Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

Demonstrators read spoof newspapers

Demonstrators read spoof newspapers with climate crisis messages in London on October 3, 2022. (Photo: Martin Pope/Getty Images)

Major Media Outlets From 20+ Nations Demand Windfall Profits Tax on Big Oil

"As a bare minimum, a windfall tax on the combined profits of the largest oil and gas companies—estimated at almost $100bn in the first three months of the year—needs to be enacted."

Jake Johnson

More than 30 major media outlets from countries on nearly every continent published an editorial Tuesday calling on governments to impose a windfall profits tax on fossil fuel giants that have made a killing as poor nations face devastating climate impacts and people worldwide struggle to heat their homes, feed their families, and pay rent.

"As a bare minimum, a windfall tax on the combined profits of the largest oil and gas companies—estimated at almost $100bn in the first three months of the year—needs to be enacted," reads the editorial, which appeared at The Guardian in the U.K., The Nation and Rolling Stone in the U.S., The Hindu in India, Camunda News in Angola, El Espectador in Colombia, and dozens of other publications.

"The United Nations was right to call for the cash to be used to support the most vulnerable. But such a levy would only be the start."

"The United Nations was right to call for the cash to be used to support the most vulnerable. But such a levy would only be the start," the editorial continues. "Poor nations also carry debts that make it impossible to recover after climate-related disasters or protect themselves from future ones. Creditors should be generous in writing off loans for those on the frontline of the climate emergency."

The joint call from dozens of media organizations based in more than 20 countries comes as world leaders gather in Egypt for COP27 and officials from the largest economies convene in Indonesia for the latest round of G20 talks.

The failure of rich nations such as the U.S., the U.K., and Canada to live up to their "loss and damage" commitments to poor countries suffering the worst impacts of the climate crisis has been central to the COP27 conference. The leaders of small-island countries and the head of the United Nations have argued that a windfall profits tax on the large polluters responsible for planet-warming emissions could be used to fund badly needed climate aid.

"Profligate producers of fossil fuels have benefited from extortionate profits at the expense of human civilization," Gaston Browne, the prime minister of Antigua, said in a speech last week. "While they are profiting, the planet is burning."

While some countries, including the U.K., have imposed windfall taxes on oil and gas giants, they've thus far been limited and carried minimal impacts for fossil fuel companies such as Chevron, Exxon, Shell, and BP, which continue to post record-shattering profits as people around the world face high prices at the pump.

During its earnings call last month, Shell executives said the company has yet to pay any windfall taxes in the U.K. despite its sky-high profits over the past year.

In his remarks at the opening of COP27 last week, U.N. Secretary-General António Guterres urged "all governments" to "tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies" and "redirect that money to people struggling with rising food and energy prices and to countries suffering loss and damage caused by the climate crisis."

"The deadly impacts of climate change are here and now," said Guterres. "Loss and damage can no longer be swept under the rug. It is a moral imperative. It is a fundamental question of international solidarity—and climate justice. Those who contributed least to the climate crisis are reaping the whirlwind sown by others."

The editorial published by major media outlets on Tuesday echoed that message, noting that "the world's poorest people will bear the brunt of the destruction wreaked by drought, melting ice sheets, and crop failures."

"To shield these groups from the loss of life and livelihoods will require money," the editorial states. "Developing countries, says one influential report, need $2 trillion annually to cut their greenhouse gas emissions and cope with climate breakdown."

"Rich countries account for just one in eight people in the world today but are responsible for half of greenhouse gases," the editorial continues. "These nations have a clear moral responsibility to help. Developing nations should be given enough cash to address the dangerous conditions they did little to create—especially as a global recession looms."

Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

EPA Urged to 'Finish the Job' After Latest Move to Protect Bristol Bay From Pebble Mine

"Local residents, scientists, and the broader public all agree that this is quite simply a bad place for a mine, and it is past time for the EPA to take Pebble off the table permanently," said one activist in Alaska.

Jessica Corbett ·

'Zero Tolerance for Corruption': Grijalva, Porter Demand Answers on Alleged Trump Pardon Bribery Scheme

The Democrats believe a real estate developer donated to a Trump-aligned super PAC in exchange for the pardons of two other men.

Julia Conley ·

Millions of Americans Lack Adequate Health Coverage, But the Pentagon Has a New Nuclear Bomber to Flaunt

"This ominous death machine, with its price tag of $750 million a pop, brings huge profits to Northrop Grumman but takes our society one more step down the road of spiritual death," peace activist Medea Benjamin said of the new B-21 Raider.

Brett Wilkins ·

Betrayal of Railway Workers Ignites Working-Class Fury Toward Biden and Democrats

"Politicians are happy to voice platitudes and heap praise upon us for our heroism throughout the pandemic," said one rail leader. "Yet when the steel hits the rail, they back the powerful and wealthy Class 1 rail carriers every time."

Jessica Corbett ·

With GOP House Control Looming, Pascrell Calls for Swift Release of Trump Tax Records

"Donald Trump tried to hide his tax returns from our oversight but after 1,329 days we have finally obtained the documents," said the New Jersey Democrat. "We should review and release them."

Kenny Stancil ·

Common Dreams Logo