The world’s biggest mining companies, including Canada’s Barrick Gold Corp. and Teck Resources Ltd., are collectively committing to cut their emissions to net zero by 2050, as they face increasing pressure from investors and environmentalists to mine metals responsibly.
Net zero means companies either emit no greenhouse gases, or offset their emissions by removing a corresponding amount of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Many of the current global climate commitments stem from the 2015 United Nations climate conference in Paris, which saw signatory countries vow to keep a rise in global temperatures to 1.5 C above preindustrial levels.
The climate-change commitments made on Tuesday by the 28-member London-based International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM) comprise Scope 1 and Scope 2 emissions only, and don’t extend to Scope 3.
Scope 1 and Scope 2 are the carbon generated by miners when they extract ore from the ground, and emissions generated on site to process metals. Scope 3 emissions are those generated by the end customer, such as refineries that process iron ore, nickel and metallurgical coal.
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