Preserving the Environment
Preserving the Environment
Energy and Climate
How can we secure energy supply for the future while at the same time combating climate change? We believe there is no single answer to that crucial question, but rather a number of separate, complementary measures to be used in combination.
In 2010, fossil fuelsă€€-ă€€natural gas, oil and coală€€-ă€€accounted for around 81% of the world's energy supply. There share is expected to be around 74% still in 2035.
At the same time, the International Energy Agency estimates that demand for fossil fuels could grow by nearly a third, given population growth and the rise in the average living standards.
Fossil fuels are responsible for nearly 60% of global greenhouse gas emissions generated each year by human activity. More than half of that amountă€€-ă€€or around one-third of total greenhouse gas emissionsă€€-ă€€stems from oil and gas; the remainder comes from coal.
The consensus in the scientific community, especially the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), is that greenhouse gas emissions have an impact on climate and that an international effort is necessary to keep the resultant temperature increase to 2°C to 2100.
The oil and gas industry has a direct stake in the problem and possible solutions for curbing global emissions related to:
- Production and refining and marketing facilities, which account for an average 15% of all hydrocarbon-related carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
- The use of petroleum products as heating or automotive fuel by customers, accounting for an average 85% of all hydrocarbon-related carbon dioxide equivalent emissions.
What Total is Doing
We believe it is our responsibility as a company that uses, produces and markets oil and gas to take steps to reduce:
- Emissions from our operated facilities: 52 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2010.
- Emissions stemming from the utilization our products: 627 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2010.
To manage and reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our facilities and the use of our products and services, we deploy a strategy targeting four strategically-related priorities:
- Reduction of flaring of oilfield associated gas: Learn more
- Optimization of the energy efficiency of our facilities, our products and our services: Learn more
- Expanding the use of carbon capture (CCS): Learn more
- Development of low-carbon energies: Learn more
For several years now, we have factored a carbon cost of €25 per metric ton into the design of our projects, a strong incentive to make them more energy efficient. This also allows us to respond proactively to future regulations in this area.
Together, we expect these measures to reduce the direct greenhouse gas emissions of our operated activities by roughly 15% in 2015 from 2008 levels.
We have also been working to reduce emissions from our products and services for a number of years. We have been developing innovative products and services with a lower environmental impact over the production and use cycle - and even on end-of-life. All of our innovation capabilities and expertise are harnessed to this end.
About the Greenhouse Effect
About 50% of the Sun's energy that reaches the Earth is absorbed by the planet's surface and re-radiated in the form of infrared radiation, or heat, some of which is absorbed by clouds and by certain atmospheric gases.
Together, they act like a "lid" that reflects thermal energy back toward the Earth's surface, warming the lower atmosphere.
This process, known as the greenhouse effect, is vital. It reduces temperature fluctuations during the day and keeps the mean temperature on the surface of the Earth at a relatively stable 15°C instead of -18°C.
Water vapor is the main greenhouse gas. It is responsible for more than 70% of the greenhouse effect.
However, water vapor has a very short life cycle, with an atmospheric lifetime of a matter of days. In contrast, the other greenhouse gases, whether naturally occurring or caused by human activity, take much longer to leave the atmosphere, in particular carbon dioxide (CO2).
The main anthropogenic greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4) and nitrous oxide (N2O), followed by man-made fluorinated gases
Carbon dioxide is responsible for three-quarters of the greenhouse gas effect related to anthropogenic gases.
CSTJF Research Center