Neubauer on the Siemens offer: Supervisory Board seat should go to scientists – business

    If you think “Fridays for Future” is losing momentum, just look at the Siemens case. Young climate activists marched on Friday at several locations and held out banners with the inscription “Siemens do not fire” to employees in Freiburg, for example.

    One of the largest coal mines in the world is to be built in Australia

    Where the Federal Government was first driven, one is currently establishing a global company. Siemens boss Joe Kaeser was forced to meet the “Fridays for Future” activist Luisa Neubauer in Berlin – and also had something surprising to offer her: Kaeser suddenly offered the surprised Neubauer a seat on the supervisory board at Friday Subsidiary Siemens Energy. “I want young people to be able to participate actively.” Neubauer can decide for himself whether it is the supervisory board or another body, said Kaeser in Berlin.

    However, Neubauer does not want the seat offered on the supervisory board of the future company Siemens Energy – but has another proposal for Siemens boss Joe Kaeser. “I will not be able to personally accept the offer, but I asked Siemens to forward the offer to a representative of the Scientists For Future,” said Neubauer of the German Press Agency. “If the company is seriously interested in climate protection and Fridays For Future, they will respect my decision.” Scientists for Future organize scientists who support the climate protection movement Fridays for Future.

    You know the stock corporation law, explained Neubauer her decision. “With the posting, I would be committed to the interests of the company and would then no longer be able to comment independently on Siemens. That is not compatible with my role as a climate activist. ”She is committed to the Paris climate agreement and the 1.5 degree target to limit global warming. “Using the example of Joe Kaeser, you can see these days that this independent role is urgently needed.”

    Siemens boss Joe Kaeser after talking to Luisa Neubauer.Photo: Soeren Stache / dpa-Zentralbild / dpa

    Zankapfel is the planned participation in one of the largest new coal projects worldwide, of all places in Australia, where huge fires are currently raging, the activists blame climate change for this.

    The Indian Adani group wants to operate the Carmichael coal mine in the state of Queensland. Up to 60 million tons per year are to be mined there – this could increase Australia’s already high coal exports by 20 percent. The coal is to be transported over 189 kilometers by train to the Abbot Point coal port and then shipped to India. Siemens is to supply the signal systems for the railway line.

    The order is actually a small thing for the group with a volume of 18 million euros, but Australia and India are two enormously important future markets. However, this is offset by its reputation as a self-proclaimed green group.

    For Neubauer, it simply doesn’t go together that Siemens is aiming for climate neutrality by 2030 and still supporting a project that should continue to mine coal for decades. The activists of “Fridays for future” warn that the burning of coal will exacerbate global warming and that the conveyor system would require huge amounts of water. In addition, the endangered Great Barrier Reef could be further damaged by the transportation of the coal by ship.

    Neubauer did not want to comment on Kaeser’s offer

    The protest could now have an effect. Kaeser wants to decide by next Monday whether to stick to the project. “It was a very good conversation about the issues that rightly move young people,” said Kaeser. They want to look for solutions to the climate together. Neubauer asked whether Siemens was willing to say goodbye to projects such as that of the Adani group in Australia in the long term. These would “have no more space in this century”. Her colleague Nick Heubeck said after the interview: “Mr. Kaeser stands by that this contract was a mistake last year in July.”

    Kaeser was critical of his own company: “We do a lot of things, but we also make mistakes, that’s obvious. We see that we also need to understand indirect participations in critical projects better and recognize them at an early stage.”

    The group emphasizes that in 2018 alone, its technologies helped to reduce emissions worldwide by more than 600 million tons. “For comparison: Australia’s CO2 emissions in 2017 were over 550 million tons.” They also have the most efficient coal-fired power plant technology with an efficiency of around 45 percent.

    Siemens has been heavily criticized for the project in Australia

    “We are not opponents and we have the same goal: to combat climate change,” said a spokesman. But not every country is equally advanced in converting its energy systems. “In order to supply its citizens with electricity, fossil fuels are needed temporarily in countries like India.”

    Incidentally, from 2014 to mid-2019 the Federal Government also secured over 200 German foreign projects in the fossil fuel sector with export credit guarantees in the amount of EUR 12.9 billion.

    There were also protests outside the Australian embassy in Berlin on Friday. The conservative government is accused of courting the coal lobby and thus sharing responsibility for the fires. Rebecca Burges is also there, she works in Berlin in a start-up, comes from Sydney and has also lived in the Australian capital Canberra for a few years, where the worst air quality in the world currently prevails.

    Her friends say that they have not been able to leave their homes for weeks because of the smoke. For them it feels “like the end of the world”. She no longer wants to return to her home country, such disasters would increase in the future. (With dpa)



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