The Secretary-General of the United Nations has called on all developed countries to tax the unexpected profits of fossil fuel companies.
António Guterres said the taxed funds should be channeled to countries affected by the climate crisis and to people struggling with rising food and energy prices.
“The fossil fuel industry is feasting on hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and unexpected profits as household budgets shrink and our planet is incinerating,” he told the United Nations General Assembly in New York on Tuesday. “Polluters have to pay.”
His comments come after Britain’s new prime minister, Liz Truss, has made it clear she is against a windfall.
Ms Truss unveiled her government’s policy to respond to the energy crisis earlier this month, telling parliament she believes it is “wrong to deter companies from investing in the UK at a time when we need to grow the economy.” “.
Brussels, on the other hand, has proposed: Raise 140 billion euros from the “extraordinary” profits of energy companies and return them to households and businesses, as Mr Guterres suggests.
However, there was no mention of such funds being funneled to countries on the front lines of the climate crisis. The European Commission has confirmed that last week’s proposals were designed to generate revenue for use in Europe to help citizens and businesses with higher energy bills and investments to lower the bills, including in energy efficiency and renewables.
Labor leader Sir Keir Starmer has also said: he would extend a windfall tax on oil and gas company profits to help pay a price cap on energy bills this winter.
Economies that are rebounding from the coronavirus pandemic coupled with Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and its decision to severely curtail the supply of natural gas to the continent have fueled global gas prices in recent months, amid growing concerns that these could winter energy shortages could be in Europe.
Mr Guterres said the international community should hold fossil fuel companies and their enablers to account.
“That includes the banks, private equity, asset managers and other financial institutions that continue to invest and create carbon pollution,” he said. “And it includes the huge public relations machine that is raking in billions to protect the fossil fuel industry from scrutiny.”
Liz Truss says she will not give in to Labor call for windfall tax
His comments come after documents released by a US congressional committee reportedly showing that major oil companies are promoting technologies that could help tackle the climate crisis, while internally expressing doubts about their potential.
Guterres compared efforts to shield major oil to those protecting the tobacco industry decades before.
“Lobbyists and spin doctors have been spreading harmful misinformation,” he said. “Fossil fuel interests should spend less time averting a PR disaster — and more time averting a planetary disaster.”
While acknowledging that fossil fuels cannot be stopped overnight, he said it was time for an “intervention” and a just transition that leaves no person or country behind.
The independent has contacted the UK government and the European Commission for comment.