UN chief slams oil firms over immoral profits

UN chief slams oil firms over immoral profits

The secretary-general of the United Nations, António Guterres, has flayed oil and gas companies for making “excessive” profits from the current energy crisis caused by the Russia-Ukraine war.

The UN chief said the excessive profit made people around the world suffer from increased prices.

Guterres spokeon Wednesday at the launch of the third brief by the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy and Finance.

He described the profits as “immoral” and urged governments to “tax these excessive profits” and use the funds to support the most vulnerable people.

“It is immoral for oil and gas companies to be making record profits from this energy crisis on the backs of the poorest people and communities and at a massive cost to the climate,” Guterres said.

“The combined profits of the largest energy companies in the first quarter of this year are close to $100 billion.”

Four of the biggest oil and gas firms — Shell, Exxon, Chevron, and TotalEnergies — earned nearly $51 billion in the first quarter of 2022 — almost double what they made in the same period last year.

“I urge all governments to tax these excessive profits and use the funds to support the most vulnerable people through these difficult times,” Guterres added.

“And I urge people everywhere to send a clear message to the fossil fuel industry and their financiers that this grotesque greed is punishing the poorest and most vulnerable people while destroying our only common home, the planet.”

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in February has exacerbated the global shortage of oil and gas, with Russia a major supplier.

According to Guterres, the war in Ukraine continues to have a devastating impact on the people of that country.

He said civilians are dying in the most tragic circumstances every day, while millions of lives have been destroyed or put on hold.

The secretary-general added that the war is causing a huge and multi-dimensional impact far beyond Ukraine, through a threefold crisis of access to food, energy and finance.

“Household budgets everywhere are feeling the pinch from high food, transport and energy prices, fueled by climate breakdown and war. This threatens a starvation crisis for the poorest households and severe cutbacks for those on average incomes,” he said.

“Many developing countries are drowning in debt, without access to finance, and struggling to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and could go over the brink.

“We are already seeing the warning signs of a wave of economic, social and political upheaval that would leave no country untouched.”

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