the future of fossil fuels: shifting the conversation



On Thursday, January 23, Patrick Pouyanné, Chairman & CEO of Total, participated in a debate on the future of fossil fuels at the World Economic Forum in Davos. Other speakers on the panel included Daniel Yergin, an energy specialist; Maria Fernanda Suarez, Colombian Minister of Mines and Energy; Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin; and H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud.

Increasingly each year, the World Economic Forum is putting climate concerns at the heart of the conversation. The energy industry is not hiding from the facts or the science; the current model is not sustainable and we need to adapt and transition to cleaner alternatives, because energy consumption is a real factor in the climate change phenomena we are witnessing.

In a clear warning to the industry, Fatih Birol, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, said in a statement at Davos: “Every part of the industry needs to consider how to respond. Doing nothing is simply not an option.”

Most of the industry agrees with this observation – Total first and foremost – but the conversation is often biased in its focus on supply, disregarding the fact that supply tends to respond to demand.

In a world with a growing population, an ambition to lift more people out of poverty every day, and steadily rising living standards, it is impossible not to ask the question: “How, in this environment, can we reduce our energy consumption?”

Our Chairman & CEO’s talk at Davos went some way to answering this question:

“There is no doubt the world will need more energy: we have a growing population, many emerging countries want to take people out of poverty, and energy is at the center of any socio-economic development. But the core challenge, and opportunity, is to provide more energy with lower emissions,” said Patrick Pouyanné.

His remarks echoed an idea put forward earlier by Maria Fernanda Suarez, Colombian Minister of Mines and Energy, who said:

“What we are looking forward to in the national debate is to have a conversation not around ending the use of fossil fuels, but around ending the emissions. And I believe that this is the most urgent and important challenge for oil and gas companies and the industry as a whole to address.”

To tackle these issues, Total is already active in many areas :

Total is perfectly conscious of its key role in the energy transition that the world needs to undergo, and is taking action, pragmatically and efficiently. To learn more, watch this WEF 2020 panel discussion.

The Future of Fossil Fuels

Speakers: Daniel Yergin, Maria Fernanda Suarez, Wan Zulkiflee Wan Ariffin, H.R.H. Prince Abdulaziz Bin Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud, Patrick Pouyanné.