Tuesday, January 31, 2023

Capitalism and Clean Air


The government cannot achieve the air quality improvements advised by medical experts, so has set its targets lower for the next 10 years, Thérèse Coffey, the environment secretary has admitted as she unveiled a new environmental planCoffey also confirmed that there would be no major new funding for achieving the targets in the 262-page Environmental Improvement Plan

Doug Parr, UK policy director at Greenpeace UK, said: “If this is a roadmap, it’s a roadmap to the cliff edge. This Conservative government promised the most ambitious environmental plan of any country on earth. Instead, here’s yet more paperwork containing a threadbare patchwork of policies that fail to tackle many of the real threats to our natural world. This won’t do.”

Air pollution experts pointed to research by King’s College London and Imperial College London that has shown the government could achieve the more stringent targets, which are supported by the public in polls, if it took stronger action on the sources of pollution, which include diesel cars and wood-burning.

Sarah Woolnough, chief executive of charity Asthma + Lung UK, said: “Air pollution is a public health emergency which causes 36,000 premature deaths in the UK every year. The government has ignored our calls to bring forward its compliance date, and instead said it will make our air cleaner by 2040. This falls far short of what’s needed – it means that for another 17 years, children will be forced to live, learn and play in toxic levels of air pollution, and a new generation will be condemned to breathe air so dirty it can stunt their lung growth, cause lung conditions like cancer, and trigger existing conditions including asthma.”

Richard Benwell, chief executive of the conservation group Wildlife and Countryside Link, said, “Too many people live in polluted, nature-deprived neighbourhoods, at great cost to mental and physical health,” he said. “Billions of pounds could be saved for the NHS if everyone lived in a healthy environment, and millions of lives could be brightened.”

Thérèse Coffey admits UK can’t achieve air pollution target advised by experts | Pollution | The Guardian

Exxon Record Profits

 Yet another global corporation disclose a bumper year of profits while workers endure austerity and cuts in their living standards.

 ExxonMobil reaped a record $55.7bn (£45.2bn) in profit last year, more than double 2021's figure and about $6.3m an hour.

Exxon boss Darren Woods said, "Of course, our results clearly benefited from a favourable market..." By which he meant, the oil prices surge following Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

Oil majors are expected to break their own annual records on high prices and soaring demand, pushing their combined take to near $200bn

Big Pharma Profiteering


Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer reported Tuesday that it brought in a record-breaking $100.3 billion in revenue in 2022 and $31.4 billion in profit. The company reported $56 billion in sales of its Covid-19 vaccine and Paxlovid, though it said it expects sales to drop in the coming year as it moves to hike prices significantly on its vaccine.

"In one year alone, Pfizer's revenue has exceeded the total health expenditures of more than 100 countries combined," Julia Kosgei, policy co-lead for the People's Vaccine Alliance, said. "If it were a country, Pfizer would sit in the wealthiest third of nation-states. And it has amassed this fortune while jacking up prices on Covid-19 vaccines amid a pandemic that has devastated people’s livelihoods. Put simply, Pfizer has plundered health systems for profit."

Globally, more than 2,600 people are dying from Covid-19 each day on average. According to Our World in Data, just over 26% of people in low-income nations have received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose as Pfizer and other pharmaceutical giants refuse to make their vaccine technology available to all.

"Billions of people in developing countries still cannot access affordable Covid-19 medicines," continued Kosgei. "Companies like Pfizer are gobbling up ever-greater proportions of health budgets and handing the spoils to wealthy shareholders—all while treating access for developing countries as little more than a PR initiative..."

 The advocacy group Global Justice Now called Pfizer's record earnings report "sickening."

"With this latest 'all-time high' announcement, Pfizer now has revenues higher than the GDP of 133 countries, including 8 E.U. member states, and is the first pharma company ever to make $100 billion in a year," noted Tim Bierley, the group's pharma campaigner. "But not content with doubling its revenues with a pandemic windfall, they are now still moving to aggressively hike the price of Covid-19 booster doses, putting even more pressure on already struggling public health systems."

He went on to say:

"Their latest record-breaking revenues are further proof that the company treated the pandemic as an opportunity to enrich its shareholders," Bierley added. "We can't allow Big Pharma companies to hold us to ransom in this way. We need the government to be bold and break with the monopoly patent model that fails people everywhere. It's time to put people's lives above corporate profit."

