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Big Oil’s Profit Party: Dancing on the Graves of Global Crisis

…let’s face it, entrusting the fate of our planet and our pockets to these profit-obsessed behemoths is like asking a fox to guard the henhouse

Posted by John Donovan: 19 Feb 24

Ladies and gents, fasten your seatbelts for a ride on the Greed Express, hosted by none other than the world’s oil oligarchs, those darlings of disaster, who’ve been making it rain with profits while the world burns (literally and metaphorically). In the blue corner, weighing in with more dollars than decency, are the heavyweights of hydrocarbons: BP, Shell, Chevron, ExxonMobil, and TotalEnergies. Together, these titans of turmoil have bagged a cool $281 billion in profits since Russia decided to play war games in Ukraine. That’s billion, with a “B,” folks.

Now, let’s zoom in on our favourite contender in this profit-punching bonanza: Shell, raking in a jaw-dropping $58.9 billion since the curtain rose on this geopolitical theatre. But wait, there’s a plot twist! Just when you thought they might use those profits for, say, saving puppies or planting trees, Shell’s been axing jobs in its low-carbon unit faster than you can say “climate crisis.” Because, why save the planet when you can save your bottom line, right?

And let’s not forget BP, doing its best impression of an eco-warrior turning villain, with a neat $35 billion in the bank while also dialling back on those pesky climate goals. Because, in the world of Big Oil, green is just a colour, not a commitment.

Across the pond, our American and European oil magnates aren’t slacking either. Chevron, ExxonMobil, and TotalEnergies have collectively hoarded over $187 billion. “Devastating for millions, but it’s raining cash for us,” they might as well say, as Global Witness’s Patrick Galey so eloquently put it, calling them the “main winners of the war.”

But wait, the party’s not over. These magnates of moolah are predicted to hand out over $100 billion to their investors this year, setting a new high score in the game of “Let’s Get Richer While the World Suffers.” Public outrage? Climate emergency? Pfft, mere speed bumps on the road to wealth.

As the world endures heatwaves, floods, and wildfires, with last year marking the hottest on record (thanks, human-caused global heating), Big Oil’s response is to double down on drilling. Because, according to them, what’s a little planetary meltdown between friends?

Economists and concerned citizens alike are calling for targeted price controls to stop these profit-guzzling giants from exploiting crises, but Big Oil’s playbook reads differently. “Crisis? Opportunity!” they chant, lining their pockets while the world pays the price.

In a twisted tale of profit over people, the energy crisis has revealed a stark divide between corporate greed and public need. As Isabella Weber, an economist with a knack for stating the obvious, points out, it’s high time for a new approach to emergency economics. Because, let’s face it, entrusting the fate of our planet and our pockets to these profit-obsessed behemoths is like asking a fox to guard the henhouse.

So, as we stand back and watch the spectacle unfold, one can’t help but marvel at the audacity, the sheer unapologetic gall of Big Oil. They’ve turned the world’s woes into their windfall, dancing on the graves of global crises with pockets full of cash and hearts empty of conscience. What the f**k, indeed.

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