UN says record profits made by major oil companies is “immoral”

By MiNDFOOD

UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (L) serves a warm meal to South Sudanese refugees who fled civil war and arrived at Imvepi settlement camp in northern Uganda June 22, 2017. REUTERS/James Akena
UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres (L) serves a warm meal to South Sudanese refugees who fled civil war and arrived at Imvepi settlement camp in northern Uganda June 22, 2017. REUTERS/James Akena
As the war in Ukraine continues, skyrocketing energy prices are compounding an existential cost-of-living crisis for hundreds of millions of people, warned the UN Secretary-General’s Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG) on Food, Energy and Finance.

Despite the situation, major oil and gas companies recently reported record profits, which Secretary-General António Guterres called “immoral.”

“The combined profits of the largest energy companies in the first quarter of this year are close to $100 billion. I urge governments to tax these excessive profits, and use the funds to support the most vulnerable people through these difficult times,” he said.

The GCRG’s recommends that governments find the most effective ways to fund energy solutions to protect vulnerable communities everywhere, including through windfall taxes on the largest oil and gas companies. At the same time, the GCRG urges a transition to renewables.

The UN is concerned that the rising costs of energy may price out many developing countries from energy markets. Also, there could be a potential “scramble for fuel” whereby only countries paying the highest prices can access energy. 

The United Nation’s recent brief makes it clear that the war in Ukraine and the global energy crisis that it has caused is a stark reminder of the need for energy resilience and stronger push for the transition to renewable energy.

“Renewable energy is often the cheapest, and most quick to deploy source of electricity for many countries. But this is only true if we ensure that supply chains work well and without bottlenecks; that the workforce has the right skills and that enough funds will be made available for the initial investments,” said Rebeca Grynspan, the Secretary-General of the UN Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD).

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