Australian news, and some related international items

BHP to exit World Coal Association over differences in climate and energy policy.

BHP Billiton breaks ties with World Coal Association over climate change, energy policy differences

AAPBHP Billiton will remain a member of the Minerals Council of Australia for now but has decided to exit the World Coal Association over differences in climate and energy policy.

The stance follows a push by BHP investors in September for the company to review its relationship with industry bodies advocating “obstructive or misleading” policy positions on climate change and energy.

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, a not-for profit association, filed a resolution at BHP’s annual general meeting seeking to end the Minerals Council membership, which attracted about 9 per cent of votes.

In a report published on Tuesday, BHP said a review of 21 industry association memberships showed it held materially different positions over climate and energy policy with three lobby groups — the Minerals Council, the US Chamber of Commerce and the World Coal Association.

Key among the issues is the Minerals Councils’ push for energy policy that prioritises costs and reliability over emissions reduction, and encouraging coal power plant development over other sources.

Despite this, BHP said it has decided to remain with the Minerals Council for now, given the high level of benefit it derives from the membership.

It will, however, ask the Minerals Council to refrain from policy advocacy in these areas, and has threatened to review membership in 12 months time if the lobby group does not agree.

Given the scale of its operations in Australia, BHP is the biggest funding source for the Minerals Council. The miner said it has decided to exit the World Coal Association, given the differences and the narrower activities that benefit the company.

BHP said it will discuss the nature of its policy differences with the US Chamber of Commerce, prior to taking a final decision by the end of March 2018.

Responding to BHP’s decision, Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility executive director Brynn O’Brien said it is extraordinary that the world’s biggest miner has signalled an intention to exit the world’s peak coal lobby.

“This is a message that even organisations, like BHP, with large coal assets, do not value aggressive anti-climate lobbying,” he said.

“However, BHP’s equivocation in relation to membership of the MCA points to the highly charged environment in which climate policy is made in Australia.”

December 20, 2017 - Posted by | AUSTRALIA - NATIONAL, climate change - global warming

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