Five of the biggest fossil fuel companies made $190bn in profits in 2022, while 45% of UK residents struggle to pay their energy bills, according to the Office for National Statistics (ONS).
A cost-of-living crisis, soaring energy prices, looming climate change, earthquakes, and war – the world is looking bleak while the executives and shareholders of these polluting companies are busy stacking their massive profits.
BP recently announced a record profit of $28bn, and Shell made $40bn, their highest profits in 115 years. Exxon Mobile and Chevron have also seen their profits soar, with $55bn and $35bn respectively. TotalEnergies announced record-breaking profits of $36bn, doubling the amount of the previous year.
“This situation is sickening,” tweets Nick Dearden, Director of the UK-based NGO, Global Justice Now, condemning the exorbitant profits made by BP and Shell. “BP is responsible for more global historic emission than most countries on earth, yet has no plans to stop polluting.”
Research led by Global Justice Now shows that the five biggest fossil fuel companies (Shell, BP, Exxon Mobile, Chevron, and TotalEnergies) are responsible for four times the amount of historic CO2 emissions of the 150 least emitting countries combined.
“These obscene profits are all the more offensive because they’re enriching the companies most responsible for the climate crisis,” said David Hillman, spokesperson for the campaign Make Polluters Pay, an alliance of organisations in the UK calling to tax the fossil fuel giants.
Fossil fuel companies have always profited profusely from their climate-wrecking endeavour. However, the increase in profits is due to the war in Ukraine, and the sanctions applied to Russia’s gas which used to be the biggest provider of Europe, resulting in soaring energy prices.
What is worse is that oil and gas companies are now scaling back on their climate targets due to pressure from governments and investors to prevent energy shortages and provide energy security.
The fossil fuel industry is undeniably criminal. They are using the same strategy the tobacco industry was employing 50 years ago: denying, deceiving, business as usual, funnelling money into lobbies and misinformation.
Just like Big Tobacco claiming that cigarettes were healthy, Exxon Mobile knew about the man-made rising CO2 emissions and predicted the consequences in the 1970s. As you can imagine, to protect their profits, not only they said nothing, they started throwing money at anyone that would support their climate denial propaganda, starting with corrupt politicians.
Flash news: governments are not doing anything to condemn it. If movements like Extinction Rebellion, Fridays For Future, and Just Stop Oil exist, it is due to the government’s inaction. Thus, we need to take matters in our hands and be actively engaged in pressuring the government to hold these companies accountable and tax them.
We all need to do our part. Join the climate justice movement, pressure politicians, attend protests, inform yourself, take direct action, talk, and raise awareness within your group of friends and your family.
Here is a deed. Extinction Rebellion called rebels and activists to join ‘The Big One’ on April 21 in London. This mass rebellion aims to bring 100,000 people outside the House of Parliament to peacefully demonstrate their dissatisfaction with the UK government’s inaction over the climate emergency and tell them: ‘We can’t afford this anymore’.
*The author discloses that he is a member of the society Global Justice Stirling.
Featured Image Credit: Grahame C Anderson for Wikimedia Commons