Minerals Council of Australia (MCA)

InfluenceMap Score
for Climate Change
Performance Band
Organisation Score
Metals & Mining
Sydney, Australia

Climate Lobbying Overview: Despite nominally positive top-line messaging on climate change in 2021 and 2022, the Minerals Council of Australia’s (MCA) engagement on climate policy remains inconsistent with scientific advice from the IPCC on delivering the Paris Agreement’s goals.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy: MCA has expressed mixed positions on climate policy in 2021-2022. In September 2022, MCA published an update to its Climate Action Plan Progress Report which included positive top-line messaging on climate action, including support for action to reach net-zero greenhouse emissions by 2050 as well as support for the Paris Agreement. In a July 2022 media release CEO Tania Constable appeared to support Australia’s Climate Change Bill 2022, however Constable did emphasize the importance of maintaining industry competitiveness during the development of climate legislation. MCA further emphasized the importance of protecting the competitiveness of emissions-intensive, trade-exposed industries when developing climate-related policies in its 2022 Climate Action Plan update. In October 2020, a spokesman of the MCA said use of Kyoto carryover credits was “an issue for the government”; however, the MCA does not appear to have clearly supported ending their use. Furthermore, the MCA’s support for climate policy (for example, on its website as of June 2022) has generally been qualified that any policy should not impact the international competitiveness of Australian industry and should be market based “where no one technology is favoured to the exclusion of others”. In a December 2021 press release, CEO Tania Constable stated that policy changes should not "force emissions reduction faster than technology and commercial reality can deliver", and that policies should support a "sustainable reduction in emissions" to protect competitiveness. Constable also stated in an April 2022 press release that ambitious climate policy would risk carbon leakage.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations: MCA appears to have generally not supported GHG emissions regulations in Australia and, in some cases, abroad. For example, in an August 2022 media release on the Safeguard Mechanism, Constable appeared to support emissions reduction policies but strongly emphasized the need for policy to focus on deploying emissions reduction technologies, without supporting other forms of climate regulation. Furthermore, in its September 2022 Climate Action Plan update, MCA called for the protection of the competitiveness of Australia’s mining industry during reforms to Australia’s Safeguard Mechanism. Similarly, in its January 2021 'Advantage Australia' report, MCA called for the Emissions Reduction Fund and the Safeguard Mechanism to be the "mainstay of Australia's future climate policy settings", although emphasized the need to protect the competitiveness of EITE industries. In April 2022, a Mining Weekly article reported that MCA CEO Tania Constable supported promises by Prime Minister Scott Morrison that no additional carbon taxes would be imposed upon the Australian mining industry should he be re-elected in 2022. In a press release from July 2021 CEO Tania Constable appeared to oppose the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, calling it a “trade disruptive policy”.

MCA also increasingly engaged on climate issues in planning and environmental regulations in 2020. In April 2020, MCA opposed the inclusion of a mechanism to reduce GHGs under Australia’s landmark environmental legislation, the Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act. MCA has also been active in lobbying on the economic recovery from COVID-19. In August 2020, MCA advocated to dilute the renewable energy mandate of the Australian Renewable Energy Agency and the Clean Energy Finance Corporation, to open the agencies up to include investing in non-renewables. Additionally, in April 2020 MCA Chair Helen Coonan publicly advocated for a number of measures to support Australia's mining industry in response to COVID-19, including reduced tax rates, faster project approvals for mining projects, and government support for the exploration of minerals in greenfield areas.

Positioning on Energy Transition: MCA has supported the role of coal in the energy mix throughout 2020-2022. In a July 2022 media release, CEO Tania Constable opposed Queensland’s decision to increase royalty taxes on the states coal sector, calling the move a “breath-taking cash grab”. In testimony to the Joint Standing Committee on Trade and Investment Growth in June 2021, CEO Tania Constable argued “strong demand is in the Asian region… means we are going to see coal in the mix for some time.”. In December 2020, the MCA lobbied to weaken the EU's classification system for green investments, the Sustainable Finance Taxonomy, advocating the inclusion of all low-emission technologies such as coal and gas with CCUS and nuclear under a "technology-neutral" approach. Furthermore, MCA also supported Australia’s Fuel Tax Credit in an April 2022 media release, stating that industries that are reliant on diesel should not have to pay a road tax. More recently, MCA appears to have expressed support for the role of nuclear in the energy mix alongside renewables. For example, in an August 2022 media release, MCA CEO Tania Constable supported an increase in “next generation nuclear technologies” in Australia, emphasizing its success “around the world” in providing 24/7 zero emissions power. Constable also supported the formation of a regulatory framework between Australian, Canada, the US and UK for small modular reactors in order to reduce their construction costs. Similarly, in their September 2022 update to MCA’s Climate Action plan, the association supported the integration of renewables, nuclear, ‘clean’ hydrogen and ammonia, and carbon capture and storage into the Australian energy mix. The association however was not clear on the relative amounts of energy integration for each technology type, nor did it express a position on the decarbonization of hydrogen and ammonia production.

Details of Organization Score