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Protests in Germany over Namibian biomass
Protests in Germany over Namibian biomass

Protests in Germany over Namibian biomass

Cindy Van Wyk
ELLANIE SMIT



WINDHOEK

Protests flared up last week in Hamburg, Germany, against a project investigating the feasibility of using Namibian bush biomass to power coal-fired plants as part of the city’s coal exit strategy.

The Hamburg environmental authority is planning on using biomass from Namibia at the Tiefstack Power Station instead of coal where the Robin Wood activist group protested.

The ‘Transcontinental Biomass Partnership Namibia-Hamburg’ has been met with sharp criticism, with more than 40 civil society organisations and scientists also opposing the project.

It would be a “blatantly wrong decision” that would go against the goal of a “climate-friendly, socially just energy supply”, the group said in a press release.

“If we burn Namibia's ecosystems for warm living rooms here in Hamburg, it is harmful to the climate, endangers biodiversity and is unfair. Hamburg presents the project as an aid to Namibia. The aim is once again to exploit the resources of the global south in order to satisfy the insatiable hunger for raw materials of rich industrial countries in the north. Has Hamburg learnt nothing from its cruel colonial history?” Robin Wood’s Ute Bertrand asked.

Lack of understanding

The Namibia Nature Foundation (NNF) said it is evident that there is a lack of understanding regarding Namibia’s semi-arid ecosystems and the issue of bush encroachment, which substantially differs from that in European countries.

Between 45 and 60 million hectares of land in Namibia is considered bush encroached with densities of up to 6 000 bushes per hectare, according to the foundation.

“The extent of bush thickening in Namibia has considerable adverse impacts on biodiversity, soil, the livelihoods of people and is quite critical for an arid country’s water availability.”

The NNF said these negative impacts largely outweigh potential environmental and economic benefits.

A key target of the Namibian government is the reduction of bush encroachment on 1.9 million hectares by 2040.

However, the biomass sector is still in its infancy and domestic demand at this stage is far from sufficient to absorb the amount of bush.

Currently, harvested biomass in Namibia is mainly used for charcoal production.

“The development of new value chains with strong safeguards and sustainability standards - as required by European markets - is an invaluable opportunity to lead the sector towards positive environmental outcomes,” the NNF said.

It added that NamPower plans to construct a biomass power plant in the next five years; however, their bush offtake will only be a tiny fraction of the that which needs to be thinned to achieve other environmental targets.

‘Not neo-colonialism’

“A partnership with Hamburg would drive the development of Namibia’s own biomass sector and is in no way perceived as a form of neo-colonialism.”

Namibia has a sought-after resource in abundance that is a side product of environmental rehabilitation efforts and is thus driving the partnership and research agenda for the sustainable use of bush resources in the country, the NNF said.

Greenhouse gas studies have been conducted in Namibia, indicating that the fast regrowth of bush minimises the impact of bush harvesting on emissions budgets and that the country remains a net carbon sink, even with the considerable expansion of bush thinning activities.

The Bush Control and Biomass Utilisation project in Namibia is being financed by the German federal ministry for economic cooperation and development.

