CLIMATE SPECTATOR: Rio deals with climate reality

Ignore the rhetoric. Rio Tinto knows the climate is changing for business, which is why Rio Alcan has split its assets into clean and dirty, cheap and expensive, and dumped those that don’t fit.

Climate Spectator

When you want to know what big business thinks about climate change and the carbon price, it’s probably best to see what they do, rather than to listen to what they say.

Wherever a carbon price is discussed or proposed in political debates, the voice of Rio Tinto can be heard, and loudly: it’s too much, too costly, too soon or too extreme. In the case of Australia, it would be a "disaster.”

So it would be mighty tempting to think that Rio’s decision to isolate and then sell $8 billion of its assets from its Alcan aluminium division is driven by the passage of the carbon pricing legislation in Australia last week – and indeed the temptation was too great to resist for Tony Abbott. But the fact is that the Australian legislation has very little to do with the decision.

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