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U.N. Chief Urges Countries to Tax on Greedy Oil Companies

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The United Nations chief has slammed Oil Companies over their “grotesque greed” for making record profits from the energy crisis on the back of the world’s poorest people.

Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said the executives were “immoral” after the largest Oil Companies in the year’s first quarter made combined profits of close to $100 billion.

Governments should tax these excessive profits “and use the funds to aid the most vulnerable people in these difficult times,” he said.

According to Guterres, the Oil Companies and their financiers are punishing the poorest and most vulnerable people while destroying the planet.

Speaking at the press conference, the secretary-general outlined the findings of a report issued by the Global Crisis Response Group, which he established to deal with the triple crises of food, energy and finance, which have particularly affected countries recovering from the COVID-19 pandemic and dealing with the war in Ukraine.

According to Guterres, “we’re making some progress” in food and finance, especially food.

Read:  Oil Companies Prices Impact Heavily on Asia Stock Markets in 2022

As the secretary-general noted in the report released Wednesday, it aims to achieve what he first proposed to the Russian and Ukrainian presidents, which involved enabling Ukrainian grain to be shipped from blockaded Black Sea ports to world markets in desperate need of food supplies.

Having completed a three-hour inspection in Turkish waters, the first Ukrainian vessel left Ukraine for Lebanon on Wednesday.

Further, the group recommends that developed countries conserve energy and promote public transport “and nature-based solutions.”

According to Guterres, new technologies like battery storage “should become public goods,” and governments must broaden and diversify raw material supply chains.

In addition, it recommends securing private and multilateral funding to support “the green energy transition.” It also endorsed the International Energy Agency’s goal of increasing investments in renewable energy by a factor of seven to cut greenhouse gas emissions to “net zero” by 2050.

Temporary subsidies at gas pumps

Thanks to the oil companies, every country is affected by the energy crisis, and each country is watching what others are doing,” Guterres said. Hypocrisy has no place in this world.

Many developing countries that are suffering from severe climate impacts such as storms, wildfires, floods and drought have a compelling reason to invest in renewable energy. But they need “concrete, workable options” to help them do so, and developed countries aren’t doing enough to help.

According to Guterres, it’s difficult to justify even temporary subsidies at gasoline pumps and reopening coal plants in some developed countries.

For the poor to benefit from subsidies and reopen coal plants, he said, they must be strictly time-bound and targeted.

Thailand’s energy price wars

Meanwhile, in Thailand, efforts to slow down increases in diesel, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG), and electricity prices are now in the spotlight as households and businesses worry about rising living costs despite high global oil prices.

As part of the Thai government’s efforts to help its citizens cope with the impacts of Covid-19 in 2020, funds were used to reduce power bills.

The Russian-Ukraine conflict and Western sanctions have caused oil prices to surge globally, and the government will continue to subsidize electricity prices until at least the end of this month.

The board of state-owned oil and gas conglomerate PTT Plc allocated 3 billion baht to the debt-ridden Oil Fuel Fund in July after it supported diesel and LPG price subsidies for months.

As part of its allocation, the government plans to collect a windfall tax from oil refineries to inject more cash into the fund from July to September.

Oil refineries will be taxed on a portion of their margins.

In addition to posing an obstacle to economic recovery, energy price hikes have also drained Thailand’s coffers at a time when the money is needed to deal with pandemic-induced economic woes.