Ura­nium tops stress test

Pilbara News - - Resources - Nick Evans

■ BHP Bil­li­ton ex­pects a global car­bon price of $US24 to $US50 a tonne to be in place by 2030, as the com­pany stress tests its port­fo­lio in re­sponse to the grow­ing eco­nomic threat posed by cli­mate change.

And the com­pany has mod­elled a car­bon price of $US80/t as a global re­sponse to an “un­likely and ex­treme shock event” brought on by de­lays in co-or­di­nated cli­mate change pol­icy that sub­se­quently forces stronger global ac­tion to abate car­bon emis­sions. BHP chief com­mer­cial of­fi­cer Dean Dalla Valle told in­vestors last week BHP ac­cepted the In­ter­gov­ern­men­tal Panel on Cli­mate Change’s as­sess­ment of cli­mate change science, and the com­pany be­lieved “that warm­ing of the cli­mate is un­equiv­o­cal, the hu­man in­flu­ence is clear and phys­i­cal im­pacts are un­avoid­able”.

“How­ever, the world faces two crit­i­cal chal­lenges, ” he said.

“Firstly, we must pro­vide ac­cess to af­ford­able energy.

At the same time, we must cut green­house gas emis­sions con­sis­tent with in­ter­na­tional gov­ern­ment am­bi­tions to limit warm­ing to two de­grees above pre-in­dus­trial lev­els.”

Mr Dalla Valle said BHP’s mod­el­ling sug­gested de­mand for ther­mal coal would rise by 2030 even if gov­ern­ments moved to limit cli­mate change to two de­grees, but sharp falls could be ex­pected if stronger ac­tion was taken.

Coal was still likely to be a sig­nif­i­cant gen­er­a­tor of energy by 2030 even in shock sce­nar­ios, ac­cord­ing to BHP. “Ura­nium is the clear win­ner in this be­cause, if you look at all of the pro­jec­tions, more nu­clear power will be re­quired if the world is go­ing to achieve a twode­gree sce­nario.

“And that’s un­der a whole range of anal­y­sis we’ve done, ” Mr Dalla Valle said.

“And un­der a steady tran­si­tion to a two-de­gree world, ther­mal coal de­mand could fall be­low cur­rent lev­els.

“And in a shock even it would drop even faster — but it would still be big.”

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