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They uncovered research published in the Total journal in 1971 which explained that burning fossil fuels resulted in “the release of enormous quantities of carbon dioxide”. It warned that continued consumption would increase carbon dioxide levels to “worrying” levels – potentially leading to the melting of ice caps and significant sea level rises.

Despite awareness of harmful global warming impacts, the article published in Global Environmental Change says that Total or its predecessors engaged in “overt denial of climate science” until the early 1990s. It also reveals that it took part in lobbying to prevent the regulation of its activities.

In a statement sent to AFP before the release of the paper, TotalEnergies said that its leaders “recognised the existence of climate change and the link with activities of the oil industry”.

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Update » 2021.10.23

Tom Wilson at Inside Climate News has a story on this » Total Accused of Campaign to Play Down Climate Risk From Fossil Fuels