BHP Breaks with the World Coal Association over Climate Change

Guest essay by Eric Worrall

h/t JoNova – BHP, which last year derived 19% of its revenue from coal (p161, BHP annual report), has demanded industry bodies in which it participates embrace climate messaging or face a withdrawal of BHP support.

BHP Billiton breaks ties with World Coal Association over climate change, energy policy differences

BHP Billiton will remain a member of the Minerals Council of Australia for now but has decided to exit the World Coal Association over differences in climate and energy policy.

The stance follows a push by BHP investors in September for the company to review its relationship with industry bodies advocating “obstructive or misleading” policy positions on climate change and energy.

The Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, a not-for profit association, filed a resolution at BHP’s annual general meeting seeking to end the Minerals Council membership, which attracted about 9 per cent of votes.

In a report published on Tuesday, BHP said a review of 21 industry association memberships showed it held materially different positions over climate and energy policy with three lobby groups — the Minerals Council, the US Chamber of Commerce and the World Coal Association.

Key among the issues is the Minerals Councils’ push for energy policy that prioritises costs and reliability over emissions reduction, and encouraging coal power plant development over other sources.

Despite this, BHP said it has decided to remain with the Minerals Council for now, given the high level of benefit it derives from the membership.

Read more:

BHP’s statement and report are available here.

Does BHP intend to abandon the coal business? If BHP abandons coal, they may have an interesting time explaining to investors why they ditched an asset class which provides 19% of their revenue, and provided substantial revenue growth in the last financial year.

BHP’s posturing may be driven by concern about the direction of Australian politics.

The centre right Turnbull federal government has unsuccessfully attempted to straddle two chairs, supporting renewables and fossil fuels, to try to keep everyone happy.

The result, predictably, is nobody is happy. Greens think Turnbull is a sellout for not going 100% renewable, for trying to prevent coal plant closures which would have led to a colossal shortfall in dispatchable power capacity. Right wingers think Turnbull is a sellout for trying to pander to the green movement.

The infighting on the right has increased the possibility of a hard left green coalition winning power in next year’s Federal Election – a scenario which has already played out in the major Coal export state of Queensland. The newly re-elected left wing Queensland government immediately demonstrated its hostility to coal by making life more difficult for the Adani mine.

If greens conclude that BHP is running scared, attempting to appease them by making the right political noises, I doubt their demands will stop at a few climate friendly public statements.

67 thoughts on “BHP Breaks with the World Coal Association over Climate Change

  1. Interesting.

    “given the high level of benefit it derives from the membership” to the Minerals Council of Australia, not the World Coal Association, it appears BHP wants … unmarked cash (i.e. Benjamins or suitable like) and Drugs and Prostitutes preferably Child Prostitutes, in large numbers both.

    Just business … Australia!

    • BHP makes money from iron ore (China, South Korea and Japan), coking coal (Japan and South Korea), copper, oil and gas.

      Their climate change policy is driven by company law in the United Kingdom (they are dual listed on the LSE and ASX). The value of being listed on the London Stock Exchange is dubious.

      Their largest bungle has been the purchase of Petrohawk. It cost US$12.1B in cash and $3B of debt. The company cultures were radically different. It was the top of the oil market. This purchase cost BHP much of its mineral assets.

      They have announced that Petrohawk will be sold. The price and strategy will depend on the Aramco float outcome and interest generated by potential buyers eyeing US corporate tax cuts. They have plenty of losses in the US so tax there is not a problem.

      If they want to begin a new business then they should focus on energy storage.

      • @Griff

        If they want to begin a new business slit their financial throats then they should focus on energy storage.

        Fixed it for you. Merry Christmas!

      • Perhaps ALL Aussie Coal Power Plants should simultaneously open their main breakers all accross the country in Protest. Demonstrate that the country still needs the power source or will face going dark for months at a time and daily during peak hours.

      • I can shrink BHP’s statement to its core meaning. BHP message to investors: “Do not buy our stock. We are rudderless and going nowhere.”

      • The Provincial Government of British Columbia in Canada passed a law many years ago that impacted everything from Manufacturing to Engineering that basically said “Global Warming impacts had to be incorporated in everything produced including engineering design. After much discussion, I ended up cancelling my Membership in the Association Of Professional Engineers in British Columbia.

    • If the Australian Labor Party did a backflip on climate policy and started genuinely trying to represent the economic interests of the working class, whose job security is currently being hammered by high renewable prices, I would praise their decision.

