Tuesday 24th Oct, 2017

BHP at odds with Minerals Council over climate change

Photo: BHP Billiton
Photo: BHP Billiton

Mining giant BHP is said to be reconsidering its membership with the Minerals Council of Australia, after the Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility pointed out the MCA and BHP have very different views on climate change.

The ACCR put out a statement this week expressing its concerns with BHP’s commitment to “not make political contributions” in the fight against climate change reforms, despite being a member of the Minerals Council of Australia, as well as the Australian Petroleum of Producers and Explorers Association (APPEA), the NSW Minerals Council, and the Australian Industry Greenhouse Network (AIGN).

According to London-based think tank Influence Map, APPEA spent $4 million of its member-sourced funding on ‘obstructive climate lobbying’.

Meanwhile, “the MCA counts as one of its principal recent achievements the repeal of the carbon tax which had successfully reduced Australian emissions, [and] the MCA was a member of the Australian Trade and Industry Alliance which spent $9.2 million in a successful campaign opposing the carbon tax.”

The ACCR also said the NSW Minerals Council is a significant political donor, and the AIGN has been described as having objectives aimed at “the prevention of any constraints on greenhouse gas emissions”.

BHP reportedly agreed to review its position in the MCA at its annual meeting.

“The MCA has demonstrated a pattern of vociferous and influential lobbying which has obstructed progress towards restoring stability to Australia’s energy markets and taking evidence-based action on climate change,” ACCR boss Brynn O’Brien reportedly told AFR.

“Obviously BHP understands as well as its investors that membership of the MCA comes with profound risks to shareholder value.

“We are pleased that BHP has acknowledged these risks.”

  • Peter Strachan

    Three cheers for BHP recognising what a bad look it is to be even agnostic on the subject of global warming.
    Sure, every time we approach the surface of the earth to extract some sort of finite, non-renewable raw material, there will be the opportunity to create long term environmental damage. It is clear that waste disposal from the activity of 7.6 billion humans is resulting in a massive disruption to the ‘commons’ being the atmosphere and the biosphere more broadly, which supports all life on earth.
    Over the past 100 years human activity has increased the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by 43%, it has also destroyed over 70% of global wild fish stocks and substantially removed vast swaths of native forests. Unless there is collective action to reduce emissions, the outlook for the environment and human life on this planet is greatly diminished.
    Somehow, we need to learn to leave a world that is as able to support life as when we were born.