Environmentalists slam Australian mining advocate’s climate action plan

Article by Amanda Jasi

ENVIRONMENTALISTS have criticised the Climate Action Plan released by Minerals Council Australia (MCA), highlighting that the mining advocacy group does not set clear targets, including a date for achieving net-zero.

The plan outlines how MCA and its members will tackle climate change as part of wider efforts. It includes three core objectives: enabling technologies to decarbonise the minerals sector, increasing transparency in reporting, and sharing knowledge on climate change responses.

According to Tania Constable, CEO of MCA, the plan demonstrates the Australian minerals industry’s ongoing commitment to decarbonising the economy and addressing climate change.

However, the not-for-profit association Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility (ACCR), has challenged MCA to articulate any “tangible” steps for its plan.

ACCR said the plan is missing key aspects it expected, including: commitment around carbon pricing or broader decarbonising policies; tangible dates and milestones for full decarbonisation, specifically beyond its operations and regarding its customers’ emissions from their products; specific details regarding coal mining emissions; phase out of coal mining or coal-fired power; and decarbonisation of steel production.

Kelly Albion, Campaign and Communications Director at climate activist group 350 Australia, said MCA had “missed the point”. She stressed the importance of phasing out coal for achieving net zero, and said that without clear commitments to keeping global warming below 1.5°C or dates for achieving net zero emissions, the plan is meaningless.

Albion claimed MCA was forced to release the plan by its largest members, Rio Tinto and BHP, both of which have announced their commitment to achieving net-zero by 2050.

Dan Gocher, Director of Climate and the Environment at ACCR, claimed MCA member company investors “will be sorely disappointed”.

According to The Guardian, Policy Director Erwin Jackson of Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC), said that the plan is a step forward but warned the “proof will be in the pudding”. IGCC represents institutional investors and manages more than US$2trn in funds.

Article by Amanda Jasi

Staff reporter, The Chemical Engineer

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