Oil companies record profits amid an “immoral” global crisis

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said describing record profits from oil and gas amid the global energy crisis as “unethical”.

Guterres The Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG) on Food, Energy and Finance has warned that rising energy prices are exacerbating the existential cost-of-living crisis for hundreds of millions of people as the war in Ukraine continues.

The Secretary-General said that despite this worrying situation, major oil and gas companies recently reported record profits, which Guterres – who launched the memo – called “unethical”.

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The combined profits of the largest energy companies in the first quarter of this year are approaching $100 billion. I urge governments to tax these excessive profits, and use the money to support the most vulnerable during these difficult times.”

The third summary of the GCRG Initiative recommends that governments find the most effective ways to finance energy solutions.

These include publicly funded cash transfers and discount policies, to protect vulnerable communities everywhere, including through windfall taxes on the largest oil and gas companies.

At the same time, the brief urges a transition to renewable energy sources.

This comes on the heels of the historic Black Sea grain initiative agreed between Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, under the auspices of the United Nations, on July 22, paving the way for the first shipment of grain from Ukraine to leave the port of Odessa on August 1.

The United Nations said there were growing concerns that rising energy costs could burden many developing countries, especially the most vulnerable societies, from energy markets.

She added that these countries are already bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis, having suffered major setbacks in access to energy and progress in sustainable development since the COVID-19 pandemic.

“More worryingly, there could be a ‘potential scramble for fuel’ where only the countries paying the highest prices can access energy, the brief warns, adding that governments, therefore, need the fiscal space to support the most vulnerable populations to avoid deteriorating levels of energy. Energy poverty or complete loss of energy access.”

The brief makes clear that the war in Ukraine and the global energy crisis it caused are stark reminders of the need for energy flexibility and a stronger push for the transition to renewable energy.

According to the brief, the ambitious renewable energy transition, which includes skills training, could create an additional 85 million jobs in renewables, efficiency, and other sectors associated with energy transitions by 2030.

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