United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres considered, on Wednesday, that international oil and gas companies are making record profits from the current energy crisis, as “unethical”, and called on the world’s governments to “impose taxes on these excessive profits.”
This came in a press conference held by Guterres with Rebecca Greenspan, Secretary-General of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) at the International Organization’s headquarters in New York, on the occasion of the release of the report “Responding to Global Crises: Food, Energy and Finance”.
The report deals with the repercussions of the war in Ukraine on the food, fuel and finance sectors.
“The war in Ukraine continues to have a devastating impact on the people of that country,” Guterres said. “This is a meaningless war, and we must all do everything in our power to end it through a negotiated solution in accordance with the Charter of the United Nations.”
He added that “transport and energy prices, fueled by climate change and war, threaten to trigger a famine crisis for the poorest families … Many developing countries are mired in debt, and are struggling to recover from the Corona pandemic.”
The Secretary-General highlighted four recommendations contained in the Global Crisis Response Report.
The first of these recommendations is, “For oil and gas companies to make record profits from the energy crisis, at the expense of the world’s poorest people, is unethical.”
He added, “The combined profits of the largest energy companies amounted in the first quarter of 2022 to nearly $100 billion … I urge all governments to impose taxes on these excessive profits and use the proceeds to support the most vulnerable people.”
The second of the recommendations, “Send a clear message to those in charge of the fossil fuel industry and its financiers, that this hideous greed is harming the poorest and most vulnerable people.”
Guterres explained that his third recommendation, related to the need to “accelerate the transition to renewable energy sources, which in most cases are cheaper than fossil fuels.”
The Secretary-General’s fourth recommendation concerns the creation of “private and multilateral financing for the transition to and scaling up of green energy”.