The SMH has an article on a recent speech by BHP CEO Marius Kloppers, calling for a carbon tax to be introduced to Australia - BHP boss dumps on future of coal.

THE world's largest miner, BHP Billiton, has weighed into the climate change debate, warning that Australia should ''look beyond coal'' and towards other energy sources.

The chief executive of BHP, Marius Kloppers, said Australia's economy will suffer if it does not significantly reduce its carbon emissions in anticipation of a global carbon price. ''Failure to do so will place us at a competitive disadvantage in a future where carbon is priced globally,'' he said.

BHP is one of the world's largest producers of thermal coal, which made up about 8 per cent of its revenue last year. And while BHP and the broader mining industry have acknowledged the need for action on climate change, Mr Kloppers is now calling for Australia to take a lead on the issue. ...

Mr Kloppers stressed the need for a clear price signal on carbon emissions and recommended a combination of a carbon tax, land use actions and a limited emissions trading system, which could apply to electricity generators. He said Australia's energy production was particularly carbon intensive and the highest among OECD countries in terms of tonnes of carbon emitted per unit of energy. Coal-fired power stations account for almost half of the country's emissions.

''Australia will need to look beyond just coal towards the full spectrum of available energy solutions,'' he said.

The Business Spectator also has a look at the Kloppers speech - Kloppers' big call.

There can be no doubting now that a carbon price is back on the political agenda. Big business – or, more to the point, the biggest business – has spoken, and there is now no hiding from the issue.

BHP Billiton CEO Marius Kloppers certainly made a dramatic intervention into the debate. He took three three pillars of the fossil fuel lobby’s defence of the status quo and threw them out the door. He didn’t just skirt around their Maginot Line, he ploughed straight through it. And he’s challenged the nation’s politicians to do something about it.

The three key elements from Kloppers speech was that it was clear that Australia did need to take strong action to reduce its emissions, it needed to look beyond coal and towards other energy sources, and it needed to do so to protect its international competitiveness.

The need for global action on climate change is not, apparently, just a left-wing conspiracy. And it is now, once again, a front page issue.

More from the Business Spectator - Kloppers outflanks the pollies on carbon.

News that BHP Billiton wants Australia to be a first-mover in imposing a carbon tax serves to underline the policy overlap that exists between the Greens, independents and a large part of corporate Australia – the desire to begin reducing carbon emissions sooner rather than later – but it also highlights the highly disparate levels of trust they have for market mechanisms to do the job. ...

Kloppers has outflanked both Labor and the Coalition with this announcement, pointing out that the major parties have been too timid on this issue: "If we get a global price for carbon and we have got a carbon-intensive generation centre, companies like BHP Billiton that consume the energy will eventually lose their competitiveness because it will pay a higher price for its energy.''