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Climate Change

Trade groups under climate pressure

Total to leave AFPM, warns ACC about lack of policy alignment

by Melody M. Bomgardner
November 14, 2019 | A version of this story appeared in Volume 97, Issue 45


The French oil and gas firm Total says it will leave the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers because the trade association is not aligned with Total’s policies on climate change. The move follows a similar announcement by Shell, which said in April it would leave the group in 2020.

Unlike the trade group, Total and Shell say they support the goals of the 2015 Paris climate agreement, as well as policies that support a price on carbon and investment in low-carbon technologies.

Total says it may also pull out of other trade groups, including the American Chemistry Council, that have only “partial alignment” with the firm’s policies.

The ACC’s climate policy principles do not mention the Paris Agreement or explicitly support a price on carbon. The group’s policy document calls for meaningful reduction in US greenhouse gas emissions “while minimizing the costs to society.” It also says policy should focus on expanding all energy and feedstock supplies. In contrast, Total says natural gas should be used to transition to low-carbon energy and as an alternative to coal.

“We believe we are aligned with Total on a variety of climate policy principles, and we highly value the company’s participation in ACC,” ACC spokesperson Jennifer Scott tells C&EN.

The US Chamber of Commerce revised its position on the Paris Agreement earlier this month as the Trump administration began the process of withdrawing from it. The business group now calls for staying in the compact “because greater collaboration between governments and businesses is essential to tackling the climate challenge.”



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