Mining giant to leave coal group over climate change stance

Mining giant to leave coal group over climate change stance
© Getty Images

Mining giant BHP Billiton Ltd., one of the world’s largest coal companies, said Tuesday it would leave an international coal association over the group’s positions on climate change.

BHP, which is headquartered in London and Melbourne, Australia, is also considering exiting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce over climate policy as well, the company said.

The announcement that BHP is leaving the World Coal Association (WCA) came after it 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.

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 it is “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.”

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.