The energy company Total wants to produce oil in East Africa with a huge pipeline. Climate and environmental activists warn of serious damage. At the group’s annual general meeting, they are now putting pressure on the shareholders.
Environmental activists protested against energy giant Total’s proposed oil pipeline in East Africa ahead of its annual general meeting. The demonstrators tried to block access to the shareholders’ meeting building on Friday morning. As could be seen on television pictures, there were also clashes with the police. Several hundred activists greeted arriving shareholders with shouts and whistles.
One wants to call on the shareholders to stop financing fossil fuels and to get out of the pipeline project, said the Ugandan environmental activist Patience Nabukalu from Fridays for Future of the German Press Agency in Paris. “Total is a climate killer for us.” Climate activist Luisa Neubauer said to lenders: “Banks that even mention the word sustainability should fundamentally rule out financing this group.”
Climate and environmentalists have been calling for the oil pipeline to be stopped for some time
At the beginning of last year, the multi-billion dollar oil production project in Uganda and Tanzania was launched. Total holds the largest share in the project with around 57 percent. Also involved are the China National Offshore Oil Corporation (CNOOC) with a stake of around 28 percent and the Uganda National Oil Company (UNOC) with around 15 percent. According to Total, the total investment volume is around 10 billion US dollars.
The oil is to be transported in a new 1,443-kilometer pipeline from oil fields near Lake Albert in western Uganda through Tanzania to the Indian Ocean and shipped from the Tanzanian port of Tanga. A production volume of 230,000 barrels per day is expected. The first oil is to be exported as early as 2025.
Environmentalists have been calling for the project not to be funded for some time. They fear pollution of Ugandan lakes and the destruction of the habitats of rare animal species. According to Nabukalu, more than 10,000 people were already displaced for the project before the pipeline was built. Once operated, the project would also emit many times the annual emissions of Uganda: “It will only exacerbate the climate crisis in Africa.”
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Similar protests at Shell meeting in London
It was only on Tuesday that climate activists demonstrated against the further exploitation of fossil fuels at the annual general meeting of the oil and gas company Shell in London and delayed the meeting. Among other things, they shouted slogans like “Shut down Shell!” (“Shut up Shell!”), “Go to hell, Shell” (“Go to hell, Shell”) or “climate criminals”. Some tried to storm the stage.
Dozens of demonstrators were taken out of the hall one by one by security personnel. According to the PA news agency, the activists were Shell shareholders who had legally gained access to the general meeting. The protest began when shareholders were asked to vote on the company’s environmental plans. After all, about 20 percent voted for an alternative plan presented by climate protectionists from among the investors.