U.N. Chief Criticizes ‘Grotesque Greed’ of Oil Companies

UNITED NATIONS — The United Nations chief sharply criticized the “grotesque greed” of oil and gasoline firms on Wednesday for making document earnings from the power disaster on the again of the world’s poorest individuals, “whereas destroying our solely house.”

Secretary-Basic Antonio Guterres mentioned it was “immoral” that the most important power firms within the first quarter of the yr made mixed earnings of near $100 billion.

He urged all governments to tax these extreme earnings “and use the funds to assist probably the most weak individuals by these troublesome instances.”

Guterres urged individuals all over the place to ship a message to the fossil gas business and their financiers that “this grotesque greed is punishing the poorest and most weak individuals, whereas destroying our solely widespread house, the planet.”

The secretary-general spoke on the information convention launching a report by the International Disaster Response Group he set as much as sort out the triple interconnected crises of meals, power and finance which have particularly hit nations attempting to recuperate from the COVID-19 pandemic and take care of the devastating affect of the battle in Ukraine.

Guterres informed reporters that “we’re seeing extreme, scandalous earnings of the oil and gasoline business in a second by which all of us are shedding cash” due to inflation round 7-8%. And “nothing can be extra common than to tax the extreme earnings … and to distribute that cash to probably the most weak households,” he mentioned.

The disaster group has already offered suggestions on meals and finance and Guterres mentioned he believes “we’re making some progress” in these areas, particularly on meals.

The report launched Wednesday focuses on the power disaster, and the secretary-general mentioned it goals to attain the equal of the grain deal he first proposed to the Russian and Ukrainian presidents to allow Ukrainian grain to be shipped from Russian-blockaded ports on the Black Sea to world markets in determined want of meals provides. The primary ship to depart Ukraine was headed to Lebanon Wednesday after a three-hour inspection in Turkish waters.

A basic view of the PKN Orlen refinery in Plock, Poland on June 15, 2022.

Attila Husejnow/SOPA Photos/LightRocket by way of Getty Photos

Guterres mentioned speculators and obstacles to getting grain and fertilizers to international markets through the Ukraine battle despatched meals costs hovering. However since negotiations on the grain deal “gained traction,” he mentioned, there was “a major fall” and at this time costs of most foodstuffs and fertilizers are roughly at their pre-war costs.

“However that doesn’t imply that bread within the bakery is on the identical worth earlier than the battle, as a result of these are quotations in wholesale markets, a few of them associated to futures,” he mentioned, and there are a number of different components contributing to rising costs together with transportation and insurance coverage prices and provide chain disruptions.

U.N. commerce chief Rebeca Grynspan, who coordinated the disaster group, mentioned wheat costs are down nearly 50% from their peak, corn and fertilizer costs have dropped nearly 25% previously month and crude oil is now round $93 a barrel in comparison with $120 {dollars} a barrel in June. “Solely pure gasoline has bucked the development and continues to be larger than a month in the past,” she informed reporters by video from Geneva.

Falling costs are “excellent news,” Grynspan mentioned, however they’ve been excessive for too lengthy and since June forecasts for excessive poverty have risen by 71 million individuals and forecasts for meals insecurity by 47 million.

In one other key advice, the disaster group urges richer developed nations, particularly, to preserve power together with by lowering air-con and heating use and by selling public transport “and nature-based options.”

Guterres mentioned new applied sciences together with storage for batteries “ought to change into public items,” and governments should scale up and diversify provide chains for uncooked supplies and renewable power applied sciences.

The group additionally recommends scaling up personal and multilateral finance for “the inexperienced power transition.” And it backed the Worldwide Vitality Company’s purpose of accelerating investments in renewable power by an element of seven to fulfill the purpose of chopping greenhouse gasoline emissions to “web zero” by 2050 to assist curb man-made local weather change.

“At the moment, growing nations are spending round $150 billion on clear power,” mentioned Grynspan, the secretary-general of the United Nations Convention on Commerce and Improvement. “They should spend $1 trillion in investments.”

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