SIEMENS AND CHEVRON: STOP FUELING APARTHEID AND CLIMATE DISASTER
The US corporation Chevron and the German conglomerate Siemens are profiting from business with fossil gas that fuels Israeli apartheid and its grave violations of Palestinian human rights on the one hand and the climate crisis on the other.
With its extraction of fossil fuels globally, Chevron is a major contributor to climate change with a severe impact on communities and Indigenous peoples all over the world, in particular in the Global South. Chevron is also the main extractor of fossil gas claimed by Israel in the Eastern Mediterranean. As such, Chevron brings Israel billions of dollars in revenues from payments for its gas extraction licences, helping to finance Israel’s war chest and its regime of apartheid, settler colonialism and military occupation over the Palestinian people. Chevron also supports Israel’s lobbying efforts for the construction of the Eastmed Pipeline, a massive, EU sponsored fossil fuel infrastructure project that would exacerbate the climate crisis and whose feasibility is widely contested.
Siemens was awarded the contract for building the EuroAsia Interconnector, a subsea cable that will link Israel’s electricity grid with Europe’s, allowing its illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian (and Syrian) land to benefit from Israel-EU trade of electricity produced from fossil gas.
Together, let’s hold Siemens and Chevron accountable for fueling Israeli apartheid and climate disaster.
Both Chevron and Siemens proclaim their commitment to human rights and sustainability but their actions show otherwise. It is high time to join forces with environmental and climate justice movements to hold these corporations accountable for business that violates the human rights of Palestinians and other Indigenous peoples and contributes to the global climate crisis.
Chevron contributes to financing Israel’s regime of apartheid, settler colonialism and occuption by paying billions of dollars for its gas extraction licences. With its extraction activities, the corporation is also complicit in apartheid Israel’s practice of depriving the Palestinian people of its right to sovereignty over its natural resources, including, among others, through the illegal siege of Gaza and blockade of Gaza’s sea, which Israel imposes by brutal and deadly force. Chevron is also implicated in Israel’s illegal transfer of extracted fossil gas to Egypt through a pipeline illegally crossing the Palestinian Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in Gaza, owing Palestinians millions in transit fees. It is also potentially complicit in Israeli pillage of Palestinian gas reserves off-shore the occupied Gaza Strip, a war crime under international law.
Siemens, as demonstrated by a study of the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), is complicit in Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, through its construction of the EuroAsia Interconnector. These settlements are internationally condemned as a war crime under international humanitarian law.
Though not directly involved in extracting activities, the company is a powerful ally of fossil fuel corporations around the world, because it provides technology (turbines) used to transform fossil fuels into energy. Siemens is involved in a series of fossil projects that are harshly criticized by the climate justice movement, such as the devastating Adani coal mine in Australia. Siemens has also faced harsh criticism for operating in conflict areas, such as Mozambique and the Western Sahara, without due respect to international humanitarian law and the human rights of populations already suffering from oppression and military aggression.
In the Middle East, Siemens plays an important role in Egypt’s energy production sector. In Palestine, the corporation is complicit in Israel’s apartheid and settler colonialism not only by constructing the EuroAsia Interconnector, but also by conducting business in transport, traffic and population control with Israeli authorities in occupied East Jerusalem and illegal Israeli settlements.
The EU-sponsored EuroAsia Interconnector will enable the trade of electricity produced from fossil gas between Israel and the EU, via Cyprus.
As explained by the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC), the EuroAsia Interconnector, if built as planned by Siemens, will give international recognition to (i.e., “normalize”) Israeli’s illegal settlements in the occupied Palestinian Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and enable their expansion. This is because the Interconnector will link Europe’s electricty infrastructure with Israel’s national grid that includes - and de facto annexes - the illegal settlements on stolen Palestinian land, and because these colonial settlements will benefit, therefore, from all trade of electricty between the state-owned Israel Electricity Corporation (IEC) and Europe.
