'Countries that profited from soaring oil prices should pay levy'

Gordon Brown says countries which made ‘staggering’ profits from soaring oil prices should pay a climate change levy

  • The former PM accused petro-states of profiting without producing any value
  • He said they should pay a climate change levy to help poorer nations

Countries which made ‘staggering’ profits from soaring oil prices last year should pay a new climate change levy, Gordon Brown said yesterday.

Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Qatar and Norway and others benefited from a ‘lottery-style bonanza’ after their profits more than doubled in 2022, the former prime minister claimed.

A global windfall levy should be introduced to help poorer nations in the fight against the effects of global warming, he concluded.

Speaking ahead of the COP28 climate summit in Dubai later this year, Mr. Brown said his proposed levy would lay the foundations for a climate finance fund to support those who are most exposed.

‘Petro-states have recorded almost unimaginable profits from the rise in oil price in recent years,’ he said.

Gordon Brown (pictured) said that a handful of countries made vast profits while contributing nothing to the world

‘Pre-Covid, global oil and gas revenues were, according to the International Energy Association (IEA) running at 1.5 trillion dollars a year (£1.2 trillion) – in 2022, they soared to an unprecedented four trillion dollars (£3.3 trillion).

‘To put these extraordinary figures into context, four trillion dollars is 20 times the entire global aid budget. It is an income so big that it exceeds the entire GDP of the United Kingdom.

‘These producer states have done literally nothing to earn these extra profits. It represents one of the biggest-ever transfers of wealth from poor to rich nations.

‘I am therefore calling on these states which have benefited so much to contribute to a new global windfall levy to help the fight against climate change.

‘Given that the high price of oil and gas has been the principal reason why an additional 141 million people have been pushed into extreme poverty, it is the very least they could do.’

Support for such a levy could trigger a wider agreement at the COP28 summit which begins on November 30, the former Labour leader said.

He has written to the new G20 chairman, Brazilian president Lula da Silva, asking him to hold a pre-COP28 summit with the OPEC oil-producing states to agree the plan for the levy.

Mr. Brown added: ‘The consequences of such a grand gesture would be immense.’

The former PM is the UN’s special envoy for global education and the World Health Organisation’s ambassador for global health financing.

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