Global Climate Change Policy: Extractive Industry Impacts and Response

Jeff Hopkins, Principal Adviser for International Energy and Climate Policy at Rio Tinto, presented on October 29, 2013 as part of the AEDE Applied Economics Seminar Series. His presentation focused on climate change policy as experienced by an international mining company. This seminar was sponsored by Ohio State’s Environmental Policy Initiative.

Dr. Hopkins leads policy engagement in the U.S. and Canada for Rio Tinto and works with a globally-distributed corporate team as well as external affairs and environmental specialists who work on-site at Rio Tinto mines and businesses. Rio Tinto is the largest diversified mining company in the U.S. and the second-largest mining company in the world, with major operations producing iron ore, copper, aluminum, uranium, thermal and metallurgical coal, gold, and industrial minerals.

As part of their mining, refining, and smelting of these metals and minerals, Rio Tinto emits 41 million tons of GHG emissions per year. Over 70 percent of these GHG emissions occur in places where carbon is regulated through a price-based scheme such as cap and trade or a carbon tax. Dr. Hopkins’ policy education and advocacy work on behalf of Rio Tinto at the national and regional levels, often in collaboration with the larger business community and environmental NGOs, is based on extensive experience in scheme development and implementation.

Prior to working for Rio Tinto, Dr. Hopkins was a policy analyst and chief economist for the United States House of Representatives Committee on the Budget, and before that for USDA’s Economic Research Service. Dr. Hopkins received a PhD from AEDE in 1998, and was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Guatemala from 1987-1989.