Pfizer's Record-Shattering $100 Billion in Revenue Denounced as 'Sickening' (commondreams.org)

Carbon Emission Inequalities

 The World Inequality Lab is co-directed by the influential economist Thomas Piketty, the author of Capital in the Twenty-first Century, whose work following the financial crisis more than a decade ago helped to popularise the idea of “the 1%”, a global high-income group whose interests are favoured by current economic systems.

In a report entitled Climate Inequality Report 2023, economists from the World Inequality Lab dissect where carbon emissions are currently coming from.

The report found that “carbon inequalities within countries now appear to be greater than carbon inequalities between countries. The consumption and investment patterns of a relatively small group of the population directly or indirectly contribute disproportionately to greenhouse gases. While cross-country emission inequalities remain sizeable, overall inequality in global emissions is now mostly explained by within-country inequalities by some indicators.”

The report also found that although overseas climate aid – a key focus of the recent Cop27 climate negotiations – would be needed to help developing countries reduce their emissions, it would not be enough and developing countries also needed to reform their domestic tax systems to redistribute more from the wealthy.

The finding is further evidence of the growing divide between the “polluting elite” of rich people around the world, and the relatively low responsibility for emissions among the rest of the population.  It confirms a growing body of work suggests that a “polluting elite” of those on the highest incomes globally are vastly outweighing the emissions of the poor.

It shows that people on low incomes within developed countries are contributing less to the climate crisis, while rich people in developing countries have much bigger carbon footprints than was previously acknowledged.

"...While cross-country emission inequalities remain sizeable, overall inequality in global emissions is now mostly explained by within-country inequalities by some indicators.”

It also shows there is plenty of room for the poorest in the world to increase their greenhouse gas emissions if needed to reach prosperity, if rich people globally – including some in developing countries – reduce theirs, the analysis has found.

Emissions divide now greater within countries than between them – study | Greenhouse gas emissions | The Guardian

Monday, January 30, 2023

Is seaweed the solution?

 Seaweed farming could constitute 10% of human diets by 2050 it could reduce the amount of land needed for food by 110m hectares (272m acres) – an area twice the size of France. In parts of Asia, seaweed already makes up 2% of diets.

About 650m hectares (1,606m acres) was identified as plausible for seaweed farming, with the largest areas in Indonesia and Australia.

“Cultivating seaweeds for food, feed and fuel within even a fraction of the 650m hectares of suitable ocean could have profound benefits to land use, emissions reduction, water and fertiliser use,” the authors wrote.

Scott Spillias, a researcher at the University of Queensland in Australia who led the study published in Nature Sustainability, said: “People around the world are looking at the ocean as this big ‘untapped’ resource and asking if we should be using more of it.” He said. “If we grow seaweed, the best thing to do is for people to eat it rather than feed it to livestock, but that’s going to need some big cultural shifts.”

The cultivation and use of red Asparagopsis seaweed as a cattle feed supplement that has been shown to result in drastically lower methane emissions from cows. The study suggested cuts to methane emissions from using Asparagopsis could save 2.6bn tonnes of CO2-equivalent a year by 2050 – about the same as the current greenhouse gas footprint of India.

Food, feed and fuel: global seaweed industry could reduce land needed for farming by 110m hectares, study finds | Food | The Guardian

Shell's Profits


Shell’s figures will be suitably eye-watering: adjusted annual profits are expected to come in around $83bn (£67bn) against $55bn a year ago, including around $19bn in the final quarter of the year, against $16.3bn in the same period of 2021.

The firm’s prized dividend has been lifted by 15%. Shell is spending $18.5bn buying back its own shares this year, a statistic that has only increased the calls for the firm to allocate more of its cash pile towards renewable energy and less to rewarding shareholders. This year’s capital investment is expected to come in at between $23bn and $27bn, but renewables will make up a relatively small proportion of this.

“Let’s not forget that these companies are richer because the rest of us are poorer,” said Alice Harrison of campaign group Global Witness. “Brits should be asking themselves whose side their government is on – those of us living in cold, draughty homes or an industry that’s riding the wave of the energy crisis and returning billions to its shareholders?..."

CMC Markets analyst Michael Hewson says, “Oil companies don’t help themselves when they take the decision to continue to buy back billions of dollars in their own shares, rather than increase the amount of investment in renewable sources of energy.”

Shell and BP face tough job of keeping customers and investors happy as profits roll in | Oil and gas companies | The Guardian

Will the elderly save the economy?

