Media release

Rio Tinto rebukes MCA on thermal coal, does not support use of Kyoto carryover credits, but keeps funding climate wreckers

Today, Rio Tinto Ltd (ASX:RIO) published its review of industry associations, which found significant differences with just one group, the US National Mining Association.

A statement accompanying the review stated Rio Tinto’s opposition to the use of “discounts” to Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs), which includes the use of Kyoto carryover credits. Rio Tinto is the first member of the MCA to publicly take this position.

Key points:

  • Rio Tinto rebuked the MCA’s thermal coal advocacy as “inconsistent with the goals of the Paris Agreement”.
  • Rio Tinto found that statements by the MCA were being made "that had not been endorsed through board or member-wide governance". This included the MCA's 'defence of future demand for thermal coal', as well as other 'advocacy that was inconsistent with goals of the Paris Agreement'.
  • Rio Tinto failed to identify any significant differences between the company and the advocacy of the Business Council of Australia (BCA), the Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) or the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), despite their continued opposition to effective climate policy.
  • Despite identifying significant material differences with the US National Mining Association — including the NMA’s lack of support for the Paris Agreement — Rio Tinto has not signaled an intention to suspend or impose conditions on its membership.

Dan Gocher, Director of Climate and Environment, ACCR said:

“Rio Tinto’s review fails to deal with the trail of climate policy wreckage wrought by its Australian industry associations since its last review in 2018.”

“Rio Tinto confirmed that the MCA’s advocacy was inconsistent with the Paris Agreement, yet did not consider this a material breach. This is simply not credible.”

“Rio Tinto found no significant differences with the advocacy of the BCA, MCA or QRC. These groups support the Paris Agreement in name only, while they continue to undermine and wreck any semblance of effective policy that would reduce emissions.”

“This review of industry associations is utterly underwhelming, and gives a free pass to the negative advocacy conducted by the BCA, MCA and QRC during the 2019 federal election campaign.”

“The BCA and the MCA support the use of Kyoto carryover credits, despite Rio Tinto’s opposition to policies that “discount Nationally Determined Commitments”. It is impossible to reconcile Rio Tinto’s position with the BCA and MCA’s support for Kyoto carryover credits. It is now clear, however, that there is no consensus within the BCA and MCA on Kyoto carryover credits, now that Rio Tinto publicly opposes them.”

“Rio Tinto also found no significant differences with the MCA and QRC’s long-running pro-coal advocacy. Both groups have advocated for the development of a new thermal coal basin in Queensland, and have lobbied for government support for new coal-fired power stations. This has resulted in the government proposing a new coal-fired power station for Collinsville in Queensland.”

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