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Total Sticking With Emissions Cuts Through Economy Slump

Total SA, Europe’s third-biggest oil company, will continue curbing emissions to mitigate the environmental impact of its operations despite the financial crisis that’s roiling markets, said Chief Executive Officer Christophe de Margerie.

Total will reduce the amount of carbon dioxide it emits from producing oil and natural gas, Margerie said in an interview at the the Rio+20 conference in Rio de Janeiro today. Europe’s financial crisis is threatening to erode the weakest global growth rate since the 2009 recession.

“You can’t drop your commitments because you have a feeling it might not be any more the first priority on people’s minds,” Margerie said.

The Paris-based company has also promised not to explore inside the Virunga National Park in the Democratic Republic of Congo where it has a license, out of respect for the environment. Virunga was the first national park created on the African continent more than 85 years ago and hosts more than 200 species of mammals, including gorillas in danger of extinction, the World Wildlife Fund said on its website.

“We will never, ever enter the park,” Margerie said during a seminar at the conference. “Ït’s a promise. We’ve said it before.”

More than 50,000 delegates from 190 nations are due to attend the meeting about sustainability. It marks the 20th anniversary of the first Earth Summit in the city. On the agenda are 50 pages of recommendations on how to preserve the diversity of plants, eradicate poverty, protect oceans and clean the air as the population swells 29 percent to 9 billion by 2050 from about 7 billion now.

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