JOHANNESBURG (miningweekly.com) – Failure to reach a global climate-change agreement in Durban and countries going it alone would result in the mining industry having to deal with 195 different regulatory regimes, which posed a “terrible management risk", International Council on Mining & Metals (ICMM) president Tony Hodge said on Thursday.
Hodge told journalists that nonfulfillment at the seventeenth Conference of the Parties (COP 17) followed the complete breakdown of global trade negotiations for the first time in 60 years since the Second World War, and the teetering of the global financial system.
To clinch something positive in Durban would have provided a spark of hope and failure there was sending a signal of the poor current state of the world.
The issue of whether there was full agreement with the science was irrelevant.
“What is most relevant is the need for politicians in the world to learn how to collaborate,” said Hodge, who was part of a panel of leading mining and metals industry figures who agreed at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change that there were many opportunities for the mining industry to make a greater contribution to tackling climate change.
ICMM, which was established ten years ago to improve sustainable development performance in the mining and metals industry, brings together 21 mining and metals companies that collectively employ a million people out of the total of 2.5-million employees in the mining industry, and 50% to 90% of all the metals and minerals produced in the world.
At COP 17, an upbeat UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon as well as South African President Jacob Zuma had battled to keep spirits up, as hopes of widespread commitment to a second phase of the Kyoto Agreement to reduce carbon emissions were dashed.
Developing countries were complaining about being restrained from using their resources in a way that had helped developed countries to develop, and developed countries were teetering economically and unable to fund climate-change abatement in developing countries.
The ICMM organisation emerged out of a multistakeholder research initiative – the mining, minerals and sustainable development project – which examined the role of mining in a sustainable future.
Its findings recognised the industry’s potential contribution, identified core challenges and set out an agenda for change that would form the backbone of ICMM’s mandate.
ICMM now serves as an agent for change and continual improvement on issues relating to mining and sustainable development.
Member companies have made a public commitment to improve their sustainability performance and are required to report against their progress on a yearly basis.
The organisation engages governments, communities and indigenous peoples, civil society and academia.