Action Greenpeace France, Les Amis de la Terre France et Alternatiba Paris dans le parc du Château de Versailles à l'occasion des 100 ans de Total le 26 mars 2024. Crédit : Claire Jaillard
Action Greenpeace France, Les Amis de la Terre France et Alternatiba Paris dans le parc du Château de Versailles à l'occasion des 100 ans de Total le 26 mars 2024. Crédit : Claire Jaillard
Communiqué de presse27 mars 2024

TotalEnergies and its accomplices, 100 years of destruction

On the eve of the official date of the 100th anniversary of TotalEnergies, around fifty activists from Alternatiba Paris, Friends of the Earth France and Greenpeace France came to disrupt the evening organised with great pomp at Chateau de Versailles, far from the "real life" so dear to Patrick Pouyanné.

host of celebrities were expected at this venue historically associated with the influence of France and the excesses of the Roi Soleil, and the NGOs came to call for an end to the reign of fossil fuels. In particular, they denounced TotalEnergies‘ heavy responsibility in the climate crisis and in terms of human rights, as well as the complicity of its political and financial backers. For the associations, the centenary of TotalEnergies corresponds to one hundred years of devastating activities for the rights of communities, the natural environment and the climate; decades of science manipulation and greenwashing; but also a century of proftis that are now reaching record levels, just like the energy bills of the French people.

Find all the images of the action at destination and a video tip for the press HERE  

At around 5.30pm, activists unfurled a banner declaiming: « Let’s put an end to the reign of oil and gas! » in the garden area at pond level, in front of the Château de Versailles. Fifty or so activists then took to the forecourt, holding torches echoing the sinister anniversary, and declaiming « Totally irresponsible ». They unfurled banners reading « No destructive projects without financiers » and « Total coupable, État complice ». A large number of police officers  rounded up the peaceful activists with several members of the press.

The aim of this action is to denounce the disastrous record of TotalEnergies’ activities, which belie the indecent pomp of this evening. TotalEnergies is in fact one of the most aggressive fossil fuel companies in the expansion of fossil fuels 1, involved in 33 « climate bombs » around the world 2. Beyond its communications on its supposed transition, its business model is still overwhelmingly geared towards hydrocarbon production: in 2023, 98% of its energy production came from fossil fuels 3. These choices, made despite the urgency of the climate change situation, the conclusions of the IPCC and the recommendations of the IEA 4, will have far-reaching consequences for the entire planet. Above all, they are being made despite France’s commitments on climate change and human rights.

As we take stock of France’s petro-gas flagship, we have to recognise that the deadly business model that made the group so powerful continues to thrive with impunity, thanks to the unwavering support of the French government, which refuses to assume its role as regulator of the fossil fuel industry, and thanks to a number of financial players who allow TotalEnergies to continue to prosper.

The resources of the French state, and in particular its economic diplomacy, have been put at the service of TotalEnergies since its creation, to help it expand throughout the world, particularly on the African continent, to the detriment of its populations. This is the case of the EACOP and Tilenga mega-projects in Uganda and Tanzania, affecting the land of 118,000 people and depriving them of their means of subsistence 5. It was also thanks to the laissez-faire attitude of the State that a new LNG terminal was commissioned in Le Havre in the aftermath of the war in Ukraine, enabling TotalEnergies to import American shale gas into Europe and remain the world leader in exports of American liquefied gas 6. This complacency on the part of the French government, which was evident at the last COP in Dubai, is now the focus of a Senate enquiry 7.

TotalEnergies can also count on its financial partners, who play a key role in perpetuating this model. Valuable funding from major French banks is enabling the company to continue its fossil fuel expansion by developing new projects. This is the case with the Mozambique LNG fossil gas project, which TotalEnergies is trying at all costs to relaunch in a conflict zone and in the midst of a humanitarian crisis, with the support of Crédit Agricole and Société Générale 8. TotalEnergies’s top three global financiers are French banks: BNP Paribas, Crédit Agricole and Société Générale, which together account for 41% of its financing.

« After 100 years of activities and misdeeds, TotalEnergies has never learned from its mistakes because its accomplice have always supported it. So much so that Crédit Agricole and Société Générale remain stubbornly supportive of Mozambique LNG, a project for which TotalEnergieshas already been untrustworthy for five years and is accused of serious human rights violations. The humanitarian and security situation in the north of the country is so dramatic that the equivalent of the population of the town of Caen has been forced to flee. This is happening at this very moment, while the state and the banks are feasting on TotalEnergies’ profits. This indecency must come to an end, » says Lorette Philippot, Private Finance Campaigner at Friends of the Earth France.

« Behind the official story of France’s TotalEnergies industrial flagship lies a much darker tale marred by scandals: the destruction of the climate and human rights, the fabrication of doubt, greenwashing and even attempts to intimidate NGOs. By knowingly continuing to bank on fossil fuels, Patrick Pouyanné is shamelessly perpetuating a deadly model to maximise the multinational’s profits. It is high time for political leaders to signal the end of the fossil era and put in place measures to regulate the sector and make it pay for the damage it has caused », says Edina Ifticène, Fossil Energy Campaigner at Greenpeace France.

This evening brings together ‘the cream’ of the players responsible for the climate, energy and social crisis that is hitting the country so hard. The super-profits accumulated by TotalEnergies, celebrated this evening amidst the gilding and petits fours, are indecent, while our citizens are suffering continuous inflation in prices at the petrol pump or for heating. There’s no pride in being the ‘pioneers’ of such injustice, » says Sasha Arfeuille, spokesperson for Alternatiba Paris.

The associations are calling on France’s political actors and major banks to stop supporting TotalEnergies’ climate strategy! We are calling for ambitious action from these players: effective measures to implement the phase-out of fossil fuels, the development of renewable energies, as well as measures for energy sobriety and efficiency, energy-efficient home renovation, and the renunciation of the construction of new nuclear reactors and techno-solutionist illusions.


Greenpeace France, October 2023, Les bombes climatiques de TotalEnergies


Analysis by GreenpeaceFrance following the presentation of TotalEnergies’s annual results in February 2024.


Friends of the Earth France, Survie and Observatoire des multinationales, October 2021, Comment l’Etat fait le jeu de Total en Ouganda ?