Total sets net zero target

Article by Amanda Doyle

TOTAL has become the latest oil major, along with BP, Shell, and Repsol, to pledge to reach net zero emissions in its operations worldwide by 2050.

It has also committed to net zero for its scope 3 emissions in Europe over the same time frame. Total aims to become a “broad-energy company” by offering low-carbon and carbon-neutral power alongside oil and gas.

It said that it would work to reduce the carbon intensity of its energy products by 15% by 2030 and 35% by 2040, reaching 60% by 2050. It has set a renewable generation target of 25 GW by 2025. It will also increase its capital expenditure on low-carbon energy to 20% by 2030, up from 10% today. Total has also said that it will advocate for policies that support net zero across the wider economy. The strategy will be updated every five years.

Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman of the Board, said: “Total is committed to helping solve the dual challenge of providing more energy with fewer emissions. We are determined to advance the energy transition while also growing shareholder value. Today, we are announcing our new Climate Ambition to get to Net Zero by 2050 – together with society. The Board believes that Total’s global roadmap, strategy and actions set out a path that is consistent with goals of the Paris agreement.”

However, Total’s plans have come under criticism from some shareholders who want the company to set absolute emissions targets in line with the Paris Agreement, and to take account of scope 3 emissions worldwide, not just in Europe.

Pouyanné said: “As the EU has set the target to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and thereby lead the way for other regions to become carbon neutral over time, Total takes that commitment to become neutral for all its businesses in Europe.”

Jeanne Martin, Campaign Manager at ShareAction, said: “Total’s ambition to be a net zero business in regions that have already committed to net zero is totally insincere. If a country has already committed to net zero emissions, it follows that companies operating within that country will have to bring their own footprint in line with that policy in any event.”

Critics claimed that Total has no medium- and long-term targets in line with the Paris Agreement. The company was also criticised for its short-term target of reducing carbon intensity by 15% by 2030, which is not seen as enough to meet the 1.5oC scenario. According to The Financial Times, Total’s absolute emissions could rise even if the carbon intensity of its products fall.

According to The Australian, Total has also revealed plans to supply energy to large customers such as industry and government in Australia as part of an expansion in the country. The Australian reports that Total is planning a shift to power and renewable industries to diversify its oil and gas business. It already sells electricity to the Gladstone LNG project in Queensland, in which it owns a 27.5% stake.

Separately, the South Australia Energy Minister has announced plans to have 100% renewable electricity by 2030. The state already obtains around half of its electricity from renewables. The Australian reports that the national power grid operator would require market and regulatory changes to be made in order to achieve 75% renewable power by 2025.

Article by Amanda Doyle

Staff Reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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