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UN Secretary-General Calls for Windfall Profit Tax on Oil Industry

The secretary-general of the United Nations Antonio Guterres has renewed his calls for a special tax on oil companies to help fund the energy transition.

Calling oil companies “the godfathers of climate chaos”, Guterres said this week in a speech for World Environment Day, as the EU’s Copernicus weather service claimed May had been the 12th hottest month in a row.

“Climate change is the mother of all stealth taxes paid by everyday people and vulnerable countries and communities,” The head of the United Nations said. “Meanwhile, the godfathers of climate chaos — the fossil fuel industry — rake in record profits and feast off trillions in taxpayer-funded subsidies.”

The top UN official also urged advertisers to stop working with oil and gas producers. “I call on advertising & PR companies to stop acting as enablers to planetary destruction by working for the fossil fuel industry,” Guterres said. “Stop taking on new fossil fuel clients & set out plans to drop your existing ones. They are poisoning our planet & they are toxic for your brand.”

Antonio Guterres has been one of the most fervent advocates of the energy transition, referring to the current course of human civilization as a “highway to hell” unless we shift away from hydrocarbons.

The call for a windfall profit tax on oil and gas companies is not the first one Guterres issued. Back in 2022, he called on wealthy nations to start taxing their oil and gas companies and use the money to help poorer nations that allegedly bear the brunt of adverse climate change effects.

“The fossil fuel industry is feasting on hundreds of billions of dollars in subsidies and windfall profits while household budgets shrink and our planet burns,” Guterres said in September 2022. “Polluters must pay,” he added.

“Those funds should be redirected in two ways: to countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis; and to people struggling with rising food and energy prices,” Guterres suggested at the time.

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By Irina Slav for Oilprice.com

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