BHP Billiton to leave coal association over climate change stance

December 20, 2017

BHP Billiton announced that it plans to withdraw from the World Coal Association (WCA) over that group’s position on climate change. BHP Billiton, one of the largest coal mining companies in the world, also said it would review its relationship with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce following the United States decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord.

BHP, which is headquartered in London and Melbourne, Australia, said it had conducted an extensive review of its association memberships, examining each group and looking for conflicts in positions.

BHP said its climate policies are more progressive than the associations' policies.

“We believe the Paris Agreement provides a solid long-term foundation for further progress in the global response to climate change,” BHP said in a statement.

BHP’s specific issue with WCA is that it feels the coal group does not support technology- and fuel-neutral policy frameworks for combating climate change, The Hill reported.

For example, WCA objected to an Australian climate program because it did not do enough to encourage low-emission coal policies.

WCA Chairman Mark Buffier said the Association “disappointed” with BHP’s decision, though it hopes to work with the company in the future.

“We do not feel that the report accurately reflects the views of the WCA,” he said in a statement. “The WCA has always supported a balanced approach that integrates climate and energy policy; working towards a low emission future for coal.”

Though carefully worded, B.H.P.’s report also takes issue with the Trump administration’s unilateral exit from the Paris agreement.

“While we won’t always agree with our industry associations, we will continue to call out material differences where they exist and we will take action where necessary, as we have done today,” Geoff Healy, the company’s chief external affairs officer, said in a statement.

The company’s problems with the Chamber of Commerce center on climate policy issues like the Paris agreement, which the Chamber did not support.

BHP also supports pricing carbon dioxide emissions and a goal of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, both of which the Chamber has criticized.

The Chamber said it would work with BHP to see if it could resolve the company’s concerns.

“The Chamber believes that the climate is changing, and that man is contributing to these changes. We also believe that technology and innovation, rather than unachievable federal mandates, offer the best approach for reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mitigating the impacts of climate change,” a Chamber spokeswoman said.


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