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World's Largest Mining Company Breaks With Global Trade Groups That Deny Climate Change

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BHP Billiton relies heavily on science and technology, recognizes climate change and supports the Paris agreement. YouTube

One of the world's largest coal companies is making plans to quit the World Coal Association over a disagreement on climate policies.

British-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton noted in a review of the company's industry associations issued Tuesday that it may end its membership in the international lobbying group and will reconsider its membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce due in part to the U.S. planned withdrawal from the Paris agreement.


BHP's review comes on the heels of mounting shareholder pressure to reconsider its memberships with groups that espouse views contrary to the company's stated values. The report affirmed that BHP believes "the warming of the climate is unequivocal, the human influence is clear and physical impacts are unavoidable" and reasserted the company's support for the Paris agreement.

As reported by the New York Times:

The move highlights the delicate considerations huge mining companies must contend with as they seek to balance profit with social and environmental awareness.

It represents the latest example of a business that is largely built around traditional fossil fuels responding to investor and government concern over climate change. Last week, the oil and gas giant BP said it would spend $200 million to acquire a large stake in a solar power developer, while Norway's Statoil and France's Total have also made investments in renewables.

Though carefully worded, B.H.P.'s report also takes issue with the Trump administration's unilateral exit from the Paris agreement.

"While we won't always agree with our industry associations, we will continue to call out material differences where they exist and we will take action where necessary, as we have done today," Geoff Healy, the company's chief external affairs officer, said in a statement.

For a deeper dive:

New York Times, Reuters, The Guardian, FT, Deutsche Welle, WSJ, Fox Business

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