: B6, Building 77) and online on the UNFCCC livestream

WHO: Confirmed Speakers

  • Nicolas Haeringer, Associate Director, Mouvement Partnerships,
  • Ahmed El Droubi, International Campaigns Manager, Climate Action Network International
  • María Laura Castillo Diaz, environmental lawyer and coordinator at the Fundación Ambiente y Recursos Naturales (FARN), Argentina
  • Lorraine Chiponda, Convenor, Don’t Gas Africa
  • Moderated by Omar Elmawi,  Co-convenor, Africa Movement Building Space

The three pathways to dismantle TotalEnergies as presented in the report are:

  • A comprehensive climate, environmental, financial and lobbying regulatory reform package in order to ensure TotalEnergies serves public interest, and not just the ones of its leaders and shareholders.
  • A democratic takeover of the company from within, so that employees and stakeholders beyond only shareholders drive the company’s strategy.
  • A nationalisation of TotalEnergies to transform the corporation into a public interest organisation free from the pressures of the financial market, with an inclusive governance and democratic approach to driving a process of exiting fossil fuel production.


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