About us

In recent years, citizens around the world have taken to the streets en masse to demand ambitious and righteous climate and social policies. Progress is barely visible and profound, systemic change is far from being achieved. Meanwhile, the climate is literally derailing before our eyes and the living conditions of more and more people around the world are deteriorating.

Historically, mass actions of civil disobedience have often had a positive impact on major changes. People chose to resist and break the law to demand profound change. That is exactly what Code Red wants to achieve. Let’s end the era of fossil fuel capitalism and build a sustainable and social just future, together. We need you!

“By deliberately breaking the law, we are part of a long history of social struggle. Where legitimate resistance from citizens challenges the power of corporations that put shareholders and profit above people and nature
Code Red action consensus

Why?

Extreme weather, floods, soil erosion, rising fuel and energy bills and rising prices for basic necessities. Our dependence on fossil fuels is taking its toll, to say the least. Oil, gas and coal are directly implicated in human rights abuses in the South and fuels numerous conflicts and wars around the world.

The climate, energy, social and economic crisis is driving the working and middle classes into poverty.  The most vulnerable become even poorer because of huge energy bills. Meanwhile, big fossil companies like TotalEnergies make enormous profits. These multinationals are key players in the history of the current climate crisis. This history is one of land grabbing, persecution and colonialism. For years, they have worked to influence our societies with their poisonous green propaganda and crony capitalism. Their climate-destroying actions are even rewarded by our politicians through financial bonuses and various subsidies. The workers in this sector, who depend on their jobs for income, are kept in the dark about their future.

Time is running out and the challenge is enormous, but a viable future is still possible. That is what we are fighting for. For a society where the big polluters are held accountable for their actions, where everyone has fair access to energy and where citizens and workers are supported to move away from fossil fuels. A society that relies on renewable energy, combats pollution, makes us independent from dubious regimes and creates more peace. A society where the climate transition is not made on the back of the working class and with opportunities for paid work for all. A society with a better distribution of wealth, fundamental rights for all, lower energy bills, a better quality of life and a good future for our children.

#StopTotal – Why TotalEnergies?

Code Red’s first major mobilisation targets oil and gas giant TotalEnergies. Why?

With the third largest refinery in Europe and the largest network of petrol stations in Belgium, this fossil giant manages to make billions in profits. Despite the harsh reality of the climate crisis and the scientific consensus on its causes, TotalEnergies continues to invest blindly in the extraction and marketing of fossil fuels.

TotalEnergies is much more than a symbol. Their corporate history is directly linked to (neo)colonialism, stealing natural and personal resources, spreading disinformation (including greenwashing) and projects that are devastating to the environment and climate.

Big polluters like TotalEnergies have determined our future for too long. By acting together, we can all put an end to this.

Climate criminal

50 years ago, even before the Meadows report in 1972, Total knew. Total knew very well that their activities would create an unlivable world. A world in which 1-1.5°C warming would be guaranteed a few decades later. That is the world we find ourselves in today.

And yet, if one were to believe the many advertisements, one would think that TotalEnergies is fully committed to climate and renewable energy. In reality, the company is still investing heavily in fossil fuels. Fossil fuels still account for 90% of the company’s business and 75% of its investments. TotalEnergies’ new climate plan is completely contrary to the goals of the Paris climate agreement nor in line with the recommendations of the International Energy Agency.

TotalEnergies is not only depriving young and future generations of a liveable future. It is also holding households and small and medium-sized enterprises hostage in a fossil-fuel-based system with rising energy and fuel prices. Why? Simple: profit. Thanks in part to those high prices, the French multinational had a record economic year last year with no less than 13.5 billion euros in profits.

Cynically, on top of these gigantic profits, many of the big polluters also receive a lot of tax money. For instance, heavy industry in Flanders receives up to a billion euros a year in offsets, exemptions and subsidies without even presenting a proper climate plan. Moreover, someone has to pay for all those rebates to the industry. Households and SMEs pay a disproportionate share of the cost of energy policy through their energy bills. The big polluters pay little or nothing.

Neocolonialism and human rights

“If we look at Total’s history, we see (the complicity of states that allowed) a company (… ) that colonised Africa for exploitation, that collaborated with officially racist political regimes, that  corrupted dictators and political representatives, that conquered territories through military intervention, that  moved assets to tax havens and infrastructure to free-trade zones, that pressured oligarchic regimes and put their populations deeply in debt, that  polluted vast areas to the point of endangering public health, that subjugated political regimes that are theoretically sovereign, that enslaved populations,… (or to direct deliberative processes)

Excerpt from the book “What is TOTAL the sum of?” (Alain Deneault)

Fossil fuel extraction remains a source of human rights violations around the world, often perpetuating a logic of colonial exploitation.

The EACOP project in Uganda and Tanzania, for example, aims to drill more than 400 wells and exploit an oil reservoir of more than a billion barrels. And this in an area of exceptional biodiversity, where more than 100,000 people are to be displaced for the construction of the world’s largest heated pipeline (1,500 km). This is TotalEnergies’ answer to the social and environmental crisis! Local communities, human rights- and environmental activists are doing all they can to oppose the pipeline. But they face increasing pressure and threats as they speak out against the commercial and political interests behind EACOP. Human rights violations are on the rise, as are repression and harassment of journalists.

Fossil fuels are also often closely linked to wars and conflicts. For example, in the context of Putin’s bloody invasion of Ukraine, TotalEnergies continues to hold onto its fossil assets in Russia. In doing so, the company feeds Putin’s war chest and risks becoming complicit in war crimes.

Propaganda

TotalEnergies was warned more than 50 years ago by its own experts about the possible link between fossil fuel production and global warming. Yet TotalEnergies has remained fully committed to fossil fuels. Moreover, all fossil multinationals invested heavily in propaganda and lobbying to keep the climate problem off the public and political agenda. Thus, they deprived us of precious decades to tackle the climate crisis.

In the beginning, climate denial was the fossil industry’s most effective tactic. Until the severity of the climate crisis could no longer be denied. Then they switched to more sophisticated but equally dirty, delaying and distracting tactics to keep pumping oil and gas. Total’s rebranding campaign to TotalEnergies is a good example. Which attempts to brand the company as a pioneer of the energy transition, while in reality it mainly continues with its climate-damaging core business.

Social and climate: same battle

Energy bills are exploding and so is the price at the pump. Inflation is already 9%. Two million people in Belgium can count on the social tariff. For others, meanwhile, the annual energy bill can reach as much as 2,500 to 3,500 euros. But not everyone is in the same boat. In fact, there are some big winners in this crisis. The big winners are the big fossil companies. Thanks to the war in Ukraine and the sharp rise in energy prices (which started as early as 2021), they are making record profits and channelling them to shareholders. The case of TotalEnergies is exemplary: the oil and gas company posted profits of €13.6 billion in 2021, up more than 40 percent from 2019.

One crisis is the common thread: the crisis of a system in which the profits of a few multinationals are more important than people and the planet. The consequences are clear: growing inequality, the overexploitation of natural resources and climate collapse.