BHP, Rio defend coal

CEOS of BHP Billiton and Rio Tinto have talked up the future of coal in the wake of carbon emissions-cutting deal accounted between the US and China last week.
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BHP Billiton CEO Andrew Mackenzie.

Blair Price

According to the Wall Street Journal, presidents Barack Obama and Xi Jinping agreed to make emissions cuts as part of negotiations in Beijing.

“The US said it would double its pace of carbon dioxide reductions, eyeing an overall cut of greenhouse gases of between 26% and 28% by 2025 compared with 2005 levels,” the newspaper reported.

“China, which is still seeing quick industrial growth, set its sights lower, agreeing to stop its increases in carbon dioxide emissions by around 2030 or earlier, with fossil fuels falling to some 80% of Chinese energy use by then, US officials said.”

According to the Brisbane Times BHP CEO Andrew Mackenzie insisted that coal had a bright future.

"You have to solve both [climate change and efficient energy supply] together,” he reportedly said. “It doesn't mean you drastically move away from coal.”

Rio CEO Sam Walsh reportedly said coal would be needed for at least 50 years or more.

"Technology and carbon capture and storage are going to be the solution in relation to making it environmentally friendly," he said according to the newspaper.

"There are 13 major integrated CCS plants around the world. They are proving the technology, they are developing the technology, but I am hoping this deal between the US and China will actually enable it to take a leap forward."