‘Grotesque greed’ of oil companies ‘destroying our only home’: UN chief

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U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres unveiled a new report Wednesday about the global effects of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine and took aim at the fossil fuel sector that’s been widely accused of war profiteering.

“Household budgets everywhere are feeling the pinch from high food, transport, and energy prices, fueled by climate breakdown and war,” Guterres said at U.N. headquarters in New York City. “This threatens a starvation crisis for the poorest households, and severe cutbacks for those on average incomes.”

“Many developing countries—drowning in debt, without access to finance, and struggling to recover from the Covid-19 pandemic—could go over the brink,” he warned. “We are already seeing the warning signs of a wave of economic, social, and political upheaval that would leave no country untouched.”

Guterres outlined key takeaways from the third brief of the Global Crisis Response Group on Food, Energy, and Finance—which first met in March, about a month after the Russian invasion.

“First, it is immoral for oil and gas companies to be making record profits from this energy crisis on the backs of the poorest people and communities, at a massive cost to the climate,” he declared. “The combined profits of the largest energy companies in the first quarter of this year are close to $100 billion.”

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