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India cracks down on greens

Hot on the heels of its decision to crack down on foreign funding for Greenpeace, the government of India has started what looks like a full-scale crackdown on green groups:

Authorities over the weekend barred a Greenpeace staff member from traveling to London to speak to British lawmakers about alleged legal and human rights violations in India by Essar, a British-registered energy company.

I'm uneasy about this. Greenpeace is certainly an organisation that has engaged in criminal behaviour in the past but not, to the best of my knowledge, in India. They certainly have a policy of using dishonesty as a tool in their campaigning. Their hypocrisy is beyond dispute. But travel bans look a bit over the top to me.

The argument of the Indian government seems to be that the greens are threatening the economic security of the country, and in some ways you can see their point. In a country with an energy supply that is far from secure and far from regular, any threat to that supply is quite possibly a matter of life and death for the people who depend on it. But does this justify travel bans and funding freezes?

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Reader Comments (78)

Well at least we know that India ignores all the education on climate change paid for by DECC through the Foreign Aid budget ;)

So what we thought was a waste of money is really a complete waste of money.

Jan 14, 2015 at 1:40 PM | Registered CommenterBreath of Fresh Air

I'm interested in what the situation would be if in the original report (as quoted at the top of this thread) we were to include the word 'renewable' between 'British-registered' and 'energy'.
Would Greenpeace see the "legal and human-rights violations" in quite the same context, I wonder?

Jan 14, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Another #GreensGoByAir and get refused entry to India
.."This is the second similar incident in four months involving a Greenpeace activist. In September last year, Greenpeace campaigner, Ben Hargreaves, a UK national, was refused entry to India."

BTW nodoubt we will be left with no option now except paying for our UK MPs to fly to India To visit their families for a holiday the mine

Jan 14, 2015 at 1:55 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

No matter what the circumstances, Greenpeace luvvies getting stuffed is always amusing.

Jan 14, 2015 at 1:57 PM | Unregistered CommenterTheBigYinJames

It's not against UK law to be "intent on destroying UK industry and commerce".

Jan 14, 2015 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterSleepalot



despotic tendencies....

It is amusing most definately, but I don't advocate the types of ant-democratic and devious behaviour that Greenpeace use as stock in trade.

Jan 14, 2015 at 2:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeckko

As a libertarian I do not care for 'democracy' being used as a synonym for a liberal society - or all things bright and beautiful. Sometimes elected governments strike down illiberal laws and institutions and sometimes, perhaps more often, they add to their number.

Governments are the chief violators of human rights. Rights, just like linguistic usages, can be respected and acknowledged within a society without government or the state having to create them.

Jan 14, 2015 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterJoseph Sydney

Greenp*** get what they deserve.
Well done India!
Just wish our Government had the guts.

Jan 14, 2015 at 3:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&twisted

I think that things are not as simple as they appear. It is easy to draw false conclusions from incomplete information so I would hold off on judgment until all the facts are in. Preventing someone from leaving the country may be justified by certain factors, particularly if the person is being investigated or has been charged with a crime. If that is the case I have no problem with a ban. If not it cannot be justified.

My solution is to hold Greenpeace activists accountable when they commit property crimes and to take away their special tax status. Let us treat activists like anyone else and see where their tactics will lead.

Jan 14, 2015 at 3:13 PM | Unregistered CommenterVangel

In light of the vandalism of the Nazca site, I would like to see the British Government confiscating the passports of UK Greenpi$$ activists and preventing them from travelling abroad.

Jan 14, 2015 at 3:26 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Salopian, would it not be better for the UK, if their passports were confiscated, once they were abroad?

Jan 14, 2015 at 3:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Golf Charlie: Great idea.

Jan 14, 2015 at 3:41 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

She is the eco-equivalent of all those western citizens traveling off to Syria for training in how to undermine their home countries. In this case, she is traveling to the west to learn how it is done there, so that she can undermine her home country.

Jan 14, 2015 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterrxc

Regarding -justify travel bans and freezing funds,

It is Greenpeace and other climate activists that seek to ban travel and fund freezes.

Jan 14, 2015 at 5:04 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeN

sure it is not justified from the government of India, but, it is justified because of CO2 emissions...since when people are more important than CO2...?

Jan 14, 2015 at 5:24 PM | Unregistered Commenterlemiere

I'm interested in what the situation would be if in the original report (as quoted at the top of this thread) we were to include the word 'renewable' between 'British-registered' and 'energy'.
Would Greenpeace see the "legal and human-rights violations" in quite the same context, I wonder?

Jan 14, 2015 at 1:53 PM | Mike Jackson

Only a few months ago I read that Greenslime were rejoicing at having prevented a renewable energy project in Chile.