      A left wing backflip on climate policy is not as implausible as it might seem – a lot of Australian workers are getting fed up with slow economic growth, while other countries seem to be racing ahead. The excuses provided by the Aussie swamp as to why this is happening are wearing thin.

      • Eric…A left wing backflip on climate policy is not as implausible as it might seem –
        As you are aware The Green Stooge has now claimed the Inner Suburbs of Australia as their political heartland.
        For International readers this area was once the working class haven for my Nan and Pop’s Generation and very strong Labor territory.
        Now it is 1.3 million dollar dog kennel cottages bought by the upper middle class Media, Academic, Public Service and Media Wanker. They be Green but they love to live in small, dense housing and concrete Inner Cities.
        It is bourgeoisie with a Capital B and it is Green. Labor has bent over backwards to fight them off with lookalike Green Policy but The Greens have the Inner City and Labor is running scared.
        Labor do not want to share Government with them but they will if they have to and Labor will do nothing but ramp up their imbecilic Green Copy Cat Policy with Solar and Wind Regrettables getting the largest slice of the Subsidy Scam.

      • “… represent the economic interests of the working class …” – This is a constant battle I have with my UK Labour MP. They’re (most, of all parties) all hand-wringing about fuel poverty, etc but won’t ask the basic questions, even when they’re offered to them on a plate.

      • Don’t disregard that some of the economic numbers that are being claimed are just as phony as the climate and temperature numbers that are being claimed. National GDP can be ‘pumped’ up and ‘fudged’ quite easily. Unemployment numbers? You must be joking.

    • I spent an hour with my local Queensland Labor member and went through a lot of scientific articles that I had printed out for her, many from this site. It was all news to her and she said she would pass them on. Three weeks later the Premier confirmed their 50% renewables policy. It’s ideology and politics, Marxism and socialism.

  2. Not evrybody knows what BHP is… Should be mentioned at least once at the beginning of the article.

    Google is not your friend: Benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH)? Break horse Power?

    • naturbaumeister December 19, 2017 at 7:38 pm
      Not evrybody knows what BHP

      I’m with you 100%. I followed both links and it’s BHP Billiton. neither link says what the BHP stands for.

      But it’s not Eric’s fault. I expect he doesn’t really know either.

      Here’s what a search turned up:

      HISTORY: Formed from a 2001 merger between global natural resources company BHP, one of Australia’s oldest companies, and South African mining company Billiton. — BHP stands for Broken Hill Propriety Company Ltd, the name the company was incorporated under in 1885.May 9, 2007

      • Steve Case
        December 19, 2017 at 8:16 pm

        For the overseas readers who are not familiar with BHP it’s also useful to note that Broken Hill is a mining town in the Australian outback in the state of New South Wales where the company got its start. Also the place where climate skeptic Ian Plimer (Heaven + Earth, etc.) has done a great deal of excellent geological work.

      • “neither link says what the BHP stands for”

        BHP doesn’t actually stand for anything. It’s name was changed from Broken Hill Proprietary to simply the letters BHP a long time ago.

  3. If greens conclude that BHP is running scared, attempting to appease them by making the right political noises, I doubt their demands will stop at a few climate friendly public statements.“. Spot on. That’s precisely how appeasement works. Well, let me rephrase that more precisely:- appeasement does not work.

  4. Ken MacKenzie (new chair) is a puppet of the Bank of America (largest BHP shareholder) green cartel along with other major left-wing shareholders.
    Small/medium shareholders no longer have a voice; BHP is now fully in the grip of the LEFT.
    Early 2017 Andrew Mackenzie (CEO) visited Trump begging him not to abandon the Paris climate agreement.
    Many at BHP are unhappy with the hypocrisy and long term danger of current management decisions.
    No one dares say anything for fear of being subject to a ‘performance review’.
    There’s a climate of fear (if you’re a warmist or sceptic) at every level in all BHP offices.
    The MacKenzies are a continuing disaster for BHP following on from Jacques (the snake) Nasser who cost BHP billions with his insane decisions following on from his almost complete destruction of the Ford Motor Co as its CEO 1991 to 2001.
    The left is more dangerous to Australia than most appreciate.

    • You are correct they have a lot of left wing shareholders to make happy, with their ridiculous OHS and costs spiralling across the group they needed to buy some positive news. Look on the bright side when it all crashes there will be some cheap assets only issue is the workers and super funds that get burnt in the process.

