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< Back to all posts 02 November 2023

What are oil companies doing with their huge profits?

Our climate is changing before our eyes.

Flooding has killed seven people and forced hundreds more from their homes in the UK in recent weeks. While Italy braces for yet more extreme weather.

Torrential rain has become a regular occurrence for many of us. And another storm is already wreaking havoc in the south of England as I write.

This is just a taste of what’s to come. Our climate is changing and our weather is becoming increasingly unpredictable – and hostile, in many cases. Do we really want to accept this as our future?

More bumper profits for oil companies

In the context of climate breakdown, it’s deeply frustrating to see it’s simply business as usual from big oil companies.

Today Shell announced another round of huge profits: they made £5 billion profit between July and September alone.

On Tuesday BP posted a £2.7 billion profit in the same period of time.

It’s not only that the big fossil fuel companies are making huge profits in a time of climate breakdown – but also what they are doing with these profits.

BP, for example, has invested nine times more into new fossil fuel extraction than they have in developing renewables over the past two years, research from the IPPR shows.

While Shell will use half of its £5 billion profits announced today to buyback shares, to boost their stock price.

It can’t be business as usual

Meanwhile the government and the Labour party have both rowed back on their commitments to reduce the UK’s emissions.

We can’t accept business as usual. We demand our politicians take action before it is too late.

That’s why we’re pushing for a bigger windfall tax on oil companies profits – and a tax on share buybacks.

This money could be used to invest in green energy, better public transport and, overall, a fair green transition.

Taxing excess profits of fossil fuel companies can only go so far. To achieve more systemic change, we need a wider transformation of our tax system to tackle environmental and climate breakdown .

Tax the super rich and big polluters

Those who emit the most carbon – generally super rich individuals and fossil fuel companies – must also be incentivized to reduce their impact.

Taxing their carbon emissions would do this and would raise significant sums that could, again, be invested in a fair green transition.

We saw a big success in this campaign recently, when Oxfam came out in favour of taxing polluters fairly.