According to Reuters – German engineering group Siemens (SIEGn.DE) has said it would fulfil its contractual obligations to a controversial coal mining project in Australia’s outback. The move has attracted criticism from environmental groups.
Reuters reports Siemens was awarded a contract last year to provide signalling technology for a railway line to transport coal from a remote coal mine run by India’s Adani Group (ADEL.NS) in northern Queensland state.
On Saturday, teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg called for Siemens to review its role in the project and posted on twitter “It seems that @SiemensDE have the power to stop, delay or at least interrupt the building of the huge Adani coal mine in Australia. #StopAdani“
Extinction Rebellion activists have protested outside Siemens HQ in Munich.
There have also been protests by environmentalists in Australia against the Carmichael mine project, it is seen as damaging due to its contribution of fossil fuels to global warming.
“There is practically no legally and economically responsible way to unwind the contract without neglecting fiduciary duties,” Siemens Chief Executive Joe Kaeser said in a statement.
“While I do have a lot of empathy for environmental matters, I do need to balance different interests of different stakeholders, as long as they have lawful legitimation for what they do,” Kaeser said.
“We should have been wiser about this project beforehand. Now, we need to be a supplier who sticks to its commitments as long as the customer stays on legal grounds, too. Because being a company which is not a reliable source for its customers is simply not an option.”
Environmental activists have condemned the decision and will continue their protests, the news has gone viral on social media trending #siemensfuelsfires.
The search engine brand Ecosia is urging its users to consider boycotting companies that are funding fossil fuels in the country. The concern is that the continued use of coal will lead to higher emissions of carbon dioxide, a gas which is linked to global warming.