“We are committed to ensuring, in a transparent manner, that the industry associations of which we are a member adopt positions and messages that are aligned with those of the Group in the fight against climate change,” Patrick Pouyanné, Total’s chief executive, said in a statement.
Total also criticized API for supporting candidates during the recent U.S. elections who argued against U.S. participation in the Paris agreement.
According to the Center for Responsive Politics’ Open Secrets website, API contributed to the campaigns of Sen. James M. Inhofe (R-Okla.), House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) and Rep. Steve Scalise (R-La.), all of whom applauded President Trump for withdrawing from the Paris agreement in 2017. API also gave to the Eye of the Tiger PAC, which is associated with Scalise.
Total also pointed to API’s membership in the Transportation Fairness Alliance, which opposes subsidies for electric vehicles.
“We believe that the world’s energy and environmental challenges are large enough that many different approaches are necessary to solve them, and we benefit from a diversity of views," API said in a statement issued Friday morning. "We do not support subsidizing energy because it distorts the market and ultimately proves harmful to consumers."
The group said that "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.”
Earlier this week, API’s president Mike Sommers said in an annual address on energy that the trade group opposed EV subsidies. “We’ll oppose efforts to provide new subsides for the build out of electric vehicles and believe they should compete at same level we do,” he said.
But Sommers said that the group would be “a willing partner” with the incoming Biden administration in talks on tougher regulation of methane emissions leaking from wells and pipelines.
Total said that “API maintains its support for the rollback of U.S. regulation on methane emissions, which the Group opposed in November 2019.”
Other major oil companies have quit trade groups, but have avoided leaving the influential API.
BP, Shell and Total have already severed ties with the American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers, and BP has also exited the Western States Petroleum Association and the Western Energy Alliance.
Megan Baldino, head of corporate communications for BP America, said that the company continues to “actively monitor” its memberships in trade associations, “especially those we view as only ‘partially aligned’ with us on climate-related issues.” She said BP was “trying to influence those associations from within.”
Total has invested $7 billion in the United States over the past five years and employs more than 7,000 people. It is active in U.S. projects that export liquefied natural gas and this year expects to become the largest LNG exporter in the United States.
It also owns a refinery in Port Arthur, Tex. It holds minority stakes in three Gulf of Mexico fields, as well as onshore fields in the Barnett shale basin in Texas and the Utica basin in Ohio. The company says 10 percent of its capital spending is on renewable energy, and it owns a major stake in the U.S. firm SunPower.