Paris and New York join climate litigation against TotalEnergies

Paris and New York join climate litigation against TotalEnergies

A sign with the logo of French oil and gas company TotalEnergies is pictured at a petrol station in Nantes June 30, 2022. — Reuters pic

Thursday, 22 Sep 2022 4:47 AM MYT

PARIS, Sept 22 — The cities of Paris and New York have joined a coalition of associations and local authorities that are suing oil major TotalEnergies or failing to adequately fight climate change, the coalition said in a statement on Wednesday.

“All the signals are in the red. To get out of this and keep the increase in global temperature below 2°C, the Paris Agreement must absolutely be respected…With this lawsuit, we want to force a major energy player to respect the Paris Agreement,” Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo was quoted as saying.

TotalEnergies said in a statement it regretted the litigation, adding that it viewed its commitment to renewable energy and electricity as “a much more efficient response to the climate challenge than litigation”.

The legal action that started in January 2020 uses a 2017 French law requiring major French companies to draft vigilance plans to prevent environmental damage.

The coalition wants a judge to order TotalEnergies to “take the necessary measures to drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions and align itself with the objectives of the Paris Agreement”, in a move that it said would be “similar to the Shell decision in the Netherlands”.

In a landmark May 2021 ruling a Dutch court ordered Royal Dutch Shell to accelerate its carbon emission reduction target.

The coalition made the announcement that New York and Paris were joining the fight following a hearing at the Paris Judicial Court on Wednesday.

Some 16 local authorities and six NGOs — including Notre Affaire a Tous, Sherpa and Amnesty International France — have now joined the TotalEnergies lawsuit.

A judge could rule on the case “at best in March 2023”, Jeremie Suissa, the head of NGO Notre Affaire a Tous said. — Reuters