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Big Oil Rakes in Record Profit: The Two Sides of the Argument

Five biggest “Big Oil” companies made a combined profit of $196.3 Billion in the past year—a record amount that exceeds the economic output of most countries. This immediately prompted many commentators to note that a sum this large could be used to develop infrastructure and aid civilians in need. Now, the public is split into two sides: the supporters and those against the companies—arguing for more taxes being levied upon them.


Sana Yusuf, a climate campaigner at ‘Friends of the Earth, stands firmly with the notion that these companies must pay fairer taxes. “Fairly taxing their excess profits could help to fund a nationwide program of insulation and a renewable energy drive, which would lower bills, keep homes warmer, and reduce harmful carbon emissions.” Yusuf argues that income at this level could drastically improve the living standards of countless lives and contribute to sustainable energy and infrastructure development. However, it is emphasized that there should be justifiable boundaries and regulations on how many more taxes should be levied on these corporations.


Executives of Big Oil, however, continue to defend their profits. They cited this profit would be vital in their companies' eventual transition to renewable energy. Furthermore, they mentioned that higher taxes pose a hurdle to this movement, as they could deter investors and bar transformation within the industry, creating a gap instead of closing it. The CEO of Shell, one of the five firms being scrutinized, added that, at the utmost, instead of being forced to pay more tax, the government could have these companies provide perspective and context to their substantial income.

When addressing a sensitive choice such as this, prioritizing balance is essential—both sides have a reasonable argument supporting their stances. What is important is instead of playing the blame game and not taking action: negotiation tables could be set, and companies should be urged to be more transparent. Ultimately, collaboration and harmony between the government, NGOs, and businesses, big and small, is the key to finding GREAT solutions.


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