Minerals Council of Australia (MCA)

InfluenceMap Score
Performance Band
Organisation Score
Metals & Mining
Sydney, Australia

Climate Lobbying Overview: Despite nominally positive top-line messaging on climate change in 2020 and 2021, 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: In June 2021, the Minerals Council of Australia published its Climate Action Plan Progress Report which included positive top-line messaging on climate action, including support for action to reach net-zero emissions as well as support for the Paris Agreement. In an October 2021 press release, MCA supported net-zero emissions by 2050.

In 2019, MCA consistently advocated in favor of the use of Kyoto carry-over credits to meet Australia’s climate commitments, depressing federal-level climate ambition. More recently, 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 August 2021) 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.

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 a press release from July 2021 CEO Tania Constable appeared to oppose the EU Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, calling it a “trade disruptive policy”. In March 2020, MCA also opposed the inclusion of Scope 3 emissions under the National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting Scheme, limiting options to set binding targets for Scope 3 emissions in the future. 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 a November 2021 press release, CEO Tania Constable did not appear to support Labor's proposals for a more ambitious Safeguard Mechanism, citing competitiveness concerns. Similarly, 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 recent years, MCA has also increasingly engaged on climate issues in planning and environmental regulations. 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: Since the start of 2018, MCA has begun framing its lobbying positions on the energy mix around the need for a ‘technology neutral’ energy policy and support for a ‘measured transition’.

Despite this, the group's advocacy activities continue to strongly emphasize the role of coal in the energy mix. In their submission to the Technology Investment Roadmap from June 2020, the Minerals Council expressed support for retrofitting coal power plants with CCUS, and using coal with CCS to produce hydrogen; however, it did not appear to support a drastically reduced role for coal in the energy mix in line with IPCC recommendations. Furthermore, 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.” Before the Australian Federal elections in 2019, MCA CEO Tania Constable publicly pressured the Federal Labour Party to unequivocally support the coal industry. After the election, she argued that there was now a clear mandate for the expansion of coal projects, including the Adani coal mine, and called for the Queensland government to streamline the regulatory process to allow greater expansion of coal production in the region. In 2020, MCA continued to push the coal agenda; the group supported the expansion of Whitehaven’s Vickery coal mine in August 2020.

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.

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