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Siemens resists calls to ditch controversial Australian coal mine project

Luisa Neubauer, Fridays for Future activist, after meeting CEO of Siemens Joe Kaeser on Friday, January 10.
Luisa Neubauer, Fridays for Future activist, after meeting CEO of Siemens Joe Kaeser on Friday, January 10. Copyright (Soeren Stache/dpa via AP)
Copyright (Soeren Stache/dpa via AP)
By Seana Davis with AP
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The German engineering company says they are sticking to their contractual obligations, but climate activists tell Euronews the decision is a "historic mistake".


German conglomerate Siemens says it will stand by a controversial Australian coal mine project despite pressure from prominent climate activists.

In a statement, chief executive Joe Kaeser said the company would fulfill its contractual obligations and that there was "no legally and economically responsible way to unwind the contract".

Siemens had promised to review their contract with the Indian company, Adani, at the Carmichael mine, following campaigns by climate activists.

But Kaeser confirmed on Sunday that Siemens would not be pulling its involvement.

The move has sparked a backlash against the German firm, with prominent climate activists telling Euronews that Siemens "has no choice".

"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," said Kaeser.

But Siemens did not that they "should have been wiser about this project beforehand".

"We need to be a supplier who sticks to its commitments as long as the customer stays on legal grounds, too".

Siemens was awarded a contract last year to provide the technology for a railway network to transport coal from the remote mine in northern Queensland state, near the Great Barrier Reef.

In October, Joe Kaeser had previously commented that "the environment and the economy are inseparable" and urged companies to take concrete steps to protect the climate.

Siemens has told Euronews they will not be providing a further statement.

Climate activists call for continued protests

The decision by the company not to withdraw funding for the Adani project has been greeted with widespread criticism from leaders of the climate movement.

Teenage Swedish activist Greta Thunberg joined the calls on social media, urging Siemens to make the "right decision".

Luisa Neubauer, one of the organisers of the Fridays For Future School strike in Germany, told Euronews that Siemens had made a "historic mistake".

"We know it is difficult to drop out of this contract ... but we also know that it is technically possible", added Neubauer.

"We don't have the time for companies to spend their hours on sustainability boards while there is time [for them] to act."

Activists have planned to demonstrate against the decision outside Siemens offices across Germany.

Click on the player above as Seana Davis from our social media news desk The Cube explains more.

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