BHP, Rio Tinto call for global deal to push clean coal

BHP, Rio Tinto call for global deal to push clean coal

Two of the world’s largest mining companies, BHP Billiton (ASX:BHP) and Rio Tinto  (LON:RIO) called world leaders on Thursday to seek a deal setting an international price on carbon.

Their plea comes amid fears a climate change deal reached Wednesday between the U.S. and China could hurt coal miners in Australia, the world’s second largest producer of the fossil fuel.

The miners worry a one-sided action to stop increases in carbon dioxide emissions may lead to the imposition of future trade barriers.

According to The Australian, BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie was the first to raise his point, saying that while the impact of the agreement was “hard to tell at the moment,” it would rushed to assumed “anything to do with climate is bad for coal’’:

“It needn’t be if the right technology is developed, and people also want to solve the issue of keeping energy affordable and ­secure,” Mr Mackenzie said.

The deal should not mean “that you drastically move away from coal”, Mr Mackenzie said, advocating that the “the world moves quickly to deal with offsetting technologies like carbon capture and storage”.

Rio Tinto’s Sam Walsh, in turn, also emphasized the role of carbon capture and storage technologies, saying he hoped they would be lead to a more environmentally friendly way of producing commodities such a coal and steel.

“We have spent $100 million on carbon sequestration projects. We’re very much aligned with this agreement between the U.S. and China and we look forward to the assistance they can provide in bringing these technology advances ahead,’’ he said in a TV interview with ABC.

Both mining leaders will be attending the G20 summit this weekend in Brisbane, Australia, recently under attack for resisting calls by the U.S. and other countries to place climate change on the meeting formal agenda.

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