Paris, France — This morning, five people looking like the CEO of French oil and gas corporation Total Patrick Pouyanné, were quietly posing in the opulent interiors of the large drawing room of the Napoleon III Apartments inside the famous Louvre museum. The members of the art-activist collective Libérons le Louvre staged the scene to denounce the sponsor partnership between Total and the museum, which has just been renewed.
Claire of Libérons le Louvre says: “The Louvre Museum and other cultural institutions continue to cooperate with Total, one of the companies most responsible for causing the climate crisis. How can the Louvre sell its noble cultural mandate and its international reputation to a corporation whose business plan is aiming to push us into a complete breakdown of our climate? The time for action is now and the museum’s complicity with Total is unacceptable.”
Libérons le Louvre have staged protest performances inside the museum since January 2017 but the director of the museum Jean-Luc Martinez has so far failed to respond.
Total is among the world’s biggest polluters that account for the vast majority of greenhouse gas emissions, which have fueled climate breakdown. Even though climate scientists warn that fossil fuels need to be phased out rapidly, Total continues to invest heavily to expand its operations. Last month, Total announced that it forecasts a 9 percent increase in its oil and gas production this year. Patrick Pouyanné also recently celebrated the discovery of a new large gas field off the coast of South Africa. The offshore project would be a disaster for the local economy, people and the natural world.
Ahmed Mokgopo, 350.org campaign manager in South Africa comments: “The Louvre Museum offers Total the opportunity to continue to prioritise its own economic objectives without worrying about the impacts of its conduct. In Africa, multinationals like Total colonise, corrupt and pollute. Our movement is forcing institutions to take stock of their responsibilities and put an end to this complicity.”
Recent protest for climate action have grown dramatically in France, including repeated marches in cities across the country, 2 million signing on to a petition for legal action against the French government to force it to respect its climate commitments, and fifteen municipalities threatening Total with a lawsuit over damages caused by climate change.
Partnerships with fossil fuel sponsors have come under increased scrutiny. Last August, campaign group Fossil Free Culture NL celebrated the Van Gogh museum in Amsterdam ending its 18-year sponsorship agreement with oil and gas corporation Shell, alongside two other major Dutch museums. The Tate Galleries and the Edinburgh International Festival in the UK, the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Canadian Museum of History are among the growing list of cultural institutions that have renounced fossil fuel sponsorships following creative campaigns.
Suzanne K, membre of the artivist collectiv Libérons le Louvre, +33631860401
Clémence Dubois, campaigner in France for 350.org, [email protected], +33642713175,
Ahmed Mokgopo, campaigner in South Africa for 350.org, [email protected], +27 79 916 8918
Photos are available under the following link. Please credit Romain Nicolas: www.dropbox.com/sh/jd1qba7utft0joo/AABb5sp1rZt4FwD8-ijjSk4sa?dl=0
Note to editors:
For more information about Libérons le Louvre, see: gofossilfree.org/europe/louvremuseum