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World Environment Day 2023: Harnessing hydrogen’s potential is essential for a just energy transition

Over the past 50 years, World Environment Day has served as a global platform to promote awareness and action towards a sustainable future. As we work toward global decarbonization goals, it is imperative any energy transition happens in a fair and inclusive way, as a ‘just transition.’

June 5, 2023

Over the past 50 years, World Environment Day has served as a global platform to promote awareness and action towards a sustainable future. As we work toward global decarbonization goals, it is imperative any energy transition happens in a fair and inclusive way, as a ‘just transition.’ In other words, decarbonizing the planet requires not only the reduction of energy demands and greenhouse gas emissions, but also the imperative to guarantee these innovative solutions continue to benefit both local and global communities.

Amid the urgent need to combat the climate emergency, hydrogen is a critical catalyst in ensuring nobody gets left behind on the journey to net zero. As a versatile and plentiful energy source, it can contribute to environmental sustainability, economic growth and social equity, ultimately leading to a fairer and more inclusive society.

Hydrogen means sustainability for all

Hydrogen plays a vital role in the transition to a low-carbon economy, as it produces no harmful emissions when used as a fuel or energy storage medium. By reducing reliance on fossil fuels, hydrogen fosters environmental sustainability by minimizing carbon dioxide emissions and preserving natural resources. For instance, hydrogen fuel cells can power zero-emission vehicles, mitigating pollution and improving air quality in urban areas. Moreover, hydrogen can be utilized in hard-to-abate industries such as steel production and chemical manufacturing, enabling a decarbonization pathway.

Hydrogen can stimulate economic growth

The blossoming of the hydrogen economy has the potential to generate significant positive effects on local communities and entire nations, while also acting as a catalyst for attracting other industries to invest in and establish themselves in proximity to hydrogen hubs. Investing in hydrogen infrastructure, production facilities, and research and development can drive innovation and attract private investments, leading to economic prosperity. Countries including Germany and Japan have already recognized the potential of hydrogen and are allocating substantial funds to advance their hydrogen economies. Hydrogen also presents opportunities for energy exports, with regions rich in renewable resources producing hydrogen as a commodity for global markets. This diversification of energy sources ensures energy security and reduces dependence on limited reserves. By capitalizing on the economic potential of hydrogen, we can build resilient and sustainable economies that benefit communities worldwide.

Hydrogen can create a fairer society

A just transition requires equitable distribution of benefits and opportunities. Hydrogen has the potential to address social inequalities by providing access to clean energy for marginalized communities in the following ways:

  • Off-grid communities and developing regions can benefit from decentralized hydrogen production, enabling affordable and sustainable energy solutions.
  • Hydrogen-powered vehicles and transport systems can enhance mobility options for underserved areas, promoting inclusivity and reducing transportation-related disparities.
  • Hydrogen technologies can contribute to energy access and resilience in disaster-affected areas, ensuring communities have access to vital services during emergencies.

While our world has made progress in raising awareness for protection of the environment over the past 50 years, more action needs to follow. The role of hydrogen solutions in a just transition is unmistakable, but to unlock its potential we must generate the right policies, infrastructure and investment opportunities. We need policymakers’ support in overcoming existing market barriers. And we need governments and key stakeholders to advocate that embracing clean hydrogen today will lead to a more just tomorrow. By laying the groundwork for a resilient net zero economy, a just transition will help advance climate action, protecting our environment and restoring the Earth.

About The Hydrogen Council
The Hydrogen Council is a global CEO-led initiative that brings together leading companies with a united vision and long-term ambition for hydrogen to foster the clean energy transition. The Council believes that hydrogen has a key role to play in reaching our global decarbonization goals by helping to diversify energy sources worldwide, foster business and technological innovation as drivers for long-term economic growth, and decarbonize hard-to-abate sectors.

Using its global reach to promote collaboration between governments, industry and investors, the Council provides guidance on accelerating the deployment of hydrogen solutions around the world. It also acts as a business marketplace, bringing together a diverse group of 140+ companies based in 20+ countries across the entire hydrogen value chain, including large multinationals, innovative SMEs, and investors.

The Hydrogen Council also serves as a resource for safety standards and an interlocutor for the investment community, while identifying opportunities for regulatory advocacy in key geographies.

To find out more visit and follow us on Twitter @HydrogenCouncil and LinkedIn.

For further information
Joanna Sampson, Communications Manager, Hydrogen Council

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