‘Polluters have to pay’: UN secretary general wants to see contingent taxes on oil and gas companies

UN Secretary-General, in solemn remarks at the UN General Assembly in New York, will tax developed countries on the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies and redirect those resources to countries hit hardest by the climate crisis. I requested.

“We need to hold fossil fuel companies and their enablers accountable,” Antonio Guterres said Tuesday morning.

“The polluter has to pay.”

Activists and environmental groups have long put pressure on the federal government to impose a surprise tax on Canadian oil and gas companies. Financial statements for the second quarter of August revealed that Canadian companies were posting very high net profits and renewed calls for federal action.

Canada’s four largest oil companies (Cenovus, Suncor, Imperial Oil, and CNRL) reported combined net profits of over $12 billion in the last quarter, almost triple the same quarter in 2021. Infographic by Natasha Bulowski

But so far there is no indication that Canada will consider a windfall tax.

Canadian National Observer When we asked Treasury Canada about a potential windfall tax on oil and gas profits in early August, the ministry outlined previously announced measures, including a luxury tax on cars, a Canadian Recovery Dividend and a corporate income tax hike. responded with a statement to

Meanwhile, other governments are rising to the occasion.

Italy has already started collecting a windfall tax on energy companies, the UK approved a similar tax this summer and the European Commission recently proposed a windfall tax on the fossil fuel sector. This directs funds to households and businesses struggling with inflation.

Importantly, Guterres’ appeal seeks to redirect the funds raised from the windfall tax to countries suffering loss and damage caused by climate change, and to people suffering from rising food and energy prices. By urging each country to do so, we are taking it one step further.

The UN Secretary General @antonioguterres wants developed countries to tax the windfall profits of #FossilFuel companies and redirect those resources to countries most affected by the climate crisis. #loss and damage #climate change

Compensation for climate change impacts that cannot be avoided through adaptation or emission reductions, such as catastrophic events such as wildfires and floods, is called loss and damage. Historically, developed countries such as Canada have been the biggest contributors to climate change, and poorer developing countries have been hit hardest by the climate crisis, but the economic transition, let alone recovery, has been hardest hit. Resources are also scarce.

as previously reported Canadian National Observer, Loss and damage is a controversial topic. Wealthy countries are reluctant to commit resources and worry they will be exposed to legal liability for past emissions and massive compensation claims from climate disasters.

On September 6, more than 400 organizations around the world signed a letter initiated by the Climate Action Network to the United Nations to put loss and damage on the formal agenda of the 2022 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cairo. I asked to ensure that the funds of , Egypt, his November of the year. At last year’s conference, the US and EU blocked a proposal to provide financial support to developing countries affected by climate disasters.

Mr. Guterres referred to the disastrous floods in Pakistan as evidence of mankind’s “rendezvous with the climate disaster” as “a third of the country is submerged by the steroid-influenced monsoons.” did.

On September 23rd, Fridays for Future is planning hundreds of climate strikes around the world, including 34 in Canada. Focused on climate justice and reparations, the strike urges policy makers to put people above profits, listen to those most affected, and fund loss and damage. increase.

Guterres’ remarks also come on the heels of a new report by the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Natural Resources that found public relations firms aiding fossil fuel customers, sabotaging climate change policy and deceiving the public. .

The “massive public relations agencies” that shield the fossil fuel industry from scrutiny and get rich in the process say that “banks, private equity firms, asset managers and other financial institutions that continue to invest in and underwrite carbon pollution” Along with institutions, we need to be accountable,” Guterres said.

“Lobbyists and spin doctors are spewing harmful misinformation just as they did in the tobacco industry decades ago. We need to spend more time and we need to spend more time averting a global disaster.”

With the United Nations Biodiversity Conference in Montreal just around the corner, Mr. Guterres said he wanted to halt and reverse biodiversity loss, eliminate harmful subsidies that destroy ecosystems, and protect marine biodiversity. stressed the need for a global framework that sets ambitious targets for finalizing a legally-binding agreement to

On the second day of the UN General Assembly, Eddy Pérez, Director of International Climate Diplomacy for the Climate Action Network, said it was “encouraging” that Canada would play a constructive role towards an ambitious outcome at this December’s Biodiversity Conference. I sent a signal,” he said.

“Overall, however, the message from the General Assembly is clear: Countries are distracted while the world is on fire, fossil fuel profits are soaring, and families are struggling to find food and energy. On the one hand, we are facing increasingly frequent and severe climate disasters,” Perez said. Climate Action Network press release.

He said Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s absence from the climate roundtable was a “danger sign”.

“While governments sleepwalk, the oil and gas industry continues to escape accountability and is already planning to use COP27 as an opportunity to boost gas expansion.”

“As parliament reopens, Prime Minister Trudeau must use the weeks to advance his climate commitments and refuse to let the seafood industry pressure the actions we urgently need. ”

— with file by John Woodside

Natasha Bulowski / Local Journalism Initiative / Canada’s National Observer

‘Polluters have to pay’: UN secretary general wants to see contingent taxes on oil and gas companies

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