Greenpeace Hit With Suit by Major Oil Firm

TotalEnergies slams environmental group for report that says its 2019 emissions were higher than claimed
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted May 5, 2023 12:54 PM CDT
Greenpeace Hit With Suit by Major Oil Firm
The logo of TotalEnergies is seen at the company's headquarters in Courbevoie, France, near Paris, on March 1.   (AP Photo/Aurelien Morissard)

In November, Greenpeace France put out a damning report that found oil giant TotalEnergies had carbon emissions in 2019 that were nearly four times what the company claimed. Now, Total is suing the environmental group, accusing Greenpeace's report of "false and misleading information," per Reuters. In the report, Greenpeace and Factor-X, a climate consulting firm that helped analyze the data and is also named in Total's complaint, assert that while Total noted in public statements it was responsible for 455 million metric tons of emissions in 2019, the real number was actually closer to 1.64 billion metric tons.

Total has responded by claiming that Greenpeace and Factor-X used shady methodologies that effectively doubled the emissions count. Total's complaint asks for a symbolic 1 euro in damages (around $1.10) if it wins its case—as well as a fine of $2,200 or so for every day that Greenpeace refuses to withdraw the report's publication and stop referring to it. Quartz notes the complaint is a "reversal of an exploding trend in recent years of climate activism through lawsuits," a good number of which have seen the oil firms as the ones being sued.

In fact, Greenpeace sued Total just last year over using "sly propaganda" and "greenwashing" one of its ad campaigns—meaning it made the public believe it was working toward environmentally friendly goals. At any rate, Greenpeace is scoffing at the latest suit. "TotalEnergies wants to drag Greenpeace through a long legal process ... erase our reports and prevent us from denouncing their misleading and climate-killing practices," Jean-François Julliard, head of Greenpeace France, said in a statement. "We will continue to lift the veil on their responsibility in global warming." An initial procedural hearing in the case will take place at the beginning of September. (More Greenpeace stories.)

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