Many sectors across the British economy are suffering from acute staff shortages. But at the same time around a quarter of people of working age - about 10 million people - don't have jobs. 

The chancellor, Jeremy Hunt, promised a “fundamental programme of reforms” to get millions of people back to work.

The Chartered Management Institute (CMI) suggests firms are much less open to hiring older workers than they are to bringing in younger talent. The CMI, a professional body, warns that to bring more older workers back into the workforce, employers will also need to "shift their attitudes" towards hiring.

Ann Francke, chief executive of the CMI, said, "...unless those doing the hiring revisit their attitudes, older workers will continue to be excluded, just when the labour market needs them the most," she said.

More than 1.6 million adults aged 50 and over are unable to work because of long-term sickness. The number has increased 20%, or 270,000 in three years. 

Over-50s at work: 'You feel your usefulness has passed' - BBC News

Long-term sickness leaving 1.6m UK adults over 50 unable to work | UK unemployment and employment statistics | The Guardian

Half of Haiti's children need aid and assistance

 In Haiti, at least half its children, 2.6 million, are expected to need immediate lifesaving assistance in 2023, UNICEF warns.

In the last two years, the number of Haitian children in need of humanitarian aid has increased by half a million as an upsurge in armed violence, a resurgence of cholera, combined with food insecurity and skyrocketing inflation have restricted access to essential health, nutrition, water and hygiene, and education services for millions of children and their families.

1 in 2 children depend on humanitarian aid to survive this year - Haiti | ReliefWeb

Investors V Wage Earners


The regular dividends that investors receive from owning shares in UK-listed companies soared by 16.5% in 2022, far outstripping wage growth in either the private or public sector.

Including the value of one-off dividends, which companies make from time to time to reward investors above and beyond their regular annual payouts, the total value was still up, albeit by a more modest 8% to £94.3bn.

Investors’ returns from underlying dividends – excluding volatile one-off payouts – reached £84.8bn during the year, partly owing to a £3.8bn boost from the weakness of the pound, which inflated the figures for dividends paid in dollars. 

The rise in share income was particularly steep for those who invest in banks and oil companies, which were boosted by the high oil and gas prices that have contributed to the cost of living crisis.

Link Group said “resurgent” banking dividends were the most significant driver, accounting for a quarter of the rise. Soaring energy prices, which have saddled households with sky-high bills, pushed oil payouts higher by a fifth. Oil companies also implemented share buybacks, which can strengthen the share price as another way of rewarding investors, with Shell alone repurchasing £16bn of its own stock.

 Living costs are rising faster than salaries, although not faster than dividends. 

Dividends from UK-listed firms up 16.5% in 2022, far outstripping pay rises | Investments | The Guardian

Sunday, January 29, 2023

The Powers That Be Know Best!

What did you learn in school today,

Dear little boy of mine?

What did you learn in school today,

Dear little boy of mine?

I learned that Government must be strong;

It's always right and never wrong;

Our leaders are the finest men

And we elect them again and again.

That's what I learned in school today,

That's what I learned in school.”

Pete Seeger

The UK Ministry of Defence closely monitored the social media accounts of public figures critical of the government’s Covid-19 policies during the pandemic, a whistleblower told the Daily Mail newspaper on Saturday. The claim counters repeated official denials that the government caried out any such surveillance.

The military’s secretive 77th Brigade compiled dossiers on anyone with a sizeable following who questioned the lockdowns, mandates, and predictions of doom that characterized London’s response to the novel coronavirus outbreak, according to the source, who worked for the unit during the pandemic.

The unit’s duties included combatting “disinformation” and “harmful narratives… from purported experts,” assisted by raw data scraped from social media by AI and civilian employees. Undesirable narratives were suppressed or removed, while government narratives were promoted. 

I had the impression the Government were more interested in protecting the success of their policies than uncovering foreign interference,” the whistleblower told the Mail, suggesting London’s single-minded focus on suppressing criticism might have led to them overlooking genuine foreign meddling in the form of pro-lockdown campaigns from China.

While the 77th Brigade’s information specialists officially target only foreign entities with “non-lethal engagement and legitimate non-military levers as means to adapt behaviours of adversaries,” the whistleblower explained they cheated their way into surveilling UK citizens by claiming that “unless a profile explicitly stated their real name and nationality they could be a foreign agent and were fair game.” Forbidden from repeatedly looking at a named UK citizen’s account while on the clock, they merely waited until their shift was done to snoop on people they couldn’t pretend were foreign.

