ActionAid AA, has said that 36 climate-wrecking companies raked over $420 billion ‘surplus’ profits in 24 months globally saying that their operations impacted global economy and Nigeria negatively and should be held accountable for the devastating impacts of climate change on Nigerians. This fact is contained in a new report Action Aid launched, where it maintained that these 36 top companies in the fossil fuels and financial sector, often fund fossil fuel use, made over $420 billion in windfall profits in the 24 months preceding July 2023, and less is being given to combat climate change challenges millions of Nigerians other countries are suffering. According to AA, the report shows that taxing these extraordinary profits, referred to as windfall profits, could generate funds to boost public spending, especially for key areas such as education and climate action. Windfall profits are often attributed to external context changes and are considered a ‘surplus’ above the regular and expected profits.
The report also indicated that a tax of 90 per cent on the windfall profits of these 36 firms could generate as much as US$382 billion in revenue, and the report was launched as world leaders meet at Davos, Switzerland, for the World Economic Forum WEF. This amount is almost 20 times more than the US$21 billion provided by donors for climate adaptation in 2021. Secretary-General, ActionAid, Arthur Larok said “The scale of profits that fossil fuel companies and their bankers are making in the wake of global crises is truly astounding, especially when compared to the hardships that these crises have brought upon regular people around the world. Windfall profits taxes make sense. They can bring in significant revenue for climate action and social services, while taxing only the extraordinary corporate profits.” ActionAid’s research is an analysis of the profits of the top 14 fossil fuel companies and top 22 financial corporations by value on the stock market.
In the 24 months to July 2023, these firms made $1,218 billion in profits. Windfall profits from this amount comes to $425 billion. Fossil fuel company profits in the 12 months before July 2023 were up by an astounding 278% compared to the average in the period between 2017/8 and 2020/1. Both the fossil fuel and the financial industries have been making extraordinary profits in recent years, widely attributed to the impact of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, and high interest rates adopted by many countries n response to growing inflation. ActionAid’s research in 2023 found that banks alone have poured over $3.2 trillion into fossil fuels in the Global South since the Paris Agreement was adopted in 2015, making them complicit in climate damage. It will be recalled that at COP27, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Gutierrez, asked governments to tax the windfall profits of fossil fuel companies and redirect that money to those impacted by climate change. Over one year later, only some EU Member States, the UK, and a few Latin American countries, have introduced some forms of temporary and often limited windfall taxes on fossil fuel companies.