French climate alliance takes legal action against Total

U.S. & World

FILE – This Jan.11, 2016 file photo shows the logo of French oil giant Total SA on its headquarters at La Defense business district outside Paris. A partnership of French non-governmental organisations and over a dozen local authorities launched unprecedented legal action Tuesday against energy company Total, aimed at forcing it to drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions. (AP Photo/Michel Euler, File)

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A French climate alliance of charity groups and local authorities launched an unprecedented legal action Tuesday against Total, hoping to make the French energy company drastically reduce its greenhouse gas emissions.

Activists from the non-governmental organizations and over a dozen local governments say it’s the first time a French multinational has been taken to court over the fight against climate change. They want Total, one of France’s top companies, to be more vigilant about the environment and align itself to the goals of the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement in fighting climate change.

This climate alliance accused Total of failing to include any reference to climate change in its vigilance plans of the last two years, “despite its legal obligation to take measures to prevent human rights and environmental violations.”

Cecilia Rinaudo, spokesperson for the group An Issue For Us All said “this is the first time a French private company will be taken to court and have to answer question about the politics of climate. It must be held accountable and be vigilant about the climate in its ambitions.”

Rinaudo said a legal document starting the litigation was given to a court in Nanterre on Tuesday, in the suburbs of Paris.

Total didn’t respond immediately to AP’s requests for comment.

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