    • This is what happens nowadays. An extremist ideologue gets control of an organisation and pushes a particular agenda even though the members may not support it. Another example is The Royal College of Midwives. The Royal College of Midwives announced their support for the British Pregnancy Advisory Service (BPAS) campaign for the full decriminalisation of abortion on demand up to birth. This was done without consulting the members. The RCM’s Chief Executive and General Secretary, Cathy Warwick, had been a trustee of BPAS for at least five years and in 2014 she became the chair of the BPAS, with ultimate responsibility for the strategy and direction of the BPAS. There was an immediate outcry from members of the RCM and a few months later Cathy Warwick announced her resignation from the post of RCM Chief Executive.

      • I had noted – in a very distant way – the tribulations of the RCM, through the Daily Hellograph here in London.

        The need – apparently – for Cathy Warwick (the Wiki sternly enjoins – “Not to be confused with Cathy Warwick the chess player.” ) to be on the BPAS and the RCM seems like a problem.
        I wouldn’t have done that.
        Am I not political – No. I am not
        Perhaps Ms Warwick is. Not how I would have gone about it.


  5. “If the Australian Labor Party did a backflip on climate policy and started genuinely trying to represent the economic interests of the working class, whose job security is currently being hammered by high renewable prices” it would be a great thing and a political breakthrough of the first order. However, the ranks of the Australian Labour Party are thronged with some of the densest, unthinking, sclerotic, morons which exist on Earth (rather like the Democrats) and it is led by the King Sclerotic called Bill Shorten ( which is short for ‘Short-on-Brains’). The present Leader of the Liberals, Malcolm Turnbull, Prime Minister, on the other hand, is an inner city trendy and professional moron who fails to realize that CAGW/Climate Change/Global warming is not simply a Marxist Construct but represents scientific reality.
    Australian workers are certainly fed up, they sense that they are being ripped off by Greens and Government, but are fearful of Gaia’s Revenge if they think for themselves. They can see that China and India are racing ahead economically by gaming the Marxist Construct but they are confused about the way ahead for Australia.

  6. It doesn’t look like the Australian politicians are going to stop until they bankrupt their nation over “renewables”.

    I guess the only good thing that can be said is Australia will serve as a good example for other countries of what not to do when it comes to energy and prosperity.

    It’s too bad things have to crash and burn before these problems can be corrected. These politicians don’t have any good answers.

  7. In case no has noticed, politicians are not very astute. That is putting it mildly. Their first priority is themselves. Their second priority is anything except the working people.

  8. The CEO of BHP is a Marxist. He was a trustee of a Labour Party think tank in the UK. He employs people who think about carbon capture.

    • A dangerous manipulative left-wing intellectual who’ll do some good and much harm to BHP and Australians.
      Here’s an example of his progressive ‘kingly’ agenda; he’s decreed 50% of BHP’s workforce shall be female by 2050.
      Well you guessed it . . . he hasn’t offered his job to a female yet; just everyone else’s.
      By the way appeasing the green industry is not the motivation for his latest coal stunt.
      His motivation is strictly guided by collusion with the left (and the AU right under Malcolm) to realise a price on carbon.

      • He knows he can make more money simply doing nothing, no employees no employee tax no equipment no offices no health plan no super contributions less tax etc etc by keeping the stuff in the ground.

      • That seems to be one of the favourite tricks of politicians now: promise to achieve something decades from now but do nothing towards it in the short term.

        An honest person would divide the eventual aim into annual steps and demonstrate achieving this years step.

  9. Lobbying companies to get out of the coal business doesn’t change the demand for coal. What it does do is reduce the number of players in the coal industry. Less competition makes the ones that are left more profitable, but also increases price to the end users. The Greens may believe that the end users of the evil coal producers are evil coal powered power plants, but that’s not really true. The end users are the consumers of electricity, many of them in the third world and poor.

    So the outcome of the Green’s lobbying efforts is to make filthy rich coal barons even richer, and dirt poor people even poorer.

    • Absolutely correct David.
      But then that is the stated aim of the ‘greens’. Deindustrialization and depopulation by reducing access to energy. For some reason they do not realize that loss of jobs and depopulation includes them.

    • David, Isn’t that almost always the end result when “do-gooders” are in a position to run their scams through governments? Faith in governments is the faith of the pathetically oblivious on their way to becoming the “be-damned.”

  10. Time to sell BHP shares. These people are stupid. Clearly the upper echellons of the BHP hierarchy have forgotten how they earn the money for all their fncy perks.

    • BHP stock is down 50% in the last 5 years, a reduction in market value of about $35B.

      Anybody else go down by $35B in the last five years.

