BHP Says Put A Price On Carbon As Wentworth Byelection Shakes Up Energy

AFRBen Potter

Put a price on carbon, says Fiona Wild, vice president of Climate Change and Sustainability at BHP. Jesse Marlow
As the Morrison government digs in against changes to the climate and energy policies that were rejected at the Wentworth byelection, BHP wants a price on carbon to be part of the policy mix.
Fiona Wild, head of  Sustainability & Climate Change at BHP, said a landmark Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report - which called for policies to limit global temperature increases to 1.5 degrees - is a rallying cry to all industries to reduce their emissions via changes in lifestyles, technology ,finance, international co-operation and policy.
"So where does BHP sit in relation to the challenge of climate change? We accept the IPCC's assessment of climate change science that warming of the climate is unequivocal, the human influence is clear and physical impacts are unavoidable," Dr Wild told the Greenhouse Gas Technology-14 in Melbourne. 
"We believe that the world must pursue the twin objectives of limiting climate change in line with current international agreements while providing access to affordable energy. We do not prioritise one over the other – both are essential to sustainable development."
Prime Minister Scott Morrison (right) and Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg have dug their heels in against changes to the government's climate and energy policies Chris Pavlich
Dr Wild said that under all current plausible scenarios, fossil fuels will continue to be a significant part of the energy mix for decades.
"As such, there needs to be an acceleration of effort to drive energy efficiency, develop and deploy low emissions technology and adapt to the impacts of climate change," she said.

Price carbon
"And we believe there should be a price on carbon, implemented in a way that addresses competitiveness concerns and achieves lowest cost emissions reductions."
BHP's support for a price on carbon to drive emissions reductions required to meet Paris climate agreement commitments is longstanding, but Dr Wild's reiteration of the stance comes as Prime Minister Scott Morrison and Treasurer Josh Frydenberg dig their heels in against changes to the government's climate and energy policies in response to the IPCC report and the Wentowrth byelection.
Steelmaking needs carbon capture and storage for the next breakthough in efficiency, BHP Billiton's head of Sustainability & Climate Change Fiona Wild says. Pictured: North Star BlueScope minimill at Delta, Ohio. North Star BlueScope Steel
Kerryn Phelps, the high profile independent candidate who threatens to wrest the rich, blue chip seat of Wentworth from the coalition after a century in the conservative fold, said on the weekend anger at the government's decision to walk away from emissions reduction targets in electricity was a major factor in the huge swing to her.
BHP has taken a leadership position in cutting emissions from the resources industry and Dr Wild said the company has now "for the first time set a longer-term of net-zero operational emissions in the second half of the century, matching the ambition of the Paris Agreement, and we are working to define a pathway towards that goal".
Dr Wild said BHP's "low emissions technology roadmap" includes battery storage, renewable energy, technologies to reduce fugitive emissions, low emissions transportation and carbon capture and storage. 

Steel needs CCS
But she said carbon capture and storage still had to overcome obstacles to its acceptance, especially in the steel industry where further improvements in the efficiency of current steel making technologies yield diminishing returns and a "breakthrough" technology such as carbon capture and storage (CCS) is required.
This required overcoming CCS's image as a rival to other forms of carbon emissions reduction and gaining acceptance for CCS from a wider range of stakeholders, and advocate for policy support from governments.
"We must stimulate CCS uptake with market mechanisms such as carbon pricing, and provide the means for CCS to participate in existing markets while the technology further matures. A market-based carbon price could minimise the costs of a low carbon transition by making clear the marginal cost of reducing emissions across all sources," Dr Wild said. 
"While there is no definitive pathway to 1.5 degrees outlined in the IPCC's report, all pathways rely to some extent on carbon dioxide removal. The application of CCS to power and industrial processes, and in combination with either bioenergy or direct air capture, offers the potential for large scale carbon dioxide removal."


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