Guterres calls out the grotesque greed of oil and gas companies

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres. Photo credit: Reuters / David ‘Dee’ Delgado.

By Anders Lorenzen

Following the enormous oil and gas company profits unveiled last week, Antonio Guterres, the UN’s Secretary-General reacted angrily.

He slammed what he called the “grotesque greed” of oil and gas companies and their financial backers and urged global governments to tax what he labelled as “excessive profits”  to support the most vulnerable people.

The UN head said: “It is immoral for oil and gas companies to be making record profits from this energy crisis on the backs of the poorest people and communities, at a massive cost to the climate.”

Stoking a global crisis

Guterres added that Russia’s war in Ukraine and the climate breakdown stoked a global food, energy and finance crisis.

Combined, the world’s largest oil companies earned nearly $57 billion in the most recent quarter; almost double what they brought in during the same period last year.

Guterres added: “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.”

There has been wide condemnation of oil companies for capitalising on a global supply shortage to increase their profits at the expense of consumers. Climate advocates have blamed energy giants for not transitioning to cleaner energy sources as fast as science demands. The world’s governments have pledged to halt the worst impacts of climate change.

Many of the world’s largest oil companies have in recent years been busy releasing net-zero strategies however their investments in low-carbon technology are dwarfed by their huge profits and enormous investments in extracting and looking for new fossil fuel sources.

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