Civil liberties group Big Brother Watch (BBW) obtained extensive documentation substantiating the whistleblower’s claims and revealing that the Counter Disinformation Unit of the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport and the Rapid Response Unit of the Cabinet Office were also involved in the surveillance of British civilians.

BBW’s director, Silkie Carlo, called for the immediate dissolution of the Counter Disinformation Unit and a full investigation of the materials it had obtained, describing the government’s work on “countering misinformation” as dangerous to democracy.

An anonymous source within 10 Downing Street told the Mail that the disinformation units had wound down much of their work since the end of lockdowns.”

RT 28\1\23

Dave C.

The Merchants of Death

  Sales of U.S. military equipment to foreign governments rose 49% to $205.6 billion in the latest fiscal year.

Sales approved in the year included $13.9 billion worth of F-15ID fighter jets to Indonesia, $6.9 billion worth of Multi-Mission Surface Combatant ships to Greece, and $6 billion worth of M1A2 Abrams tanks to Poland.

There are two major ways foreign governments purchase arms from U.S. companies: direct commercial sales negotiated between a government and a company, and foreign military sales in which a foreign government typically contacts a Defense Department official at the U.S. embassy in its capital.

The direct military sales by U.S. companies rose 48.6% to $153.7 billion in fiscal 2022 from $103 billion in fiscal 2021, while sales arranged through the U.S. government rose 49.1% to $51.9 billion in 2022 from $34.8 billion the prior year.

U.S. arms exports up 49% in fiscal 2022 | Reuters (archive.is)

The British "Royalty"

 The royal families of Gulf states including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Qatar own more than £1bn of UK property via offshore jurisdictions, such as Jersey and the British Virgin Islands.

Nearly 200 properties, including hotels, London mansions and country estates, belong to a few small but super-rich dynasties.

Gulf royals who hold assets through offshore entities include Sheikh Mansour, the owner of Manchester City football club, members of the Al Saud ruling family of Saudi Arabia, and the al-Thani clan that controls Qatar.

The most expensive is a £150m Surrey estate which is owned by Sheikh Mansour’s wife, Sheikha Manal bint Mohammed al-Maktoum. Sheikh Mansour, who is the deputy prime minister of the UAE, owns 17 other land titles via Jersey, including a London apartment and land connected to urban developments in Manchester.

The Saudi royal family also holds a vast array of property via offshore entities, including the Holme, a lakeside manor in the middle of London’s Regent’s Park, built in 1818.

The property is owned by a Guernsey-based entity, whose beneficial owners include Abdullah bin Khalid Al Saud, the kingdom’s representative at the United Nations. It was reportedly for sale for £185m in 2020.

Another royal, Turki bin Salman Al Saud, he ninth son of the king and brother to the country’s de facto ruler, Mohammed bin Salman owns a BVI-based company called Moncrieff Holdings, which owns 18 properties in London, including flats in the Pinto Tower in Nine Elms.

Qatari royals have also used offshore jurisdictions to spend vast sums on UK property. Sheikh Thani bin Abdullah al-Thani, a member of the dynasty that has ruled over Qatar since the 19th century, owns 12 companies on the register of overseas entities, all of them based in the British Virgin Islands. Those companies own 16 properties, including 160 Great Portland Street in London, a seven-floor office block purchased for £127m in 2018. The sheikh’s property empire also includes a £48m office building on London’s Southwark Street, three addresses worth a combined £31m in Soho and the headquarters of the technology company Sony on Great Marlborough Street.

Another member of the clan, Mohamed Khalifa al-Thani, bought 1 Queen Anne’s Gate, a 27-apartment block on the edge of St James’s Park near Buckingham Palace, for £139m in 2019. 

 The Qataris own approximately £10bn of UK property, including prestige assets such as the Shard and Harrods.

Gulf royals own more than £1bn of UK property via tax havens | Real estate | The Guardian

Grenfell Admissions

  Housing Secretary Michael Gove has admitted he believes the system of regulation was "faulty and ambiguous" and not policed properly by the government and it contributed to the Grenfell fire tragedy

Gove said there was also an "active willingness" on the part of developers to endanger lives for profit.

Gove said: "Yes. The government did not think hard enough, or police effectively enough, the whole system of building safety." He added that ambiguity in the guidance "allowed unscrupulous people to exploit a broken system in a way that led to tragedy".

 Gove drew a distinction between "sins of omission and sins of commission", suggesting that, while the government was guilty of the former, some developers were guilty of the latter.

