To meet its CO2 reductions targets, Hamburg plans to deforest Africa in order to substitute coal with wood at its power plants!
Substituting coal with wood from Africa
German environmental protection group ROBIN WOOD here recently issued a press release calling on the city of Hamburg, Germany, to cancel its plan to replace coal with imported bush wood from Namibia at its power plants, such as the Tiefstack cogeneration plant.
In May 2020, a “Memorandum of Understanding” became known, according to which the Hamburg environmental authority (BUKEA) and Wärme Hamburg GmbH are examining a project of this kind.
ROBIN WOOD is firmly opposed to this project of a “Transcontinental Biomass Partnership Namibia – Hamburg”, which is being promoted by the German Association for International Cooperation (GIZ).
“Obliged” to pursue “socially just, climate-friendly” renewable energies
“With the referendum on the buyback of the energy networks, which was won in 2013, the Hamburg Senate was obliged to pursue the goal of a “socially just, climate-friendly and democratically controlled energy supply from renewable energies,” says the ROBIN WOOD press release. “The intended burning of bush wood from Namibia clearly contradicts this goal.”
Voters apparently were not well informed what meeting the climate-friendly” goals really entailed when they voted.
Namibia land use – to benefit crony euro-corporations
Because of the long transport distances and especially because of changes in land use in Namibia, this form of energy supply would not be climate-compatible.
The German environmental group also claims “the main beneficiaries would be corporations in the global North, which would be able to sell machines and transport vehicles and supply themselves with raw materials.”
ROBIN WOOD also accuses the green-socialist Hamburg Senate of avoiding an open-ended debate about the project and criticizes the lack of transparency and democratic control.
“We are calling for a climate-friendly, 100 percent renewable energy supply that does not require the neo-colonial import of resources from the global south,” says Ronja Heise, ROBIN WOOD energy consultant.
Namibia already lacking energy
“Namibia is itself in an energy crisis and is importing up to 60 percent dirty coal power from neighboring countries to cover its local energy needs. Instead of exporting biomass, Namibia should use it to produce electricity in its own country. Sustainable methods for bush clearance must be applied. Bushes are an important carbon sink. They must therefore only be harvested in a targeted manner, which cannot be guaranteed if very large quantities of wood are exported,” says Bertchen Kohrs, Director of the organization Earthlife Namibia.
Green-socialist Senate claims support for the project
“The Hamburg Senate, in its response to a written petition, gave the impression that the NGOs, which oppose bush wood imports would have a similar number of supporters. This is wrong,” said Gilbert Siegler of the Hamburg Energy Table.
“We invite other organizations to join the signatories in opposing the implementation of a ‘Biomass Partnership with Namibia’. This pretense of climate protection must be prevented.”
The signatories of the petition call on the Hamburg environmental authority to stop pursuing this project and to work towards an energy supply for Hamburg that is in line with the binding goals of the referendum.
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