Business

French oil giant to invest $136m yearly to preserve forests

AIX-EN-PROVENCE, FRANCE The head of French energy giant Total announced on Saturday that the company would invest US$100 million (S$136 million) annually on a new forest preservation and reforestation project.

"We want to set up a business unit to invest in projects that will preserve forests," chief executive Patrick Pouyanne told a meeting.

"The most effective way today to eliminate carbon, for less than US$10 a tonne, is reforestation," he said.

"This is not philanthropy," he added.

"It is about investing in the medium- and long-term. A project for the forests, it has to last a long time to be positive for the planet."

Mr Pouyanne was speaking just days after Total said it had begun producing biofuel at a refinery in southern France, a project that has sparked an outcry from environmentalists and farmers over its plans to import palm oil.

The site at La Mede, near Marseille, is a former oil refinery that has been converted and is now one of the largest biorefineries in Europe.

A study released o last week said that a massive campaign of reforestation could help battle climate change.

The study, carried out by ETH Zurich and published in Science, said a large-scale operation could capture two-thirds of man-made carbon emissions and reduce overall levels in the atmosphere to their lowest in almost a century. - AFP

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