United Nations (UN) Secretary-General António Guterres said calling out record oil and gas profits amid the global energy crisis was “immoral”.
Guterres The Global Crisis Response Group (GCRG) on Food, Energy and Finance has warned that soaring energy prices are deepening an existential crisis in the cost of living for hundreds of millions of people as war in Ukraine continues to rage.
The secretary-general said that despite this alarming situation, major oil and gas companies have recently announced record profits, which Guterres – who launched the dossier, described as “immoral”.
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“The combined profits of the biggest energy companies in the first quarter of this year are close to $100 billion. I urge governments to tax these excessive profits and use the funds to support the most vulnerable people in these difficult times. »
GCRG’s third brief recommends that governments find the most effective ways to finance energy solutions.
These include state-funded cash transfers and rebate policies, to protect vulnerable communities everywhere, including through windfall taxes on the biggest oil and gas companies.
At the same time, the brief calls for a transition to renewable energy.
It follows the historic Black Sea Grains Initiative that was agreed between Russia, Turkey and Ukraine, under the auspices of the United Nations, on July 22, paving the way for the first shipment of grain of Ukraine to leave the port of Odessa on 1 August.
There are growing concerns that rising energy costs could exclude many developing countries, especially the most vulnerable communities, from energy markets, the UN said.
He added that these countries are already bearing the brunt of the cost of living crisis after experiencing major setbacks in energy access and progress on sustainable development since the Covid-19 pandemic.
“More worryingly, there could be a potential ‘fuel rush’ where only countries paying the highest prices can access energy, the brief warns, adding that governments therefore need fiscal space to support their most vulnerable populations in order to avoid worsening levels of energy poverty or the total loss of access to energy.
The brief makes it clear that the war in Ukraine and the global energy crisis it caused are a stark reminder of the need for energy resilience and a stronger push for the transition to renewable energy.
According to the brief, an ambitious transition to renewable energy, which includes skills training, could create an additional 85 million jobs in renewable energy sources, efficiency and other sectors related to the energy transition by 2030.