Front Cover of 'Coal, Capital and Conflicts'. Tree branches hang over a lake.
Series on Ecology

Coal, Capital and Conflicts

The Rampal power plant in Bangladesh, the protection of the Sundarbans and the role of German companies
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The Sundarbans are the largest contiguous mangrove forest area in the world. They are a UNESCO World Heritage Site and cover a large part of the Bangladesh coast. This unique ecosystem is under massive threat. Only a few kilometers north of the protected area, the Rampal coal-fired power plant is being built. In the future, about 200 container ships per year will cross the mangroves to supply the power plant with almost 4 million tons of imported coal. Waste and pollutants threaten the regional ecosystem and the population. The construction is justified with the necessary industrialization of the country.

The study by Asia expert Dieter Reinhardt shows why the construction of this coal-fired power plant is an exemplary anachronism: it prevents the expansion of renewable energies, which is necessary because of climate change and for which Bangladesh has the potential; and it weakens coastal protection, which should have priority in view of rising sea levels. Rampal also shows how a whole series of internationally active investors, banks and companies want to continue the fossil fuel era.

Product details
Date of Publication
October 2022
Number of Pages
Language of publication
Table of contents



1 The case of Bangladesh

2 The energy investments of China, Germany, the United Kingdom and Russia in Bangladesh

3 The industrialization of Southwest Bangladesh and the Sundarbans UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site

4 The Rampal coal power plant and Fichtner Group in Bangladesh

5 Protection of the Sundarbans, fossil-fuel power plants, UN organizations and criticism from US policymakers

6 The Rampal coal power plant: Criticism and protests in Bangladesh

7 The German debate about the Rampal coal power plant and Fichtner Group

8 The construction of the Rampal coal power plant – a defeat for transnational civil society?

9 Outlook


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