Total Exits American Petroleum Institute Over Climate Change
By Dieter Holger
Total SE exited the American Petroleum Institute, a lobbying
group that counts major oil companies among its members, after
deciding it wasn't aligned with the organization on climate
Paris-based Total, Europe's second largest publicly-traded
oil-and-gas company by market value, said Friday that it was only
"partially aligned" with the API's positions on climate-change
policy and wouldn't renew its membership for 2021, citing
disagreements with the API's stances against electric-vehicle
subsidies, carbon pricing and methane emission regulations.
"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," Patrick Pouyanne, chairman and chief
executive of Total, said in prepared remarks.
In response to Total's disagreements, an API spokesperson said
the organization doesn't "support subsidizing energy because it
distorts the market and ultimately proves harmful to
"We believe that the world's energy and environmental challenges
are large enough that many different approaches are necessary to
solve them, and we benefit from a diversity of views," the API
spokesperson said. "Our industry's focus continues to be on taking
meaningful action and shaping policy at all levels of government to
reduce U.S. emissions and ensure access to affordable and reliable
Total's move comes amid mounting pressure from investors on
oil-and-gas companies to cease lobbying efforts that might curtail
In May 2020, Total pledged to reach net-zero greenhouse-gas
emissions across its operations and the energy it sells in Europe
by 2050, following a campaign from institutional investors
representing more than $40 trillion in assets. It outlined more
specifics in September 2020.
Founded in 1919, API said it has more than 600 members "from the
largest major oil company to the smallest of independents" across
the U.S. oil-and-gas industry, including Chevron Corp., Exxon Mobil
Corp. and ConocoPhillips. The group also counts European
oil-and-gas companies BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC, Equinor ASA
and Repsol SA among its ranks, according to the membership list on
"Total's decision to quit API is a sign of the times and this
heaps pressure on Equinor, Shell and BP to follow suit very soon,"
Jeanett Bergan, head of responsible investment at Norway's $80
billion pension fund KLP, said.
In 2018, the API's total expenses were $242 million, including
$16.9 million for lobbying and $42.3 million for advertising and
promotion, according to its most recently available tax filing. The
nonprofit InfluenceMap gives the API an "F," its worst grade, due
to its lobbying against climate-change policy.
Write to Dieter Holger at email@example.com;
(END) Dow Jones Newswires
January 15, 2021 11:09 ET (16:09 GMT)
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