"There is an active willingness to put people in danger in order to make a profit, which to my mind is a significantly greater sin," he said.

Grenfell: Gove says government guidance partly to blame for fire - BBC News

Saturday, January 28, 2023

Climate Catastrophism?

  In 2009, scientists from the Stockholm Resilience Center identified nine planetary boundaries: including climate change - whose thresholds we could not cross if we wished to continue with human civilization. 

In 2009, when the boundaries were first established, we had already passed three of the nine boundaries—climate change, biodiversity loss, and excess nitrogen and phosphorus.

 With our current policies, we are on course to increase the global average temperature by as much as 6.5°F (3.6°C) by the end of the century. 

This doesn’t take into account the potential feedback loops and tipping points that many scientists predict will considerably worsen at 3.6°F (2°C) and potentially lock us in to a hothouse Earth scenario. 

Without urgent action to reduce emissions, we are forecast to pass 2.7°F (1.5°C) by 2032 and then 3.6°F (2°C) by 2043. This increased temperature has already led to heatwaves like the one that killed 53,000 people in Europe last summer. It’s leading to more severe storms, increased flooding like we saw in Nigeria and Pakistan last year, and longer and more frequent droughts like those in the U.S. Midwest and large parts of sub-Saharan Africa. 

It’s also leading to the rapid melting of Greenland and Antarctica, and it has been forecast that we could see several meters of sea-level rise as soon as 2066

This will affect all food production, with wheat harvests expected to decrease by 37% at 3.6°F (2°C) of warming, corn harvests projected to decrease by up to 18%, and soybean harvests projected to decrease by 12%. These are the most common crops grown on our planet. 

Some prominent climate scientists predict that at 7.2°F (4°C) of warming, the planet will be able to support less than 1 billion people. Our human population is expected to reach 10 billion by 2050 at the same time that our food production is decreasing.

We have also begun the sixth extinction event with as many as 273 species becoming extinct every single day. 

This is the second boundary we have crossed—biodiversity.  Everything on our planet is interlinked, and our ecosystems have taken 4.5 billion years to evolve into their current state.

Since 1970, there has been a 69% drop in wildlife populations. 

Freshwater fish populations have declined by 76%, with the oceanic fish population declining by half since 1970. Every species has a vital role to play in a healthy ecosystem, and removing one species has knock-on effects. As one example, when sharks are removed from an ecosystem, sea turtles wipe out seagrass, which provides habitat for species like fish, shellfish, and birds. Seagrass is also a huge carbon sink. Shark populations have declined by 71% since 1970.

 By 2100, it is predicted that there will be no more insects on our planet.

It is estimated that 60% of species loss is due to animal agriculture. In simple terms, meat-based diets use 75% more land than plant-based diets. Today, humans and the animals we keep for food account for 96% of all mammals. Only 30% of birds are free to fly, with 70% of birds kept in factory farms. 

Additionally, there are considered to be 362 megafauna species, including gorillas, elephants, rhinos and giraffes. Of these, 70% are decreasing in numbers with 59% threatened with extinction. 98% of these animals are threatened by hunting for their meat.

The third boundary crossed by 2009 was excess nitrogen and phosphorus. While these are essential for growing food, since the 1970s we have been growing our food using synthetic nitrogen and phosphates, and this has created an imbalance in our systems. 

Additionally, waste from farm animals, along with synthetic nitrogen and phosphorus, has led to eutrophication of our rivers, where algae grows, removing the oxygen from the water and causing the fish to suffocate. This has knock-on effects for all species in the ecosystem. These rivers then discharge into the oceans, creating dead zones where nothing lives.

In 2015, they discovered that another boundary had been crossed: land system change.

 As our population increases, we need more land for growing food. Additionally, as people become more affluent, they increase their meat and dairy consumption. Between 1961 and 2011, 65% of land use change was caused by animal agriculture.

 About 70% of the deforested parts of the Amazon rainforest are now being used to graze cows while the remaining 30% is mostly used for growing soy beans —which are fed to factory-farmed animals.

In 2021, Will Steffen—co-author of the planetary boundaries framework, declared that it was possible we had also passed the safe boundary for ocean acidification. 

The oceans absorb around a quarter of all our CO2 emissions, and when COdissolves in water it lowers the water’s pH. This leads to the acidification of our oceans. Our oceans’ pH value has decreased from 8.11 to 8.06. This may not sound much, but pH levels are logarithmic, which means they have decreased by around 30%. More alarmingly, reef development is believed to stop at pH 7.8. Reefs are breeding grounds for many types of fish and support around a billion people worldwide. Coral reefs only account for 0.2% of seafloor but they sustain around 25% of marine life.

