#Exxonknows: Why the oil giant is really taking Europe to court
(Transport and Environment, 30 Jan 2023) Exxon’s lawsuit against the EU is a blatant attempt to intimidate European citizens as they suffer the biggest energy crisis in half a century. Even by Exxon’s standards this is scandalous.
On 28 December perennial climate bad boy Exxon delivered Europe with a nasty Christmas surprise. The US company announced that it would sue the European Union in a bid to block the EU’s landmark windfall tax on oil and gas companies.
Exxon challenged the EU’s legal authority to impose the new tax — a power it claims is historically reserved for sovereign countries. The European General Court will now decide on the matter. Its decision could have huge repercussions.
The West’s biggest oil majors pocketed a staggering $200 billion in profits last year off the back of huge volatility in oil and gas prices after Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. That takes their profits to well over 1 trillion dollars since 1993, the year of the Rio Earth Summit, the moment the world formally committed itself to halting global warming. The extreme profitability of the oil industry 30 years on is indicative of our failure to halt climate change.
In Autumn last year, the EU announced its eye-catching €140 billion windfall tax on energy companies’ profits. The move was part of a bigger effort to shield households from extreme energy bills, and to force energy companies to make a contribution.