'Red not green' hydrogen

Germany's alternative energy needs should not come at the expense of Namibia's biodiversity
The planned green hydrogen development in Tsau Khaeb National Park (TKNP) poses a serious threat to one of the few global biodiversity 'hotspots' in an arid area and one of the largest near-pristine wilderness areas on earth, according to Namibia's Chamber of Environment.
Brigitte Weidlich
Namibia Chamber of Environment (NCE) sees the planned industrial plant east of Lüderitz in the Tsau Khaeb National Park (TKNP) for green hydrogen as destructive for biological biodiversity and also for tourism.
Marking yesterday's International Day of Biological Diversity, the NCE published a position paper calling for an independent, transparent environmental and feasibility study with broad public consultation for the project.
The TKNP is home to ninety per cent of Namibia's hyperdiverse portion of the so-called Succulent Karoo biome; one of 36 globally recognised key biodiversity areas and one of the few arid areas.
Due to its history as a restricted area, over 70 per cent of the 21,800 km² TKNP is virtually untouched wilderness and is therefore an extremely valuable part of the Succulent Karoo biome. The park is home to almost 25 per cent of Namibia's plant species, with 31 of the 1 050 plant species found nowhere else on earth.
“Germany’s need for alternative energy sources should not come at the expense of Namibia’s biodiversity,” said Dr. Chris Brown, Managing Director of the NCE. “Namibia’s needs for sustainability, development, job creation and poverty alleviation can be better met once a national study on various energy production options for the country is conducted.”
Europe's hunger for energy
The damage to the integrity, biodiversity, landscape, sense of place and future tourism will be immense if the GH2 project is built in the park and “in the interest of meeting the relatively short-term energy needs of Germany and some other parts of the world, in particular, EU,” said Brown.
“We do not believe that the people of Germany would allow the destruction of one of their national parks for energy production and we ask them to tell their government that it is morally wrong to shift the environmental costs of their energy needs to Namibia,” he appealed on behalf of the Chamber.
Given the potential damage to one of Namibia's most important national parks in the world and its biodiversity, the term "red hydrogen" is a more appropriate name. “The industrialisation of the TKNP will bring many species onto the biodiversity red list, and the hydrogen produced in the TKNP will carry the blood of its lost biodiversity,” said Brown.
Namibia's hydrogen commissioner James Mnyupe said that he would respond to the allegations in writing.