Climate activists up pressure on Siemens over Australian coal mine contract
Clean Energy Wire
Germany's Fridays for Future student climate protest movement has increased the pressure on engineering conglomerate Siemens for its involvement in the controversial Adani coal mine project in Australia. The activists have called for demonstrations at Siemens sites across the country on Friday, arguing that while Siemens "promises in Germany to take responsibility for the climate and become carbon-neutral by 2030, [it supports] a backward-looking project in Australia, as well as the destruction of our planet and our future”.
Siemens has been awarded a contract for supplying rail signalling infrastructure for the line from the mine in Queensland. Industry sources told business daily Handelsblatt the contract is worth around 20 million euros. The paper also reported that Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser invited Fridays for Future representative Luisa Neubauer, one of the best known figures of the movement in Germany, to a meeting on the project on Friday. "Industry sources expect that the Siemens CEO could announce his decision on Friday. The sources said it was possible the company would stick to the project due to contract compliance." Kaeser had said in December that he would look into the activists' criticism. "I will diligently look into the matter and get back to you soon. Siemens view & decision may or may not change. But you deserve an answer," Kaeser had written on Twitter.
Siemens epitomises the upheaval caused by the Energiewende in Germany. While decarbonisation has boosted its renewable energy and industry efficiency divisions, business areas serving fossil energy production have suffered. The Indian industry conglomerate Adani plans to open one of the world's largest coal mines in Australia. Environmentalists have been fighting the project for years because of climate change concerns, and also because it will increase shipping near the imperilled Great Barrier Reef.