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Namibian Sun 2024-05-27

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LaLiga: Sevilla 1 vs 2 Barcelona | Celta Vigo 2 vs 2 Valencia | Las Palmas 1 vs 1 Deportivo Alaves | Getafe 1 vs 2 Mallorca | Real Madrid 0 vs 0 Real Betis | Almería 6 vs 1 Cadiz | Rayo Vallecano 0 vs 1 Athletic Club | Real Sociedad 0 vs 2 Atletico Madrid | Osasuna 1 vs 1 Villarreal | Girona 7 vs 0 Granada SerieA: SS Lazio 1 vs 1 Sassuolo | Hellas Verona 2 vs 2 Inter Milan | Empoli 2 vs 1 AS Roma | Frosinone 0 vs 1 Udinese | Atalanta 3 vs 0 Torino | Napoli 0 vs 0 Lecce | AC Milan 3 vs 3 Salernitana | Juventus 2 vs 0 Monza | Genoa 2 vs 0 Bologna European Championships Qualifying: Leeds United 0 vs 1 Southampton FA Cup: Manchester City 1 vs 2 Manchester United English Championship: Leeds United 0 vs 1 Southampton Katima Mulilo: 11° | 30° Rundu: 11° | 30° Eenhana: 13° | 31° Oshakati: 14° | 30° Ruacana: 15° | 31° Tsumeb: 14° | 28° Otjiwarongo: 12° | 27° Omaruru: 14° | 29° Windhoek: 11° | 24° Gobabis: 12° | 25° Henties Bay: 17° | 25° Wind speed: 47km/h, Wind direction: NE, Low tide: 11:38, High tide: 05:37, Low Tide: 00:10, High tide: 18:15 Swakopmund: 16° | 18° Wind speed: 28km/h, Wind direction: NE, Low tide: 11:36, High tide: 05:35, Low Tide: 00:08, High tide: 18:13 Walvis Bay: 16° | 23° Wind speed: 34km/h, Wind direction: NE, Low tide: 11:36, High tide: 05:34, Low Tide: 00:08, High tide: 18:12 Rehoboth: 13° | 26° Mariental: 14° | 28° Keetmanshoop: 15° | 28° Aranos: 14° | 28° Lüderitz: 17° | 33° Ariamsvlei: 15° | 29° Oranjemund: 19° | 31° Luanda: 23° | 27° Gaborone: 11° | 24° Lubumbashi: 10° | 26° Mbabane: 10° | 23° Maseru: 6° | 21° Antananarivo: 9° | 21° Lilongwe: 11° | 26° Maputo: 17° | 27° Windhoek: 11° | 24° Cape Town: 14° | 24° Durban: 14° | 23° Johannesburg: 13° | 20° Dar es Salaam: 22° | 29° Lusaka: 14° | 24° Harare: 10° | 24° Currency: GBP to NAD 23.39 | EUR to NAD 19.9 | CNY to NAD 2.53 | USD to NAD 18.34 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.31 | EGP to NAD 0.38 | KES to NAD 0.14 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.68 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.56 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.22 | USD to DZD 133.99 | USD to AOA 851.84 | USD to BWP 13.58 | USD to EGP 47.12 | USD to KES 132.48 | USD to NGN 1474 | USD to ZAR 18.34 | USD to ZMW 26.81 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 79150.84 Up +0.25% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1748.47 Down -0.71% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13370.7 Down -0.04% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 27205.14 Down -0.08% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9141.35 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 353.96/OZ UP +0.71% | Copper US$ 4.81/lb UP +1.52% | Zinc US$ 3 077.30/T UP 0.19% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 83.03/BBP UP +0.85% | Platinum US$ 1 052.53/OZ UP +2.17% Sport results: LaLiga: Sevilla 1 vs 2 Barcelona | Celta Vigo 2 vs 2 Valencia | Las Palmas 1 vs 1 Deportivo Alaves | Getafe 1 vs 2 Mallorca | Real Madrid 0 vs 