Jan 14, 2015 at 5:36 PM | Unregistered CommenterAllan M

Allan M
I came across this gem not long ago:

Chile is home to 82 percent of all South American glaciers. While the bodies of ice are the country’s principal freshwater reservoirs, Greenpeace claims there is no single regulation that protects them and that glaciers are mentioned nowhere in the Constitution or even the Water Code.
Imagine that! No mention of glaciers in the Water Code. However do they manage? Chile has got so many glaciers that about 90% of them could melt and there would still be enough water to sustain a population about three times the size of the whole of South America.
Perhaps we ought to be encouraging the Chileans to build a pipeline to shift some of this surplus water to California.

Jan 14, 2015 at 5:49 PM | Registered CommenterMike Jackson

Mike Jackson, tree huggers should be hugging glaciers, to stop them getting cold and frigid.

Jan 14, 2015 at 6:26 PM | Unregistered CommenterGolf Charlie

Essar is an Indian company. Its UK subsidiary owns and runs the Stanlow refinery in Cheshire, bought from Shell in 2011. Like all remaining operational UK refineries, it is finding things difficult in the face of green regulation that adds so much to costs, and recently cut its operational capacity by a third:

Falling oil prices will have strained its finances still further. I wonder what protest Greenpeace had in mind?

Jan 14, 2015 at 7:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

Does Greenpeace do any good these days? I only seem to hear about them when they are breaking the law or doing something destructive. I wonder who funds them, given the negative publicity. Even their founder speaks badly of them.

Jan 14, 2015 at 7:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterSchrodinger's Cat

Pachauri, IPCC and Greenpeace.

"THE release of the full text of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on Renewable Energy this week has led to a new set of questions about the panel's attitudes, probity and reliability..."

"When the summary of the report was released last month, (June 2011)..... it came with a press release proclaiming that the world could get 80% of its energy from renewables by 2050 if it just had the right policies and paid the right amount."

"The scenario which had the highest penetration of renewables put the total at 77% by 2050. The research involved was done by the German space-research institute, which has long worked on energy analysis, too; its experts were commissioned to do the work by Greenpeace, and a Greenpeace staff member with an engineering background, Sven Teske, was the scenario's lead author...."
(see Donna on Teske here:

"...who wrote the foreword to Greenpeace's glossy publication of its scenario? Rajendra Pachauri, the chair of the IPCC."

He doesn't seem totally convinced though, it seems Greenpeace aren't getting through to him:

Pachauri, October 21, 2014: "India as a developing country and with a large part of its population living in poverty cannot be expected to reduce its emissions of GHGs."

Jan 14, 2015 at 7:53 PM | Registered Commenterdennisa

If it's an Indian company, why does Greenpeace want to send an Indian national all the way to the UK to lobby its UK subsidiary? It's not as if they don't have plenty of local members who could do that.

Is she going to threaten action against the company back home if they don't comply? Or is she just skipping bail?

The whole thing sounds fishy to me. As I suspect it does to the Indian government.

Jan 14, 2015 at 8:54 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

It's good to see India cracking down on large international criminal organizations. The Indians see the need to protect the welfare of their poorer citizens from those who wish to deprive them of an improved way of life, in order to enrich themselves.

Jan 14, 2015 at 9:22 PM | Unregistered Commenternicholas tesdorf

I see no reason why assorted human rights lawyers, MPs, Greenpiss UK, Bob Ward, Gummer and thousands more shouldn't depart to India to talk to this nice lady.
It would be even nicer if the Indian Government gave them something useful to do whilst they were there. Collecting dung pats for cooking fuel?

Jan 14, 2015 at 11:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

A travel ban is justified if the outcome would be adverse to the national interest of India. And it clearly is so, no doubt about it. I can see arguments against it based on freedom of speech principles. But there are limts to what can appropriately be called speech and what is criminal agitation, clearly the object of this Greenpeace action. Travel bans should be applied more widely, like in cases of Islamists in Europe who travel to the Middle East to be instructed in terrorist tactics which they then import.

Jan 15, 2015 at 1:24 AM | Registered Commenterarno-arrak

I'm in India at the moment and the media here seem to be reporting on the story just in terms of restricting freedom of travel, i.e. they don't like the fact she was stopped. I haven't seen any mention of charges against her.

Jan 15, 2015 at 5:00 AM | Unregistered CommenterJonathan Abbott

India is one country that really could do with some real environmentalism.

Jan 15, 2015 at 11:23 AM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

Funny how Greenpeace are not so keen on individual freedoms when they are blockading sites and stopping people going about their lawful business.

And of course when one of them is stopped (probably, as several have mentioned, because she is on bail), naturally she was trying to get on a plane!

If they really cared about emissions they would stop what they are doing, they seem to be significant consumers with no mitigating benefit to society.

Jan 15, 2015 at 4:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterNW

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