      • Bill Illis
        December 20, 2017 at 3:28 am

        Yes, but also worth noting that they have staged a prety respectable recovery recently going from AUD$ 17.68 in March 2016 to today’s value of $28.44.

        As an ex-BHP employee and then consultant I feel very let down by the political erosion of a great global mining powerhouse. However, their predecesor, Utah International, formerly Utah Construction was also know for caving in to the left over wages, especially for its coal mine dragline operators back in the 1970’s. Maybe it was then that the rot set in.

      • Share prices are a very bad guide to most things. So BHP share price being down is not very meaningful. Nor is the fact that South32, in which BHP spun off its unwanted assets in 2015, is now up nearly 50%. Nor is the fact that coal companies’ share prices have rocketed over the same period – eg. Australia’s largest coal company Whitehaven Coal (WHC.AX) is up over 300%. Little Stanmore Coal (SMR.AX) went up over 1,000%, but they had help from the greens’ “war on coal” – just at the point when it looked like the greens were going to win the war, Stanmore bought a 5Mt (5 million tons) coal mine for one dollar. But these share prices do show that it is possible to take on the greens and win. Pity BHP can’t see that.

  11. BHP has a 30 year litany of disgustingly poor resource decisions made by disgustingly poor BoDs and Executive Management.
    BHP was once a great company.

  12. Often overlooked in these discussions, is the important distinction between thermal coal and coking coal! One may be optional but the other is indispensable. The fact that this distinction is rarely made – if at all – is very telling of the truth verses propaganda value of all these real questions! ;-(

    • Yeah, but, Scott, you didn’t explain the real difference between thermal coal and coking coal. Thermal coal is used as fuel for various purposes, e.g., heat, power generation, etc. Coking coal is used for steel production.

      That is what makes it indispensable. No coking coal = no steel = no concrete highrises (which require steel rebar to be stable), no highways and bridges** (also require rebar) – in effect, no modern conveniences that the Greenbeans/Warmians take for granted.

      **Those are just a few examples. Others are no tractors/combines for grain production and harvest. No steel for vehicle production. No airplanes because no airplane engines. I could go on, there’s along list, but I need breakfast.

      • On average, emissions are around 2t of CO2 per tonne of steel produced (Blast furnace). However, emissions vary significantly between countries and the IPCC reported the following average emissions:

        Brazil: 1.25 t CO2/t steel
        US: 2.9 t CO2/t steel
        Korea and Mexico: 1.6t CO2/t steel
        China and India: 3.1 to 3.8 t CO2/t steel

        45 tons of rebar (steel) are required to make one of these – white elephants – so that equals 126.45 tons of CO2 emitted for the steel alone, not to mention the cement (115.4 tons) and ongoing base load, required just to run them (Onboard control systems) let alone back them up!

        I just don’t understand how the massive emissions of CO2 required to construct and run wind turbines makes any sense if you really, truly believe in CO2 driven global warming!! If you ask me, it is a very scary upscaling of resource use and I’m a skeptic of AGW!

  13. The first thing I look for is what BHP stands for = Broken Hill Proprietary Company Limited (BHP).

    Acronym … Definition
    BHP Brake Horsepower
    BHP Bishop
    BHP Better Home Products (est. 1994; San Francisco, CA)
    BHP Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia
    BHP Bima (SIL code, Indonesia)
    BHP Boiler Horsepower
    BHP Business Honors Program
    BHP Bottom Hole Pressure (oil industry)
    BHP Broken Hill Proprietary Company LTD (Australia)
    BHP British Horsepower
    BHP Brent Housing Partnership (UK)
    BHP Bureau for Historic Preservation
    BHP Black Hills Playhouse
    BHP Basic Hydrogen Peroxide
    BHP Bezpieczenstwo i Higiena Pracy (Poland)
    BHP Berkshire Health Partners (Wyomissing, PA)
    BHP Burst Header Packet
    BHP Bétons À Haute Performance (French: High Performance Concrete)
    BHP Base Horsepower
    BHP Bottom Hole Pump (oil Industry)
    BHP Blackett Hart & Pratt
    BHP Browning HiPower
    BHP Berkshire Health Plan
    BHP Bulletin d’Histoire Politique (French: Political History Bulletin; Canada; est. 1992)
    BHP Blood-Horse Publications
    BHP Bonded Hollow Point (bullet type)
    BHP Bureau of Health Professionals
    BHP Below Head of Passes (nautical miles)
    BHP Banque de Données Hydrobiologiques et Piscicoles (French)
    BHP Binboy Home Page
    BHP Benign Hypertrophy of Prostate
    BHP Broken Heart Productions
    BHP Big Hurt Productions
    BHP Brute Horse Power (shootout)
    BHP Big Hairy Palm (game)
    BHP Blois Hobby Products
    (There are many more)

    It would be good to define what the BHP company does in an initial statement, and how it relates to coal:
    “coal…provides 19% of their revenue” I found in the article…would be good to know that right off the bat.