In 2022 research found that the chemical pollution boundary has now been crossed.

 One of the main chemicals added to our planetary system has been plastic, whose weight is now double that of all the planet’s marine and land-based animals combined. Less than 10% of plastic has been recycled, and it is estimated that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish by 2050. Many people will have seen the photo of the turtle with a plastic straw in its nostril, but the real cause of oceanic plastic pollution is not drinking straws, it is the industrial fishing industry. 

In what is called the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, between 75 and 86% of plastic is abandoned fishing gear. Dolphins, whales, turtles, and sea birds get tangled in the web of plastic and either drown or starve to death. This ghost gear amounts to 3,000 km2 of gill nets, 740,000 km of long lines, and 25 million pots and traps. Around 2% of fishing gear is lost each year, and at the current rate, the amount of stray fishing nets will be able to cover the surface of Earth within 65 years.

According to further research in April 2022, the planetary boundary for green water has been passed. Green water is the water that makes its way into the soil and is available to plants. Additionally, we are being warned that by 2030, our demand for water is expected to outstrip supply by 40% and half of humans will face severe water stress.

If the ocean acidification boundary has been crossed, then we have now crossed seven of the nine boundaries. The eighth boundary is atmospheric aerosol pollution. Since the industrial revolution, we have doubled the amount of aerosols in the atmosphere. 

If we were to remove all aerosols today, it is possible the Earth could warm by between 0.5°C and 1.1°C as the aerosols in the atmosphere have been reflecting the Sun’s energy. They can also affect rainfall patterns. Many aerosols are toxic, and today 97.3% of humans are regularly inhaling toxins, which are currently responsible for around 10 million deaths every year.

 It is possible we have already crossed this boundary, but it has yet to be quantified.

The final boundary is the ozone layer, which has been recovering since the 1980s.

 Unfortunately, one of the solutions to the climate crisis being given serious consideration is spraying sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere to mimic volcanic eruptions, which cool the planet in the short term. Research suggests that this will lead to the destruction of the ozone layer if it is attempted. In this scenario, we will have crossed every single one of the nine planetary boundaries that scientists state we cannot cross.

A United Nations report this year found that if we continue to push past these boundaries then total societal collapse is a possibility. 

A 2019 report warned that we face societal collapse by 2050. The paper states “To reduce or avoid such risks and to sustain human civilization, it is essential to build a zero-emissions industrial system very quickly. This requires the global mobilization of resources on an emergency basis, akin to a wartime level of response.” 

study in 2014 found that if we continue business as usual then “a relatively rapid fall in economic conditions and the population could be imminent.”

report in 2020 stated that based on current deforestation levels, humanity has less than a 10% chance of avoiding “catastrophic collapse.” 

 The 2022 IPCC report mentions systemic change 44 times but all but one mention was removed in the summary for policymakers.  Unfortunately, the IPCC reports are watered down by governments and industry.

Opinion | Reaching 1.5°C of Global Heating by 2024 Isn't Even the Whole Story | Common Dreams

War Profiteering

 Chevron announced a record-shattering $35.5 billion in profits for 2022 as well as a $75 billion share buy-back to lavish on its wealthy shareholders. Chevron also raised its quarterly dividend by around 6%.

“What Big Oil has done over the last year is the definition of war profiteering," said Jamie Henn, a spokesperson for the Stop The Oil Profiteering (STOP) campaign. "After working with Russia for decades, companies like Chevron have used the war in Ukraine as cover to jack up prices and suck billions directly out of the pocket of American families." Henn added, "Big Oil is rolling in cash while families are struggling to heat their homes or fill their gas tanks."

 Robert Weissman, president of the consumer advocacy group Public Citizen, said in a statement, "It has price gouged consumers in plain sight and it's going to get away with it. Once oil prices spiked after the Russian invasion of Ukraine, a government not compromised and captured by Big Oil would have done the commonsense thing of taxing Big Oil's windfall profits and returning the proceeds to consumers," said Weissman. "The failure to impose a windfall profits tax reflects Big Oil's raw political power, not any principled policy dispute."

'The Definition of War Profiteering': Chevron Posts Record $35.5 Billion in Profit for 2022 (commondreams.org)