The UN chief accused the energy giants of “eating up hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and profiteering while slashing domestic budgets and burning our planet.”
Guterres, speaking at the UN General Assembly in New York, comes on the heels of a European Union proposal to impose a tax on oil, gas and coal companies, many of which have made record profits from Russia’s war in Ukraine and Ukraine. an energy crisis causes prices to rise.
“Today, I call on all developed economies to tax the profits of fossil fuel companies,” Guterres told the Assembly. “These funds must be channeled in two ways: to countries suffering losses and damages caused by the climate crisis and to people struggling with rising food and energy prices.”
Typhoons and hurricanes brought flooding to Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and Japan this week. The drought is affecting large areas of the United States, China and Europe.
Record profits, rising inequality
Guterres has warned that a “winter of global discord” is on the horizon, with inequality “exploding” and a cost-of-living crisis “beginning” as the planet burns.
“We must hold fossil fuel companies and their agents accountable,” he added. “This includes banks, private equity, asset managers and other financial institutions that continue to invest in and underwrite carbon pollution.”
Russia’s war in Ukraine is likely to dominate the UN General Assembly. The climate crisis, however, will be inevitable, intersecting with several topics on the agenda, including energy and food security.
“The climate crisis is the defining issue of our time,” Guterres said. “And it should be the first priority of all governments and multilateral organizations. And yet climate action is being put on the back burner, despite overwhelming public support around the world.”