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UN chief Antonio Guterres slams ‘grotesque greed’ of oil and gasoline firms

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The United Nations chief sharply criticized the “grotesque greed” of oil and gasoline firms on Wednesday for making record profits from the vitality disaster on the again of the world’s poorest individuals, “whereas destroying our solely dwelling.”

Secretary-Common Antonio Guterres mentioned it was “immoral” that the largest energy companies within the first quarter of the 12 months made mixed income of near $100 billion.

He urged all governments to tax these extreme income “and use the funds to assist probably the most susceptible individuals by way of these troublesome instances.”

Guterres urged individuals all over the place to ship a message to the fossil gasoline trade and their financiers that “this grotesque greed is punishing the poorest and most susceptible individuals, whereas destroying our solely frequent dwelling, the planet.”

The secretary-general spoke on the information convention launching a report by the World Disaster Response Group he set as much as sort out the triple interconnected crises of meals, vitality and finance which have particularly hit international locations making an attempt to recuperate from the COVID-19 pandemic and cope with the devastating influence of the conflict in Ukraine.

Guterres instructed reporters that “we’re seeing extreme, scandalous income of the oil and gasoline trade in a second during which all of us are shedding cash” due to inflation round 7-8%. And “nothing might be extra widespread than to tax the extreme income … and to distribute that cash to probably the most susceptible households,” he mentioned.

The disaster group has already offered suggestions on meals and finance and Guterres mentioned he believes “we’re making some progress” in these areas, particularly on meals.

The report launched Wednesday focuses on the vitality disaster, and the secretary-general mentioned it goals to realize the equal of the grain deal he first proposed to the Russian and Ukrainian presidents to allow Ukrainian grain to be shipped from Russian-blockaded ports on the Black Sea to world markets in determined want of meals provides. The primary ship to depart Ukraine was headed to Lebanon Wednesday after a three-hour inspection in Turkish waters.

Guterres mentioned speculators and obstacles to getting grain and fertilizers to international markets through the Ukraine conflict despatched meals costs hovering. However since negotiations on the grain deal “gained traction,” he mentioned, there was “a major fall” and in the present day costs of most foodstuffs and fertilizers are roughly at their pre-war costs.

“However that doesn’t imply that bread within the bakery is on the identical value earlier than the conflict, as a result of these are quotations in wholesale markets, a few of them associated to futures,” he mentioned, and there are loads of different elements contributing to rising costs together with transportation and insurance coverage prices and provide chain disruptions.

U.N. commerce chief Rebeca Grynspan, who coordinated the disaster group, mentioned wheat costs are down virtually 50% from their peak, corn and fertilizer costs have dropped virtually 25% prior to now month and crude oil is now round $93 a barrel in comparison with $120 {dollars} a barrel in June. “Solely pure gasoline has bucked the pattern and continues to be greater than a month in the past,” she instructed reporters by video from Geneva.

Falling costs are “excellent news,” Grynspan mentioned, however they’ve been excessive for too lengthy and since June forecasts for excessive poverty have risen by 71 million individuals and forecasts for meals insecurity by 47 million.

In one other key suggestion, the disaster group urges richer developed international locations, particularly, to preserve vitality together with by decreasing air-con and heating use and by selling public transport “and nature-based options.”

Guterres mentioned new applied sciences together with storage for batteries “ought to grow to be public items,” and governments should scale up and diversify provide chains for uncooked supplies and renewable vitality applied sciences.

The group additionally recommends scaling up non-public and multilateral finance for “the inexperienced vitality transition.” And it backed the Worldwide Vitality Company’s aim of accelerating investments in renewable vitality by an element of seven to satisfy the aim of slicing greenhouse gasoline emissions to “internet zero” by 2050 to assist curb man-made local weather change.

“Immediately, growing international locations are spending round $150 billion on clear vitality,” mentioned Grynspan, the secretary-general of the United Nations Convention on Commerce and Improvement. “They should spend $1 trillion in investments.”

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