Neither Total nor its shareholders will come out of their prisoner’s dilemma on their own. The event of the past week was neither the defeat of ExxonMobil to the activists, nor the change of name of the French oil company Total to TotalEnergies, but rather the eruption, in The Hague, of justice in the climate debate.
“Neither for nor against, quite the contrary”. If the expression of shareholders of oil groups resembles a Coluche sketch, it is because the climate issue remains difficult to grasp by general meetings.
The defeat, in front of an “green” activist, of an ExxonMobil engaged in an uninhibited carbon strategy responded to the approval of Total’s ambition, complex in decarbonization, with a score worthy of a banana republic (92% ). But the warming brought by this consultation did not bring out, neither the “major”, nor the investors, of their dilemma of the prisoner.
As for producers, Patrick Pouyanné, the boss of the brand new “TotalEnergies”, sums it up simply: as long as there is demand, supply must meet it.
The shareholders’ vote on Friday expresses theirs just as much: those who chose the “for” often share the same diagnosis as the “against”, the former preferring “encouragement” to impatience. The same specter hangs over both camps, that of an agony, similar but accelerated, to that of investors in tobacco.
Failing to campaign more actively for the missing element, carbon taxation, everyone runs the risk of seeing justice attempt to dictate the pace of the energy transition, as for Shell, in the name of a “duty of vigilance” already enshrined. in French law.
Since its last peak in January 2018, the global tobacco industry has suffered a 38% stock market underperformance, dividends reinvested, against the MSCI-ACWI index. Since the last high point of the past decade, in May 2018, the big oil majors lost have underperformed this index by 62%, coupons included. Or one and a half times faster.