COP27: UN secretary-general calls for windfall tax on fossil fuel companies

The UN secretary-general has called on all industrialised countries to tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies.

Antonio Guterres, 7 November 2022, COP27
Photo: COP27

Antonio Guterres, speaking on the opening day of the COP27 climate summit in Egypt, said:

“Let’s redirect the money to people struggling with rising food and energy prices and to countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis.”

He said the war in Ukraine had “exposed the profound risks of our fossil fuel addiction”.

“Today’s urgent crises cannot be an excuse for backsliding or greenwashing. If anything, they are a reason for greater urgency, stronger action and effective accountability.”

He called for a “historic” climate solidarity pact between developed and emerging economies.

It should include a pact to end dependence on fossil fuels and the building of coal plants, he said.

There should also be a pact to provide “universal, affordable, sustainable energy for all”, he said.

Mr Guterres said all countries should make an extra effort to reduce emissions this decade to achieve the limit of 1.5 degrees of warming above pre-industrial levels.

Wealthier countries and international financial institutions should provide financial and technical assistance to help emerging economies to speed their own renewable energy transition, he said.

“This is our only hope of meeting our climate goals. Humanity has a choice: cooperate or perish. It is either a Climate Solidarity Pact – or a Collective Suicide Pact.

Mr Guterres said:

“We are on a highway to climate hell with our foot on the accelerator.”

He said climate change was the “defining issue of our age”.

“It is the central challenge of our century. It is unacceptable, outrageous and self-defeating to put it on the back burner.”

A report published by UN Climate Change ahead of COP27 showed that countries were bending the curve of global greenhouse gas emissions downward but efforts were not enough to limit global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century. Since COP26 in Glasgow, only 29 out of 194 countries came forward with tightened national plans.

DrillOrDrop is an accredited journalist at COP27 reporting remotely on the climate talks

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