Courtesy of Guardian News & Media Ltd
under guardiansyndication Open Licence Terms
The oil and gas industry has delivered $2.8bn (£2.3bn) a day in pure profit for the last 50 years.
The vast total captured by petrostates and fossil fuel companies since 1970 is $52tn, providing the power to “buy every politician, every system” and delay action on the climate crisis, says Prof Aviel Verbruggen. The huge profits were inflated by cartels of countries artificially restricting supply.
Emissions from the burning of fossil fuels have driven the climate crisis and contributed to worsening extreme weather, including the current heatwaves hitting the UK and many other Northern hemisphere countries. Oil companies have known for decades that carbon emissions were dangerously heating the planet.
“I was really surprised by such high numbers – they are enormous,” said Verbruggen. “You can buy every politician, every system with all this money […]. It protects [producers] from political interference that may limit their activities. It’s real, pure profit. They captured 1% of all the wealth in the world without doing anything for it.”
The profit-grabbing is holding back the world’s action on the climate emergency, he said: “It’s really stripping money from the alternatives. In every country, people have so much difficulty just to pay the gas and electricity bills and oil [petrol] bill, that we don’t have money left over to invest in renewables.”
[…] over the last 50 years, companies have made a huge amount of money by producing fossil fuels, the burning of which is the major cause of climate change. This is already causing untold misery round the world and is a major threat to future human civilisation. At the very least these companies should be investing a far greater share of their profits in moving to low-carbon energy than is currently the case. Until they do so their claims of being part of the low-carbon energy transition are among the most egregious examples of greenwashing.Prof Paul Ekins, University College London
[…] in the midst of a cost of living crisis caused by record oil and gas prices, this flow of money to a relatively small number of petrostates and energy companies is set to double this year. Shifting to a carbon-neutral energy system based on renewables is the only way to end this madness.Mark Campanale, Carbon Tracker
The Guardian revealed in May that the world’s biggest fossil fuel firms are planning scores of “carbon bomb” oil and gas projects that would drive the climate past internationally agreed temperature limits with catastrophic global impacts. The fossil fuel industry also benefits from subsidies of $16bn a day, according to the International Monetary Fund.
There is far more oil, gas and coal in existing reserves than can be burned if the world is to limit global heating to 1.5C.