UN chief criticizes ‘greed’ and ‘outrageous profits’ of major oil and gas companies

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has denounced the “greed” of the big oil and gas companies that make “outrageous” profits at the expense of the world’s poorest people.

Guterres said the crisis was caused by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and called on national governments to tax huge profits from companies.

“The truth is that we are seeing these excessive, outrageous profits from the oil and gas industry at a time when we are all losing money,” António Guterres said at a press conference for the release of the third UN global impact report Russia’s invasion of Ukraine .

“It is immoral that oil and gas companies are making record profits from this energy crisis at the expense of the poorest people and communities at the cost of huge climate losses.

Therefore, “I call on all governments to tax this excess profit and use these funds to support the most vulnerable in these difficult times,” he added, betting that such a move would certainly be “popular.”

He estimates that in the first quarter of 2022, large oil and gas companies will receive about $100 billion in profits. With rising oil and gas prices, BP, ExxonMobile, Chevron, Shell and TotalEnergies also posted huge second-quarter earnings.

“This ridiculous greed is punishing the poorest and most vulnerable while destroying our only common home, the planet,” Guterres said.

Since the previous assessment in June, “the effects of the purchasing power crisis are being felt more deeply and widely around the world,” the report says.

It indicates that by the end of 2022, 345 million people in 82 countries could face food insecurity, 47 million more than as a result of the war.

“Many developing countries are drowning in debt, lacking access to finance, struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic and could be on the brink,” Guterres warned, noting “worrisome signs of a wave of economic, social and political upheaval.” who could not spare any country.”

In this context, the report, which focuses on a “major energy crisis”, calls on governments to identify the most vulnerable populations and provide them with access to “affordable” energy.

To manage this crisis without jeopardizing commitments to limit global warming, the latest United Nations report calls on governments to take action to reduce energy demand, including reducing heating and air conditioning, reducing air travel, refurbishing buildings and accelerating the development of renewable energy. energy sources. .