Greenpeace sues TotalEnergies, the French oil giant, over a report on emissions

TotalEnergies, the French oil giant, has filed a lawsuit against Greenpeace France as well as the climate consulting company Factor-X for a report that claimed the company had massively understated its greenhouse gas emissions in 2019. Total announced this on Wednesday.

The civil complaint was filed on 28th April and seeks to have a ruling made that the November publication contained “false or misleading information”, and a judicial order to stop all references and withdraw the publication under penalty of EUR2,000 per day (PS1,760), plus a symbolic EUR1 as damages. The Paris judicial court will hold a first procedural hearing on 7 September to establish a schedule for arguments. However, it will take several months until a judge starts to rule on the merits.

Greenpeace, Factor-X and other groups have accused BP of emitting about 1,64bn tonnes equivalent carbon dioxide in 2019, but only revealing 455m tonnes through public statements.

TotalEnergies countered by saying that the report double counted emissions, using methods which were morally detrimental to the listed company.

TotalEnergies’ spokesperson stated that “this is a matter of principle and a court judgment will not stop Greenpeace criticising us and our climate policy if they so choose, but it will remind them to be rigourous and honest in their public discussion on such important issues involving a publicly listed company.”

The company spokesperson stated that the main objective of the company was to get the court to recognize the knowingly false nature the report. Factor-X, the firm responsible for the maths, presented itself as a specialist in carbon emissions accounting.

Factor-X was not available for immediate comment.

Greenpeace claimed that the lawsuit was an effort to silence it before the 26th May TotalEnergies General Assembly, where activist shareholders are pushing for stricter climate obligations.

In protest against the global oil and gas project of the company, environmental groups have demanded that entry be blocked.

Greenpeace France Director Jean-Francois Julliard said that TotalEnergies wanted to drag Greenpeace into a lengthy legal process… erase our reports, and prevent us from criticizing their misleading and climate-killing methods.

We will continue to reveal their role in global warming.