UN Chief Urges Tax On Oil Industry For “Grotesque Greed”

United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres lashed out the oil and gas industry, who accused it of “grotesque greed” and called for additional taxes on their profits.

Guterres noted that in the first quarter alone, the combined profits of the world’s largest oil and gas companies were “nearly $100 billion” and urged all governments to tax those profits.

“It is immoral for oil and gas companies to make record profits from this energy crisis on the backs of the poorest people and communities, at a huge cost to the climate,” Guterres told media, as quoted by Reuters.

“I urge all governments to tax these excessive profits and use the funds to support the most vulnerable people in these difficult times,” he also said, adding “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 top UN official is an outspoken critic of the oil and gas industry. Earlier this year, he said investing in new oil and gas production was “insane” and would only have negative consequences.

“New funding for fossil fuel exploration and production is delusional. It will only fuel the scourge of war, pollution and climate catastrophe,” Guterres said in June.

He has also spoken out against coal investment, calling it “stupid” and saying that reliance on fossil fuels was madness.

“If we had massively invested in renewable energy in the past, we wouldn’t be so dramatically at the mercy of the instability of fossil fuel markets today,” he said in June.

Major oil companies all made huge profits for both the first and second quarters of the year, thanks to higher oil prices. This isn’t the first time prices have been this high, but it might be the first time majors have been so cautious about new spending, which is ironic given Guterres’ comment about misleading oil and gas investments.

By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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