Jennifer Hewett, National affairs correspondent
The Australian

September 16, 2010 12:00AM

THE world's biggest mining company, BHP Billiton, is urging the Gillard government to impose a tax on carbon before any international agreement.

This is in order to protect Australia's long-term economic interests.

BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers has also warned the government not to try to change the terms of the pre-election mining tax deal negotiated with the big three miners.

In a major address yesterday, Mr Kloppers made it clear the mining industry did not intend to be passive in the face of the political uncertainty created by minority government.

His very public intervention pressures the government on two fronts: not to cede ground to the Greens and independents who wish to revisit the fundamentals of the mining tax; and to take more decisive action on climate change in the wake of Labor dropping its emissions trading scheme and the fiasco of the proposed citizens' assembly.

Mr Kloppers's call for a carbon tax undermines the passionate objections of Tony Abbott to setting a price on carbon before there is a global consensus.

"We do believe that such a global initiative will eventually come and, when it does, Australia will need to have acted ahead of it to maintain its competitiveness," Mr Kloppers told a packed Australian British Chamber of Commerce lunch in Sydney.

"Carbon emissions need to have a cost impact in order to cause the consumer and companies to change behaviour and favour low-carbon alternatives.

"We all recognise this is a politically charged subject. No government relishes telling people that things need to cost more."

Full article here