In a plan to tackle climate change across the industry, the council endorsed a goal of reaching net-zero emissions “as fast as possible” but without setting a target date.
It said it wanted to see faster development of minerals including uranium, aluminium, copper, nickel, zinc, iron, uranium, base metals, lithium, minerals sands, and rare earths.
The plan is a list of 30 activities underneath 10 action areas across its sector covering three issues: developing technology pathways to cut emissions, increasing transparency on climate change reporting, and knowledge sharing of the sector’s response to climate change.
It said technology is “critically important” in addressing climate change and called for research, development and deployment of technology applications, including “advanced nuclear solutions”.
In December 2019 a parliamentary committee said the Australian government should consider a partial lifting of an existing moratorium on nuclear energy to allow the deployment of new and emerging technologies including Generation III+ and Generation IV reactors.
In a discussion paper released in May the ruling Liberal-National party coalition said it wanted to look at the possibility of deploying small modular reactors as part of its policy to achieve its medium- and long-term greenhouse gas emissions reduction target as part of its obligation under the 2015 Paris climate agreement.
The council’s chief executive, Tania Constable, said: “This [plan] demonstrates our commitment in Australia to making sure we meet that effort to net zero emissions as rapidly as we can.”
The Guardian newspaper in the UK said the MCA has been an influential voice on national debates on climate policy for many years and has been accused of consistently holding back action on climate change.
The UN’s climate change panel has said that to limit global warming to 1.5C, global emissions should reach net zero by 2050.
Ms Constable said the plan was focused on the end goal of net-zero emissions “rather than get hung-up on a specific date”.