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“Total Quits Leading U.S. Oil Lobby Over Climate Differences”

“Total SE became the first oil major to quit the influential American Petroleum Institute due to a clash on climate change policy, a sign of the pressure the U.S. lobby group is likely to come under as Washington is about to again embrace the Paris climate agreement.

The move by Total is likely to increase pressure on BP Plc and Royal Dutch Shell Plc to follow suit unless the API changes its views. On Friday, Shell said it was beneficial to remain a member of the group, while BP said it remained committed to influencing organizations from within and didn’t announce immediate plans to leave API.

The American Petroleum Institute is a staple in the corridors of power in Washington, spending heavily to wield considerable influence on how Congress and the White House regulate the energy industry. Although it has softened its views in recent years, including supporting the Paris deal, the API has traditionally lobbied against oil and gas regulation, and subsidies for electric vehicles.

“We thank Total for their membership in this critical forum for our industry,” API said in a statement. “Our industry’s focus continues to be on taking meaningful action and shaping policy at all levels of government to reduce U.S. emissions and ensure access to affordable and reliable energy.””

Francois De Beaupuy, Javier Blas, and David Wethe report for Bloomberg Green January 15, 2021.