UN Chief Calls for 'Energy Windfall Tax' on Polluters

    Photo: Reuters [via Al Jazeera]

    The Facts

    • On Tuesday, at the UN General Assembly in front of 193 world leaders, UN Chief Antonio Guterres called on wealthy nations to tax windfall profits of fossil fuel companies and use those funds to pay countries harmed by climate change.

    • Guterres said that "polluters must pay" for the damages caused by heatwaves, floods, droughts, and other disasters believed to be linked to climate change. He declared that the taxes collected should be directed "to countries suffering loss and damage" and "to people struggling with rising food and energy prices."

    The Spin

    Establishment-critical narrative

    A large portion of people vulnerable to climate change, roughly 3.5B people, are located in the global south. Calls for wealthier nations to pay up are getting louder. Types of reparations can include apologies, compensation, and legislation to ensure that the harm ends and will not be repeated. Impacted nations are rightfully demanding that the exploitation end and a period of healing begins.

    Pro-establishment narrative

    Despite the understandable intent, calls for a windfall tax on energy-producing companies will damage the global economy. It's not a good move to penalize entities to stimulate economic growth. A better approach would be for all nations to invest in renewable and climate-friendly energy infrastructure - this would protect the environment while building green energy deliberately over time.

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