Business Council of Australia

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Melbourne, Australia

Climate Lobbying Overview: Despite improving its top-line messaging on climate policy, the Business Council of Australia (BCA) has traditionally lobbied negatively on climate-related regulations and appears to support the continuation of fossil fuels in the energy mix.

Top-line Messaging on Climate Policy The Business Council of Australia (BCA) appears to have a mixed but improving messaging in its top-line messaging on climate change policy. In January 2021, BCA stated support for Zali Steggall's independent Climate Change Bill, which legislates for net-zero target. A position it re-emphasized in a June 2021 report titled ‘Living on Borrowed Time’, stating ‘As a country, we need to do our part in the global efforts to address climate change by adopting a national net zero target of emissions by 2050’. The BCA has stated support for Australia’s 2030 GHG emission target of 26-28%, but has not appeared to support any increase on this. In 2019, BCA advocated in favour of the use of Kyoto carry over credits to reach Australia’s of 26-28% target, in effect reducing the amount of emissions reductions required even further. In 2020, BCA has nominally shifted position, endorsing a net-zero federal emission target by 2050, which is has supported in its submission to the Technology Investment Roadmap and in its submission to the COVID-19 Recovery budget. The group argues that this should be reached without carry over credits if possible, but has not fully ruled out supporting their use in the future.

Engagement with Climate-Related Regulations The BCA appears to have a mixed engagement with climate-related regulations. In 2018, the group strongly opposed proposals to increase the federal level Renewable Energy Target (RET) while in March 2019, BCA lobbied the Western Australian Government to reject the GHG emissions guidelines to be used in future development assessments released by Western Australia’s Environment Protection Authority, which were developed because of what the agency felt to be a lack of action and leadership from the federal government on emissions reductions. The organization has, however, stated support for a carbon price in its 2020 submission to the Technology Investment Roadmap, but specifying in 2019 that this is on condition that it avoids a fixed pricing mechanism and begins at a price well below the original 2014 Carbon Tax. In the same Technology Investment Roadmap, BCA also advocated to remove the current renewable energy mandates on ARENA and CEFC and extending the agencies' remits to include funding non-renewables. BCA made this request again in its submission regarding economic recovery following COVID-19. However, as of late the BCA's position seems to be improving, in October 2021 the association pledged its support for a greenhouse gas reduction target of 46-50% by 2030, having described a 45% target as 'economy wrecking' in 2018.

Positioning on Energy Transition: The BCA’s lobbying on the energy transition appears to be mixed, but improving. In the 2021 report titled ‘Living on Borrowed Time’, the association states that Australia should be ‘a superpower in clean energy exports such as hydrogen’ and calls for investments towards decarbonization and the development of new zero carbon technologies. In 2020, with reference to its new position in favour of a “net-zero” emissions goal by 2050, BCA CEO Jennifer Westacott has clarified that the organization is supporting a heavy reliance on technologies such as CCS and carbon sequestration “to drive the transition” towards this target, which she specifies “doesn’t mean we don’t emit”, supporting only an “incremental” change in Australia’s coal-dominated energy mix with an expanded role for natural gas. The BCA has been an opponent of state-level policy action on the energy mix, particularly opposing renewable energy targets, stating support for national targets instead.

Main Web Site Social Media CDP Responses Legislative Consultations Media Reports CEO Messaging Financial Disclosures
Communication of Climate Science
2 NS NA 1 1 NS NA
Alignment with IPCC on Climate Action
1 -1 NA 1 2 1 NA
Supporting the Need for Regulations
-1 1 NA -1 1 1 NA
Support of UN Climate Process
0 0 NA 0 1 0 NA
Transparency on Legislation
Carbon Tax
NS -2 NA NS -2 -1 NA
Emissions Trading
NS -1 NA 0 0 -1 NA
Energy and Resource Efficiency
1 1 NA -2 NS 0 NA
Renewable Energy
-1 -1 NA -1 -1 -1 NA
Energy Transition & Zero Carbon Technologies
0 0 NA 0 -1 0 NA
GHG Emission Regulation
-1 0 NA -1 0 0 NA
Disclosure on Relationships