June 22, 2020

Greenwashing: Minerals Council’s climate strategy fails on all fronts

22 June

Climate activist group 350 Australia has slammed the Minerals Council of Australia’s “climate action plan”, calling it ‘greenwashing’.

Under pressure from members, the public and investors, the Minerals Council has released the “climate action plan” in an effort to to maintain their largest members like Rio Tinto and BHP, as well as move with international progress towards action on climate change.

“The Minerals Council have totally missed the point – burning coal is the greatest cause of climate pollution, and we urgently need to work towards net zero emissions and phase out coal, not wait for fantasy carbon capture technology, “ said Kelly Albion, Campaigns and Communications Director, 350 Australia

“This 3-page glossy document took them months to come up with and for their members to agree to, and still it has no substantial difference from the greenwashing we’ve always seen from the Minerals Council.

“Without clear commitments to advocate for emissions reduction targets that will ensure we keep global warming below 1.5 degrees or even dates by which we should hit net zero emissions, this plan is meaningless.

“The Minerals Council was forced to release this so-called “climate action plan” by their largest members Rio Tinto and BHP, but it doesn’t even set a date by which any of it will be achieved.

“There is now no excuse for any minerals company that claims to support the Paris Agreement to remain a member of the Minerals Council. If BHP and Rio Tinto are serious about their commitments to reach net zero emissions by 2050, they must see through this half-hearted effort by the Minerals Council and leave.

“If Rio and BHP do stay members, they deserve all the scorn that their investors, shareholders and the public will throw at them.

“The International Energy Agency just last week announced that in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change, swift action in the next 6 months was required to transition to renewable energy, and leave thermal coal in the ground.

“If we are going to have any shot at a safe climate future, without the increasing risks of extreme bushfires, floods and cyclones, we need the Minerals Council to leave their coal members’ interests in the past, advocate for renewable energy and immediately cease their toxic advocacy”.

Earlier this year, 12 organisations wrote to members of the Minerals Council calling on them to demand a science-based climate strategy from their industry group (letter attached). It included the following:

  • Emissions reductions targets: National reduction in emissions in line with the IPCC 1.5 degrees report and the UN Emissions Gap Report. This must include setting ambitious (at least 55%) 2030 emissions reduction targets on a 2018 baseline, closing all coal fired power stations in Australia by 2031 and must clearly recognise the need to urgently phase out the use of fossil fuels.

  • Support for renewable energy and energy efficiency: Support for the rapid deployment of renewable energy, including minerals needed for the manufacture of solar, wind power, battery storage and renewable hydrogen, and removal of public subsidies for risky, expensive or unproven technology such as Carbon Capture and Storage and nuclear energy and for new or expanded fossil fuel extraction.

  • Land Rights for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples: Genuine Free, Prior and Informed Consent and self-determination for Traditional Owners, here and globally, with mining proposals and projects on their land.

  • Transition plan: A rapid and fair transition away from thermal coal mining and energy, including a clear jobs transition plan for affected communities. Stronger rehabilitation requirements for closed mines, with a focus on ecosystem regeneration projects.

  • Abandon loopholes and commit to positive global advocacy: Removal of Kyoto credits and other carbon accounting loopholes from our national accounting of emissions and international agreements.

Contact for further background and media comment:

Kelly Albion

Campaigns Director, 350 Australia

0422 636 775