- The company’s clinging to fossil business is not future-proof
- Siemens still plans to move forward with gas project in Israel against government decision
- Siemens provides financial services worth millions to oil and gas companies
In Siemens‘ most recent sustainability report, CEO Joe Kaeser and his appointed successor Roland Busch claim to have learnt from last year’s Adani disaster. However, a look at Siemens’ current business dealings begs the question of how far-reaching this learning effect has actually been for the company. Recent research shows that Siemens’ Financial Services division finances companies driving large-scale oil and gas extraction projects in the Eastern Mediterranean and in the USA. One day ahead of Siemens’ annual general meeting, the Association of Ethical Shareholders Germany and the Environmental and Human Rights NGO Urgewald are urging Siemens to stop paying lip service and finally exit fossils for real.
“Siemens remains stuck in a fossil past. This path of relying on fossil fuel extraction is not future-proof and is increasingly being cracked down on – not just by the EU, but now also by the new US administration,” says Regine Richter, energy campaigner with Urgewald.
Siemens still plans to build controversial gas power project in Israel
Siemens is one of three shareholders of the planned „Reindeer Station“ gas power plant in Israel. The power plant is supposed to be constructed in immediate proximity to the Green Line separating the West Bank from Israel. The project is being pushed forward against massive public protest from 18 neighboring Israeli and Palestinian communities. The “Reindeer Station“ would be Israel’s largest private gas power plant and would lock the region into a fossil path for decades, despite Israel’s immense potential for renewable energy.
In October 2020, the Israeli government had decided not to issue permits for new private gas projects anymore and to focus on expanding the country’s renewable energy capacity instead. The affected communities had been notified that as a result, the plans to construct the “Reindeer Station” would not proceed. Now, however, the project has been moved forward in the planning process after the infrastructure committee gave its approval. Mayor Oshrat Gonen, South Sharon Regional Council in Israel, stated: “Our fight against the Reindeer gas-powered power plant goes on. It is outrageous that Siemens is still involved and ready to go on with the project which is so clearly against the spirit of the earlier decisions made by the Government of Israel.” In a letter to Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, the affected communities expressed harsh criticism of the ongoing planning.
Siemens finances oil and gas companies
How deeply Siemens‘ business is rooted in pushing fossil energy sources is evident in the corporation’s financing of oil and gas companies through Siemens Financial Services. Research conducted for the NGO report „Five Years Lost“ found financial support from Siemens own financial company for several oil and gas companies, most notably Kinder Morgan and IGI Poseidon.
Siemens Financial Services is involved with $80 million in a loan to Kinder Morgan, one of North America’s leading manufacturers of pipelines and oil and gas infrastructure specialists. Among Kinder Morgan’s biggest pipeline projects is the Trans Mountain Pipeline in Canada, which has received widespread criticism due to violation of Indigenous Rights and environmental concerns. Kinder Morgan is also one of the leading infrastructure providers for the fracking and drilling project in the US-Permian Basin. According to calculations for the Five Years Lost report, the extraction in the Permian Basin will cause 64 gigatons of additional CO2 equivalent emissions, which makes it one of the highest emitting fossil fuel projects of our time.
IGI Poseidon is another company Siemens Financial Services has been supporting. IGI Poseidon is a joint venture between two energy providers: the Italian company Edison and the Greek company DEPA. The two are the main actors behind the planned EastMed Pipeline. This pipeline project is intended to help develop new gas fields by transporting gas across more than 1,900 kilometers from gas fields in Israel and Cyprus to Italy. According to the UNEP Production Gap Report, instead of developing new fossil fuel sources, fossil fuel production will have to decrease by roughly 6% per year until 2030, if the goals defined by the Paris Climate Agreement are to be reached. Siemens Financial Services holds bonds issued by IGI Poseidon worth $7 million (as of August 2020).
Gidon Bromberg | Israeli Director EcoPeace Middle East
gidon[at]ecopeaceme.org +972 3 5605383