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SDG13: Climate Action

With our strong focus on sustainable development there is great potential for ICMM to support the mining and metals industry in making an important and lasting contribution towards the UN’s global goals. We work with members and partners to catalyse lasting social and economic progress that supports an end to poverty, protects the planet and ensures prosperity for all.

SDG13 calls for rapid action to decarbonise the global economy in line with the 2015 Paris Agreement on climate change which calls on governments to limit global warming to well below 2oC with an ambition to keep it below 1.5oC to avert the worst effects of climate change.

Climate change affects every country on every continent and does not respect national borders, yet the greenhouse gas emissions driving climate change continue to rise. Global emissions of carbon have increased by almost 50 per cent since 1990 and grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in each of the three previous decades. Climate change can disrupt national economies and affect lives, with the poorest and most vulnerable people being affected the most. The adverse impacts of climate change include changing weather patterns, rising sea level, and more frequent extreme weather events which threaten global food production, access to water, and biodiversity. Ambitious, affordable, scalable solutions need to be embraced to achieve cleaner, more resilient economies.

How is this relevant to mining and metals?

Mining companies can contribute to addressing climate change by reducing their carbon footprint and by engaging in dialogue with stakeholders to enhance adaptive capacities and integrate climate change measures into policies and strategies. Coal-fired power generation is a major emitter of carbon dioxide and is a focus of international attention in tackling climate change. Large-scale commercially viable technological solutions such as carbon capture and storage will be needed if thermal coal is to have a significant role in the low-carbon future that governments agreed to in Paris. Mining also has a role in adapting to climate change by ensuring its surrounding communities (and its own operations) are resilient to the physical impacts of more extreme weather events.

What companies need to know to manage impacts or make a positive contribution

  1. The types and sources of energy used at an operational or facility level and an assessment of viable opportunities for energy saving or reductions in carbon intensity. (See also SDG7.)

  2. How projected changes in climate or policy changes on carbon pricing may adversely impact future investment opportunities.

  3. How the transition to a low carbon future may affect long-term business opportunities.

Minimising negative impacts

Maximising positive contributions

  • Pursue opportunities for energy efficiency and to substitute carbon-intensive sources with renewables (eg wind, solar and geothermal).

  • Measure and report direct, indirect and product-related emissions.

  • Collaborate with partners to develop effective mitigation technologies such as carbon capture and storage.

  • Plan for climate change impacts on mines and communities and strengthen climate-related emergency response plans.

  • Adopt ambitious corporate climate change and carbon management policies and targets.
  • Provide industry leadership in responding to climate change.
  • Use climate projections to inform design and placement of operations and infrastructure.
  • Use shadow carbon pricing to inform portfolio evaluation and investment decisions.