Railway workers take a break from shoveling coal onto train cars in a rail yard north of Kolkata, India. (Photo: Jeremy Horner/Corbis)
Even as the U.S. pledges to cut its emissions, it is helping to finance new coal-powered plants overseas...
At Rampal the engineering consultant is Fichtner GmbH. The decision to allow its participation “came from on top,” says a former official of German’s embassy in Dhaka, speaking on condition of anonymity. Fichtner GmbH is also involved in Krishnapatnam and dozens of other coal power projects across India. The coal lobby in Germany is “very, very powerful,” said Claudia Kemfert of the German Institute for Economic Research. “There is no other explanation why there is no coal phaseout in Germany.”
As environmental groups increase pressure on the government, tensions in Dhaka are mounting. Anu Muhammad, professor of economics at Jahangirnagar University and a vocal critic of the project, reportedly started receiving death threats in the early hours of Oct. 13. “Say ‘yes’ to Rampal,” one text message read, “otherwise you must will be hacked to death incredibly by us!”
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