India’s Intelligence Bureau has come out with a report labeling the environmental group Greenpeace as “a threat to national economic security” because of its political activism and opposition to nuclear and coal power plants.
The Indian Express reports that the Intelligence Bureau submitted a report to the prime minister’s office saying Greenpeace was “negatively impacting economic development” through political activism and its anti-fossil fuels agenda. The reports says that Greenpeace activities have reduced the countries GDP by 2 to 3 percent a year.
The report mentioned other activist groups but singled out Greenpeace for trying to “change the dynamics of India’s energy mix” and orchestrating “massive efforts to take down India’s coal fired power plants and coal mining activity.”
“It is assessed to be posing a potential threat to national economic security… growing exponentially in terms of reach, impact, volunteers and media influence,” the report warns of Greenpeace, adding the group is finding “ways to create obstacles in India’s energy plans” and to “pressure India to use only renewable energy.”
Greenpeace was outraged by the report, saying it is designed to silence those who oppose India’s fossil fuel agenda. The group said it pushes renewable energy as solutions to using coal and nuclear power.
The group says that decentralized renewable electricity generation can boost India’s growth and development.
“We have a legitimate right to express our views in what is after all the world’s largest democracy,” Greenpeace said in a statement. “We believe that this report is designed to muzzle and silence civil society who raise their voices against injustices to people and the environment by asking uncomfortable questions about the current model of growth.”
But renewable energy, like wind and solar, is costly and intermittent, meaning it would not be able to provide the levels of power needed to bring electricity to hundreds of millions of Indians living in the countryside and cities.
India’s power grid, however, is notoriously mismanaged and suffers from inefficiencies and corruption. The Energy Information Administration says that “nearly 25 percent of the population lacks basic access to electricity, while electrified areas suffer from rolling electricity blackouts.” Coal is India’s primary source of energy, but the country’s government-run energy industry fails to meet the energy production and generation needs of the people.
One former Greenpeace consultant Pankaj Singh “stood as an Aam Aadmi Party candidate from Sidhi Lok Sabha seat in Madhya Pradesh” in recent elections, reports the Express. Greenpeace had been protesting against coal mines that are located in his constituency, worrying Indian intelligence officials. The report says that Singh’s group Mahan Sangharsh Samiti got money from Greenpeace, but Singh denied such allegations.
The intelligence report also said Greenpeace funded research bodies to provide scholarly backing for its agenda.
“To encourage Indian-ness of its anti-coal approach, Greenpeace has financed Tata Institute of Social Sciences to study health, pollution and other aspects at Mahan and plans to use this case to ban all coal blocks,” the report says.
In March 2013, Greenpeace and the Urban Emissions Conservation Action Trust published a “questionable technical report which claimed 1,00,000 deaths in FY 12 due to health problems arising from 111 existing coal-fired power plants in India,” write intelligence officials.
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