0 Real Betis | Almería 6 vs 1 Cadiz | Rayo Vallecano 0 vs 1 Athletic Club | Real Sociedad 0 vs 2 Atletico Madrid | Osasuna 1 vs 1 Villarreal | Girona 7 vs 0 Granada SerieA: SS Lazio 1 vs 1 Sassuolo | Hellas Verona 2 vs 2 Inter Milan | Empoli 2 vs 1 AS Roma | Frosinone 0 vs 1 Udinese | Atalanta 3 vs 0 Torino | Napoli 0 vs 0 Lecce | AC Milan 3 vs 3 Salernitana | Juventus 2 vs 0 Monza | Genoa 2 vs 0 Bologna European Championships Qualifying: Leeds United 0 vs 1 Southampton FA Cup: Manchester City 1 vs 2 Manchester United English Championship: Leeds United 0 vs 1 Southampton Weather: Katima Mulilo: 11° | 30° Rundu: 11° | 30° Eenhana: 13° | 31° Oshakati: 14° | 30° Ruacana: 15° | 31° Tsumeb: 14° | 28° Otjiwarongo: 12° | 27° Omaruru: 14° | 29° Windhoek: 11° | 24° Gobabis: 12° | 25° Henties Bay: 17° | 25° Wind speed: 47km/h, Wind direction: NE, Low tide: 11:38, High tide: 05:37, Low Tide: 00:10, High tide: 18:15 Swakopmund: 16° | 18° Wind speed: 28km/h, Wind direction: NE, Low tide: 11:36, High tide: 05:35, Low Tide: 00:08, High tide: 18:13 Walvis Bay: 16° | 23° Wind speed: 34km/h, Wind direction: NE, Low tide: 11:36, High tide: 05:34, Low Tide: 00:08, High tide: 18:12 Rehoboth: 13° | 26° Mariental: 14° | 28° Keetmanshoop: 15° | 28° Aranos: 14° | 28° Lüderitz: 17° | 33° Ariamsvlei: 15° | 29° Oranjemund: 19° | 31° Luanda: 23° | 27° Gaborone: 11° | 24° Lubumbashi: 10° | 26° Mbabane: 10° | 23° Maseru: 6° | 21° Antananarivo: 9° | 21° Lilongwe: 11° | 26° Maputo: 17° | 27° Windhoek: 11° | 24° Cape Town: 14° | 24° Durban: 14° | 23° Johannesburg: 13° | 20° Dar es Salaam: 22° | 29° Lusaka: 14° | 24° Harare: 10° | 24° Economic Indicators: Currency: GBP to NAD 23.39 | EUR to NAD 19.9 | CNY to NAD 2.53 | USD to NAD 18.34 | DZD to NAD 0.14 | AOA to NAD 0.02 | BWP to NAD 1.31 | EGP to NAD 0.38 | KES to NAD 0.14 | NGN to NAD 0.01 | ZMW to NAD 0.68 | ZWL to NAD 0.04 | BRL to NAD 3.56 | RUB to NAD 0.21 | INR to NAD 0.22 | USD to DZD 133.99 | USD to AOA 851.84 | USD to BWP 13.58 | USD to EGP 47.12 | USD to KES 132.48 | USD to NGN 1474 | USD to ZAR 18.34 | USD to ZMW 26.81 | USD to ZWL 321 | Stock Exchange: JSE All Share Index 79150.84 Up +0.25% | Namibian Stock Exchange (NSX) Overall Index 1748.47 Down -0.71% | Casablanca Stock Exchange (CSE) MASI 13370.7 Down -0.04% | Egyptian Exchange (EGX) 30 Index 27205.14 Down -0.08% | Botswana Stock Exchange (BSE) DCI 9141.35 Same 0 | NSX: MTC 7.75 SAME | Anirep 8.99 SAME | Capricorn Investment group 17.34 SAME | FirstRand Namibia Ltd 49 DOWN 0.50% | Letshego Holdings (Namibia) Ltd 4.1 UP 2.50% | Namibia Asset Management Ltd 0.7 SAME | Namibia Breweries Ltd 31.49 UP 0.03% | Nictus Holdings - Nam 2.22 SAME | Oryx Properties Ltd 12.1 UP 1.70% | Paratus Namibia Holdings 11.99 SAME | SBN Holdings 8.45 SAME | Trustco Group Holdings Ltd 0.48 SAME | B2Gold Corporation 47.34 DOWN 1.50% | Local Index closed 677.62 UP 0.12% | Overall Index closed 1534.6 DOWN 0.05% | Osino Resources Corp 19.47 DOWN 2.41% | Commodities: Gold US$ 2 353.96/OZ UP +0.71% | Copper US$ 4.81/lb UP +1.52% | Zinc US$ 3 077.30/T UP 0.19% | Brent Crude Oil US$ 83.03/BBP UP +0.85% | Platinum US$ 1 052.53/OZ UP +2.17%