Green Hydrogen and the Tsau ||Khaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park

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On this International Day for Biodiversity, Wednesday 22 May 2024, the Namibian Chamber of Environment (NCE) is pleased to share with you its Position Paper on the proposed Green Hydrogen developments in the Tsau ||Khaeb (Sperrgebiet) National Park (TKNP) in Namibia (see attached).

 The TKNP is within one of only 36 global biodiversity hotspots. It is Namibia’s most biodiverse national park. It has more endemic and near-endemic species (species that occur no-where else on earth) than any other national park in Namibia. The global importance of this national park is greater than all the national parks in Germany, which would be the main recipient of green hydrogen produced in the TKNP. The damage to the integrity, biodiversity, landscape, sense of place and future tourism will be immense, all in the interests of serving the relatively short-term energy needs of mainly Germany and some other parts of the EU. We don’t believe that the people of Germany would allow the destruction of any of their national parks for energy production, and we ask them to tell their government that it is morally wrong to offshore the environmental costs of their energy needs to Namibia.

The Namibian Chamber of Environment, an IUCN Member, fully supports the IUCN position that initiatives to mitigate climate change should never come at the expense of biodiversity. These are the two greatest environmental challenges facing the planet and it is profoundly wrong and counter-productive to mitigate one at the expense of the other.

With such potential damage to one of Namibia’s most globally important national parks and to our biodiversity, could this hydrogen really be called “green”? We would suggest that RED hydrogen is a more appropriate name – because industrialising the TKNP will drive many species onto the biodiversity Red List and hydrogen produced in the TKNP will carry the blood of its lost biodiversity.

 We call on the Namibian government, the German government and the European Union to immediately commission an independent and transparent Strategic Environmental Assessment (SEA) of the green hydrogen sector in Namibia with broad public consultation, to plan the most effective way forward for Namibia. We also request a meeting with the German Minister of Environment to explain the importance and significance of the TKNP and the damage which the production of green hydrogen in that sensitive area will do to its biodiversity, its future and the reputations of all who facilitate its development.