French campaign groups ask court to order Total to act on global warming

FILE PHOTO: The logo of French oil giant Total is pictured at a petrol station in Laplume, France January 16, 2020. REUTERS/Regis Duvignau/File Photo

PARIS (Reuters) - Fourteen French local authorities and six campaign groups have asked a French court to order oil major Total TOTF.PA to sharply reduce its greenhouse gas emissions, campaign groups said on Tuesday.

The lawsuit filed against Total comes as oil majors face increasing pressure from activists to act on climate change.

The French campaign groups said in a statement the lawsuit was the first of its kind filed in France.

Total said it regretted the legal action taken, adding it was working in compliance with national legal standards.

“Total remains open to constructive talks,” it said.

Under French law, large French companies are required to publish annual plans that address any adverse impact of their activities, and those of subsidiaries and suppliers, on people and the environment.

In their legal application, the six campaign groups, that included Les Eco Maires, a group of local authorities acting for sustainable development, alleged that Total’s activities failed to comply with the goal of limiting a rise in global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius.

Reporting by Bate Felix; Writing by Matthieu Protard; editing by David Evans