BHP Walks Away From World Coal Association Over Climate Views

By Glenn Dyer | More Articles by Glenn Dyer

BHP Billiton, the world’s largest listed mining company, has followed through with its threat to leave the World Coal Association because of a disagreement on climate policy.

The company posted a statement on its website yesterday announcing the decision.

BHP is the world’s biggest coking coal exporter from its Bowen basin mines owned with Mitsubishi of Japan. It also has coal interests elsewhere.

It announced on December 19 that it was reviewing its membership in the coal industry body in part because it disagreed with the association’s call for Australia to abandon its clean-energy targets.

“In light of the material difference identified by the review and the narrow range of activities of benefit to BHP from membership, BHP has reached a final view that it will cease membership of the WCA," the miner said in a statement on its website.

The London-based association is a global lobbyist for coal producers including Anglo American PLC and Glencore PLC.

It also reviewed its membership in the US Chamber of Commerce, which it on Thursday said it will retain.

“While the material differences identified by the review remain at this time, BHP derives a range of benefits from the broader activities of the Chamber, particularly its advocacy on economic issues such as free trade,” BHP said in the statement.

The US Chamber of Commerce is even more anti global warning and in fact is an active climate change denier group, actively supported Donald Trump and his dismantling of environmental and climate regulations introduced by Barack Obama.

On the basis of these broader benefits, and in light of the Chamber’s willingness to engage further on climate and energy issues through an invitation extended to BHP to join its Energy and Environment Committee, BHP has determined to remain a member of the Chamber,” the company said yesterday.

“BHP will work with the Chamber and its wider membership on the direction of the Chamber’s climate and energy policy, by actively participating in the Chamber’s Energy and Environment Committee."

BHP confirmed again that it would not resign from the Minerals Council of Australia after it watered down its hardline opposition to climate change and global warming.

"On 14 March 2018, the MCA released an updated Energy and Climate Policy Position. BHP welcomes this revised policy position, which is aligned with BHP’s approach to climate and energy policy,” BHP said yesterday.

"In particular, from a policy perspective, the updated MCA position addresses the two areas identified as material differences by BHP, relating to the energy trilemma and technology neutrality. In the Review BHP identified a range of broader benefits provided by its membership of the MCA, relating to health and safety, environment, community, workforce and economics. BHP continues to assess the benefits of membership in these areas as high.

"BHP will work with the MCA and its members in relation to reflecting the updated Energy and Climate Policy Position in the MCA’s public advocacy. In this regard, BHP is represented on the Board of the MCA, as well as on its Public Policy Committee and Energy and Climate Committee.”

BHP is due to release its third quarter operational review on August 19.

BHP shares fell 0.7% to $28.51 yesterday.

Glenn Dyer

About Glenn Dyer

Glenn Dyer has been a finance journalist and TV producer for more than 40 years. He has worked at Maxwell Newton Publications, Queensland Newspapers, AAP, The Australian Financial Review, The Nine Network and Crikey.

View more articles by Glenn Dyer →