25 May 2023
Groundbreaking analysis reveals greenwashing of TotalEnergies’ climate change projects with renewables
25 May 2023
Ahead of TotalEnergies’ Annual General Meeting, as citizens and scientists denounce the company’s fossil fuel investments and call on its shareholders to vote against its so-called “climate strategy”, BLOOM publishes a ground-breaking investigation “The Renewable Energy Joker” which reveals TotalEnergies’ instrumentalization of its investments in renewable energy to mask its fossil fuel investments and “greenwash” its oil rigs.
By analyzing all of the company’s official press releases since 1 January 2021, we found that TotalEnergies has announced 30 new fossil fuel projects in the last two years, in defiance of the IPCC and the International Energy Agency’s recommendations. In 66% of cases, TotalEnergies simultaneously mentioned renewable energy projects in an attempt to make its climate-wrecking projects more acceptable and in order to conjure up the alchemical chimera of “clean” fossil fuels.
The myth of TotalEnergies’ energy transition
BLOOM has investigated all of TotalEnergies’ new projects around the world, using both fossil fuels and renewable energies, and found that in the US, Qatar, Brazil, Uganda, Angola, Iraq and elsewhere in the world, TotalEnergies is implementing a cynical policy of deploying renewables alongside its new fossil fuel projects in order to “greenwash” its climate-wrecking infrastructure. TotalEnergies goes so far as to power some of its fossil fuel sites with wind and solar power in order to label their gas or oil as “clean”, shielding their disastrous carbon footprint.
Since the publication of the International Energy Agency’s new scenario in 2021, the international community’s roadmap has been clear: no new investment in the exploration and production of new fossil fuels should be approved if we want to limit global warming to 1.5°C. Our investigation shows that TotalEnergies has completely disregarded this existential injunction: since 1 January 2021, 30 new fossil projects have been announced by TotalEnergies despite scientific recommendations(1).
Diverting renewable energy for fossil fuel projects
Our analysis shows that renewable energies are used as a tool by TotalEnergies and as a Joker card in a well-established, systematized strategy that has become a recurrent system: in 66% of its press releases mentioning new fossil projects, TotalEnergies highlights renewable investments that do not change the harmfulness of its new fossil projects. The wind and solar power developed by TotalEnergies is sometimes even diverted from its primary purpose, which is to supply the electricity grid with renewable energy, in order to “greenwash” its gas and oil sites, as if it were possible to decarbonize fossil fuels and honor TotalEnergies’ alchemical chimera of providing “cleaner oil and gas (…)”(2). Cynicism has reached its paroxysm.
Engineers working in the renewable energy sector have expressed their anger and concern about the diversion of “green” investments by TotalEnergies. Eager to put their skills and convictions at the service of the energy transition, having seen oil giants deny global warming for decades and aware of the need to finance R&D in renewable energies in order to move away from fossil fuels, they refuse to accept the misuse of renewables and denounce in turn the “ineptitude” and “threat” that this greenwashing represents.
TotalEnergies’ solar panels don’t excuse its carbon bombs
In contrast to its grand declarations, TotalEnergies is preparing to set off a series of new climate bombs, relying on its investments in renewable energies – which represented less than 20% of its investments in 2022(3), and which will only amount to 15% of its energy mix by 2030(4) – to get its disastrous projects accepted.
All of this comes with the complicity of the French government and fueled by the shameless lies of TotalEnergies’ CEO, Patrick Pouyanné, before the French National Assembly.
Our investigation tells the story of misused green energy, manipulated figures, and a systematic policy of denying the climate emergency, enabling the multiplication of fossil fuel extraction sites all over the world.
BLOOM calls on TotalEnergies, its shareholders and financiers to immediately and permanently abandon the development of new fossil fuel projects that put the imminent future of the biosphere at risk.
(1) BLOOM has analyzed all press releases produced by TotalEnergies from January 1, 2021 to May 15, 2023: 313 releases.
(2) TotalEnergies (2023) Our ambition for oil and gas
(3) TotalEnergies (2022) Global strengths, global results. Of the 16.3 billion dollars invested by TotalEnergies in 2022, only 3.6 billion dollars went to “low-carbon” energy. This includes renewables, but also… gas-fired power plants!
(4) Reclaim Finance (2023) Assessment of oil and gas companies’ climate strategy