More energy, less carbon
Climate change is happening, and it has been established that human activity is the main cause. The global economy depends, to a great extent, on the use of fossil fuels because of their high energy density and affordable cost. However, fossil fuels also emit greenhouse gases (GHG) when burned, notably carbon dioxide (CO2). GHG emissions must be reduced to limit the temperature increase; this is both urgent and complex. Everyone, from governments to businesses and consumers, will have to do their part.
Total must participate in reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions while also satisfying rising energy demand driven by economic and demographic growth. In May 2020, it announced a new climate ambition to get to net zero by 2050. This means reconciling two of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals: access to affordable and clean energy and climate action. Total’s ambition is to provide as many people as possible with energy that is more reliable, affordable and clean.
2020 Climate Report, pp 01-07 – Foreword by Patrick Pouyanné: Together, let’s speed up the energy transition to create a carbon-neutral society by 2050
Total Is Actively Involved
Total is reducing emissions from its operations, adapting its energy mix, helping to change demand from its customers and investing in carbon sinks.
2020 Climate Report, p. 18 – Acting on emissions
2020 Climate Report, p. 25 – Acting on products
2020 Climate Report, p. 34 – Acting on demand
2020 Climate Report, p. 40 – Investing in carbon sinks
Total’s climate ambition is to get to net zero by 2050.
Total shares the ambition to get to Net Zero emissions by 2050, together with society, for its global business across its production and energy products used by its customers (scope 1+2+3).
Three major steps to achieve this ambition:
- Net-zero emissions across Total's worldwide operations by 2050 or sooner (scopes 1+2).
- Net-zero emissions across Total’s production and energy products used by its customers in Europe by 2050 or sooner (scopes 1+2+3).
- 60% or more reduction in the average carbon intensity of energy products used worldwide by Total customers by 2050, with intermediate steps of 15% by 2030 and 35% by 2040.
Total’s climate objectives:
- A reduction in GHG emissions (Scopes 1 & 2) from 46 million tons of CO2e in 2015 to less than 40 million tons of CO2e in 2025, on operated oil & gas installations.
- An 80% reduction in routine flaring at operated facilities between 2010 and 2020, then its complete elimination by 2030.
- An improvement in energy efficiency at operated facilities of 1% per year on average between 2010 and 2020.
- Methane intensity of operated gas facilities close to zero (less than 0.1% of the commercial gas produced).
- A 6% decline in the net carbon intensity of Group products since 2015.
- A reduction in GHG emissions (Scopes 1 & 2) at operated oil and gas facilities from 46 million tons of CO2e in 2015 to 41.5 million tons of CO2e in 2018.
- A more than 80% reduction in routing flaring between 2010 and 2017.
- A more than 10% improvement in energy efficiency between 2010 and 2018.
- A reduction the intensity of methane emissions to less than 0.20% of the commercial gas produced in 2019.
Climate Report 2020, p. 10 – Our ambition
Climate Report 2020, p. 18 – Acting on emissions
Natural gas, biogas and hydrogen: allies of the energy transition
By expanding its presence across the value chain for natural gas, biogas and hydrogen, Total is decarbonizing its energy mix and ensuring access to reliable, flexible sources of renewable power.
Natural gas is a key to the energy transition. It produces half the full-lifecycle CO2 emissions of coal in power generation, partners well with intermittent renewable energies and responds effectively to seasonal variations in demand.
Total has acquired four combined-cycle gas turbine power plants in France.
It is also developing new uses for natural gas (with its lower emissions than petroleum-based fuels) in road and maritime transportation.
Total is active across the value chain, from extraction to sale via transmission and processing.
Between 2005 and 2018, the share of natural gas in Total’s hydrocarbon output rose from 35% to 50%.
Total is the world’s second-largest liquefied natural gas (LNG) company.
Total is also at the forefront in the drive to reduce emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas.
In 2020, Total created two business units, one dedicated to biogas and the other to green and blue hydrogen, with the aim of reducing the carbon intensity of its gas-fired power plants.
2020 Climate Report, p 26 – Natural gas, biogas and hydrogen: allies of the energy transition
2020 Climate Report, p. 28 – Hydrogen, a promising energy source
2020 Climate Report, p. 22 – Controlling methane emissions
Renewables and Electricity: A Key Path Forward to Address the Climate Issue
In the 21st century, electricity will be called on to meet a growing share of people’s energy needs. That’s why Total is growing its presence in this market. The challenge lies in generating electricity from low-carbon or carbon-free energy sources. Total is expanding in electricity, especially renewables-based electricity, from production to distribution to storage. This is a key part of its strategy to get to net zero by 2050.
Several affiliates have been acquired since 2011 to drive this strategy, including Total Eren and Total Quadran for renewable energy production and Total Direct Energie for electricity distribution to businesses and consumers in Europe.
Because solar and wind power are intermittent by nature, Total is investing in stationary storage solutions to limit loss and optimize the injection of current into tomorrow’s power grids.
2020 saw the Group step up its renewables activity, doubling its wind and solar production capacity (from 3GW at the end of 2019 to 6.5GW at the end of 2020) and increasing its target from 25 to 35GW for 2025.
*International Energy Agency: 2019 Sustainable Development Scenario
2020 Climate Report, p. 29 – Electricity: building a world leader
Encouraging a Sparing Use of Oil
Oil has demonstrated its many qualities over the years, including high energy density, exceptional stability (making it easy to ship) and affordable cost. However, the use of oil emits large amounts of CO2. For this reason, Total believes that oil should be reserved for targeted uses and replaced by other energy sources when it can be easily substituted.
In the long term, Total is anticipating flat or declining oil demand and is concentrating on low breakeven assets.
The incorporation of biofuels can help reduce CO2 emissions from road and air transportation. As a pioneer in biofuels for more than 20 years, Total is now a major player in Europe.
2020 Climate Report, p. 32 – Decarbonizing and saving liquid energies
Developing carbon sinks
Total’s climate ambition is to get to net zero by 2050, and it is already working actively to achieve this goal. Total invests in natural carbon sinks like forests and wetlands through its Nature Based Solutions (NBS) business unit, formed in 2019 with a budget of $100 million a year as from 2020.
The Group is also involved in carbon capture and storage (CCS) through a number of major projects, including Northern Lights in Norway. In Dunkirk it is part of project 3D for the demonstration of an innovative new CO2 capture technology.
In addition, Total helps its customers reduce their carbon footprint. The Total Ecosolutions label created in 2009 makes it possible, among other things, to evaluate the carbon performance of the Group’s products and services and promote innovative solutions that offer an environmental performance superior to the market benchmarks. In all, 12 million tons of carbon emissions have been avoided over 10 years thanks to Total Ecosolutions products and services.
Lastly, Total’s GreenFlex energy efficiency consulting affiliate helps businesses and regions improve their energy and environmental performance. It has worked with more than 700 clients to date.
2020 Climate Report, p. 40 – Investing in carbon sinks
Putting a Global Price on Carbon to Speed the Transition
Total calls for a global price on carbon worldwide. By integrating an energy source’s carbon content in its price, this system makes high-emission sources more expensive and promotes lower carbon technologies.
Putting a price on carbon gives all players an incentive to shift faster from coal to natural gas and renewable energies for electricity production.
Over the long term, it’s also a way to channel investment to research into low carbon technologies and carbon capture, utilization and storage (CCUS).
A sufficient price would promote the Group’s objective of net zero by 2050.
2020 Climate Report, p. 49 – On the Front Lines on Carbon Pricing