  14. Stand Strong, World Coal! Carbon Dioxide released from coal is the beginning of Life, through photosynthesis. Only coal and other “fossil” (carbonaceous) fuels can increase the carrying capacity of the Earth for Life.

    And as for your “renewables” rival, we must tell the “greens” that carbonaceous fuels are SUPERRENEWABLE.

    We all understand that wood, for instance is renewable because you can grow more wood. Then coal, oil, gas are superrenewable, because they can became wood, or corn-for-ethanol, etc. only after being burnt. Only then we have recycling life as long as that carbon remains in the biosphere.

    Why settle for renewables when we can have superrenewables and more life?

  15. It would be helpful to provide a short explanation as to what BHP ‘is’, in the 1st paragraph of the article:
    BHP, the trading entity of BHP Billiton Limited and BHP Billiton Plc and formerly known as BHP Billiton, is an Anglo-Australian multinational mining, metals and petroleum dual-listed public company headquartered in Melbourne, Victoria, Australia. Wikipedia

  16. Australian Warmists are the most militant of all. (john cook?) It’s a small country and its population has been completely and thoroughly brain washed. Virtue signalling on the subject of “Climate Change” is still rampant. And the state media ABC goes into full overdrive every warm day!
    This makes the hypocrisy of being one of the world’s largest coal exporters even more egregious!

  17. “the possibility of a hard left green coalition winning power in next year’s Federal Election – a scenario which has already played out in the major Coal export state of Queensland.”

    This is tosh. The Labor Party is centre right and they are not in coalition with anyone.

    “If greens conclude that BHP is running scared, attempting to appease them by making the right political noises,”

    The world’s largest mining company is running scared of a few greenies? Stop it Eric.

      • “Oops center left that shuold be”

        You got it right the first time.

        If you believe the Green Party and Labour under Jeremy Corbyn and Momentum are centre anything you urgently need help.

      • Didn’t see the word ‘Queensland’ above before going for the ad hominem?

        The Australian Labor Party is a centre left party and they are not in coalition having won the Queensland election with a clear majority.

        “a hard left green coalition winning power… has already played out in… Queensland”


        I suppose for some people ‘everyone’ else is hard left.

  18. Maybe I’m missing something here, but isn’t Australia exporting large amounts of coal to other parts of Asia? If so, what is it doing to reduce global emissions since the coal is going to be burned in other countries anyway despite Australia’s claim that it’s using less of the fuel. It’s like moving a pile of decaying garbage from your yard to your neighbor’s. The garbage doesn’t simply disappear; it just causes a stink further down the street.

    • Careful Edward, likening coal to a “pile of decaying garbage” is a bit heretical. Coal doesn’t decay.

  19. DJ Hawkins:”If they want to begin a new business slit their financial throats then they should focus on energy storage.”
    Growing up in the 50s we had energy storage for the whole winter…. it was called the coal shed.

  20. “Politics is the art of looking for trouble, finding it everywhere, diagnosing it incorrectly and applying the wrong remedies.” – Groucho Marx

    When I was at McGill in the 1960’s, there were over a dozen different Marxist parties. We categorized them into two groups: the angry, violent Groucho Marxists with their ugly, greasy-haired women, and the Harpo Marxists, with their “peace and love” mantras and their beautiful flaxen-haired women.

    Marxism made simple!

    The Groucho Marxists are the leaders – they want power for its own sake at any cost, and typically are sociopaths or psychopaths. The great killers of recent history, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot. etc. were of this odious ilk – first they get power, then they implement their crazy schemes that do not work and too often kill everyone who opposes them.

    The Harpo Marxists are the followers – the “sheeple” – these are people of less-than-average intelligence who are easily duped and follow the Groucho’s until it is too late, their rights are lost and their society destroyed. They are attracted to simplistic concepts that “feel good” but rarely “do good”.

    George Carlin said: “You know how stupid the average person is, right? Well, half of them are stupider than that!”

    One can easily identify many members of these two groups in the global warming debate – and none of them are ” climate skeptics”.

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