Last week, three economic earthquakes left tremors around the globe
In turbo-speed, humanity is racing toward the abyss of climate extinction.
Strangely, the richest of the richest, well-informed and powerful, often lead the pack in this doom scenario. These smart and wealthy people seem to prefer to live in unrestrained luxury and then have humans jointly die out (final fairness) above trying to survive as species with a bit less money.
The larger the richest companies, the larger the scale on which we need to organize to curve their irresponsible powers. But the first thing we need to learn is: profitable doesn’t mean good and rich doesn’t mean successful.
Three news items of last week show things finally slowly start changing.
Oil Company Curtailed on Pollution
A judge in the Netherlands has just ordered oil giant Shell to slash its greenhouse gas emissions in a landmark victory for climate activists with implications for energy firms worldwide. Carbon emissions should be about halved in a decade based on the 2015 Paris climate accords.
Shell had argued that the Paris Accords are not binding and that it does enough voluntarily. But the judge ruled that the Anglo-Dutch multinational giant’s climate policy is “not concrete and is full of reservations.” Shell’s emissions were “greater than those of many countries” and the resulting climate change effects pose “serious risk to human rights, such as the right to life and an undisturbed family life,” the judge said. It causes an “enormous CO2 emission,” which it must curtail “at once.”
Unsurprisingly, Shell will appeal having to help save the planet. Big Oil has a long history of polluting nature. Why would it improve on that record?
Climate activists rejoiced but it ain’t over till Fat Oil sings a different tune.
But, also the Dutch State is far away still from a rational climate policy.
Internationally Taxing the Rich
The Ministers of Finance of the seven richest countries just agreed to a global minimum corporate tax rate from now of 15%. AFP said euphemistically, it targets tech giants and other multinationals allegedly ‘not paying enough.’ Rather, it aims at those who don’t pay a dime.
This will require them to pay tax in the countries where they made the money (low-wage former colonies), and not just (if at all) in the states of origin or the tax havens where they have their headquarters.
Taxing the richest 15% rate should only be the first step.
Yet, for instance, the Dutch economy is greatly helped by the tax haven it created (see below). Don’t expect Big Money to take this sitting down. Greed got them there and overnight, it won’t turn into magnanimity.
Dutch Hand-out to the Rich Stopped
Across the Channel, the government of Europe’s prime tax haven, the Netherlands, just go called to order by the European Commission.
It had planned a couple of billion euro handout per year for some large boys (Shell, Unilever, AkzoNobel, and Philips first), just to let them know that the Netherlands loves them. But, the reverse Robin Hood plan died in Parliament, after an ugly fight. Never mind, double the amount would be gifted anyway, as a tax break for job creation. That started January first, 2021. Yet, it just had to quietly cancel it retroactively because now, the European Commission deemed it a state subsidy, so, unfair competition.
But the Dutch demissionary government still plans on this gift to the rich, maybe via lowering employers’ costs. It’s vital to keep watching it.
Activist victories encourage. Yet, only persistence will ensure a change.