The corporation has become the leading fossil gas extractor for Israel after buying Noble Energy in 2020. Israel’s main gas wells (Leviathan, Tamar), operated by Chevron, are still in expansion. Several communities and Indigenous peoples around the world are resisting the neocolonial violence of Chevron’s extractivism, its environmental destruction and grave human rights violations. International organizations have brought Chevron to court for its greenwashing practices.
Chevron contributes significantly to the climate crisis. In 2019, its disclosed emissions amounted to 697 million tons of carbon dioxide. Currently, Chevron does not have a ‘net-zero’ commitment or a commitment to align its activities with the temperature goals of the Paris Agreement. Between 2010 and 2018, Chevron was found to have dedicated only 0.2% of its long-term investments to sources of low-carbon energy like wind and solar.
The Eastmed Pipeline is a massive, EU sponsored energy project that, if built, will allow the export of Israeli gas extracted by Chevron in the Eastern Mediterranean to the EU market. Numerous studies warn of the project’s contribution to the climate emergency, the technical risks of a deep-sea pipeline in a seismic area, and the risk of armed disputes over maritime borders and militarization of the Eastern Mediterranean. In February 2022, the US administration withdrew its political support from the project for some of these reasons.
Nevertheless, the EU continues to promote the Eastmed Pipeline as a Project of Common Interest that can be funded with public money since fossil gas was included in the official EU green taxonomy. Meanwhile, in the context of the EU’s search for alternatives to Russian gas, Chevron has declared its support for the pipeline.
Fossil gas is an enemy of the environment. According to scientists, methane - the main component of fossil gas - has an impact on the atmosphere which is 86 times worse than carbon dioxide if calculated over a time period of 20 years. i.e., the time span available for drastically reducing greenhouse emissions and preventing more climate disasters. At least 25% of today’s global warming is driven by methane from human-related actions. Gas transportation, via pipelines or liquified, is itself a huge contributor to climate change because it involves gas leakage also called venting. Contrary to propaganda claims by the fossil lobby, gas is not a “transitional” fuel; it is the fuel used by greedy multinationals to hold on to profits and influence while devastating ecosystems and the climate.
Siemens asked to clarify its human rights policy
In early September 2022, the Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) sent a letter to the Siemens Energy Board, drawing attention to the serious violations of IHL and human rights of Palestinians that would be caused by the EuroAsia Interconnector, and asking Siemens to explain if and how it will respect human rights in this context. Siemens is asked to explain specifically if and how it will abstain from works on the Interconnector’s Israel-Cyprus leg, which, if constructed, will enable further entrenchment and expansion of Israel’s illegal settlements in OPT, including East Jerusalem.
Siemens has not yet responded to the letter.
Launch of the campaign
On October 6, 2022 the BNC launched the campaign calling on supporters of Palestinian rights and climate justice groups worldwide to cooperate toward boycotts of and divestment from Chevron and Siemens until they stop fueling apartheid and climate disaster.
Inter-sectional grassroots campaigning can put pressure on Siemens and Chevron to terminate business with Israel’s apartheid, settler colonialism and occupation. We call for pressure to make the two corporations end their fossil fuel business, to respect climate goals and the human rights of Palestinians and other Indigenous peoples.
Partner with local environmental and climate justice groups and/or indigenous communities for collective action, foremost:
- Support and promote campaigns for environmental and climate justice that target fossil fuel giants such as Chevron.
- Support the international campaign against the Eastmed Pipeline.
- Carry out consumer boycotts and divestment campaigns against Siemens until the company terminates its business involvement in the EuroAsia Interconnector which enables Israel’s illegal settlement enterprise and its criminal system of apartheid.
- Campaign and lobby for the exclusion of Siemens from public and private contracts and investments until the company respects international humanitarian law and human rights and withdraws from the Interconnector project.
- Pressure investment and pension funds to divest from Chevron and other fossil fuel corporations fueling the climate emergency and Israeli apartheid
Together, let’s make Chevron and Siemens pay a heavy price for fueling climate disaster and Israeli apartheid!