Total leaves the American Petroleum Institute

Article by Amanda Doyle

TOTAL has become the first oil major to leave the American Petroleum Institute (API), a trade association and lobby group, citing differences in climate policy.

Total announced a commitment last year to be net zero by 2050, and released its Getting to Net Zero report shortly afterwards. As part of its strategy, membership to industry associations will only continue if they are aligned with Total’s climate policy. Total has been “partially aligned” to the API’s policy in previous years, but divergences remained which included the API supporting the rollback of regulations on methane emissions, the API’s opposition to electric vehicles through its membership of the Transportation Fairness Alliance, and the API’s different position on carbon pricing. Total also said that the API supported candidates in the recent elections who were opposed to the US participating in the Paris Agreement.

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman and CEO of Total, said: “The Group acknowledges the API's considerable contribution, for over a century, to the development of our industry. Nevertheless, as part of our Climate Ambition made public in May 2020, we are committed to ensuring, in a transparent manner, that the industry associations of which we are a member adopt positions and messages that are aligned with those of the Group in the fight against climate change. This transparency responds to our stakeholders' expectations, as well as being an essential guarantee of the credibility of our strategy."

Lauren Pagel, Policy Director at Earthworks, said: “BP, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil and others need to follow Total’s lead and leave API. We must transition away from fossil fuels. Big Oil needs to get on board or get out of the way, not try to have their cake and eat it too, which is what they’re doing with continued API membership.”

BP and Shell have left other trade associations but continue to be members of the API despite only being “partially aligned” on climate policy.

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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