Guterres criticizes “grotesque greed” of oil companies
United Nations Secretary-General António Guterres on Wednesday criticized the “grotesque greed” of oil and gas companies for the record profits they have made during the energy crisis at the expense of the world’s poorest, “while destroying our only home”.
Guterres called it “immoral” that the combined profits of the major energy companies were close to $100 billion in the first quarter of the year.
He called on all governments to tax these excess profits “and use the funds to support the most vulnerable people in these difficult times.”
Guterres called on people around the world to send a message to the fossil fuel industry and those who finance it that “this grotesque greed is punishing the poorest and most vulnerable people, while destroying our only home.”
Guterres’ words were expressed during a press conference in which he announced the launch of a report by the Global Crisis Response Group that he created to combat the combination of the food, energy and financial crises, which has particularly affected the nations trying to recover from the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with the devastating impact of the war in Ukraine.
The group has already made recommendations on food and finance, and Guterres said he believes “we’re making some progress” in those areas, especially on food.
The report released Wednesday focuses on the energy crisis, with the secretary-general saying his goal is to achieve an equivalent to the grain deal he originally proposed to the presidents of Russia and Ukraine to allow the shipment of Ukrainian grain from ports. blocked by Russia in the Black Sea to world markets in urgent need of food. The first ship to leave Ukraine was heading to Lebanon on Wednesday after a three-hour inspection off the Turkish coast.
Another key recommendation from the group urges developed countries in particular to conserve energy and promote the use of public transport “and nature-based solutions.”
Guterres said that new technologies, including battery storage, “should become public goods,” and that governments should intensify and diversify supply chains for raw materials and renewable energy technology.
The group also recommends increasing private and multilateral financing “for the transition to green energy.” In addition, he supported the International Energy Agency’s goal of multiplying investment in renewable energy by seven to reach the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050 to help curb climate change caused for the man
“Every country is part of this energy crisis, and every nation is paying attention to what the others are doing,” Guterres said. “There is no place for hypocrisy.”
He assured that many developing countries facing the severe impacts of the climate crisis such as storms, forest fires, floods and droughts do not lack the reasons to invest in renewable energy, but they need “concrete options on which to work”, and indicated that the developed nations that ask them to invest in renewables do not provide them with enough social, technical or financial support.
Guterres criticized some of the same developed nations for introducing universal fuel subsidies and reopening coal-fired power plants, saying it is difficult to justify such actions, even if they are temporary.
He added that any subsidies or reopening of coal-fired power plants must be for a specific time and focused on alleviating the energy burden on the poor and promoting the transition to renewable energy.