The world’s biggest miner, Australia’s BHP Billiton, is in talks with European oil and gas companies on a possible global carbon emissions trading scheme.
The group of European companies including Royal Dutch Shell and BP, have approached the UN asking “to let them help governments devise a global carbon pricing plan to combat global warming”, according to the FT.
It’s a case of industry getting on the front foot on an issue – emissions reduction – that governments are likely to make them tackle one way or the other.
BHP chief executive Andrew Mackenzie has told the AFR that he is “in conversations” with the European firms about his company’s involvement. From the Fin:
“We’re in conversations with the various (companies) about the way we might be part of that,” Mackenzie said. “You know, I mean, there’s a lot of making this an afterthought because they are birds of a feather flocking together, but we are in conversations with that (group) and I think it’s important.”
The Abbott government dismantled Australia’s emissions reduction policy through a carbon tax last year.
There are a few problems with the European group’s plan. Chevron chief executive John Watson has said consumers are seeking lower-cost energy and any form of emissions trading scheme would add to the cost of power.
There’s also the problem of public acceptance of an energy policy devised by energy companies. This will be a space to watch.