MEPs push for cleaner industry, renewable hydrogen | WWF
MEPs push for cleaner industry, renewable hydrogen

Posted on 20 October 2020

Renewable hydrogen is a scarce resource
Industries must decarbonise in line with the EU’s climate targets, or they should not receive recovery funding, MEPs from the Industry and Energy Committee agreed last week. They also highlighted the need for greater energy efficiency and electrification, as well as the use of hydrogen made from renewable energy, to reduce industrial emissions. 

MEPs were voting on an ‘own-initiative report’ – meaning it gives their opinion rather than impacting legislation. It is crucial to reduce pollution from energy-intensive sectors, which produce 16% of EU emissions, to fight climate change, and these elements are a good step forward, in WWF’s opinion.

However, MEPs left out three crucial points:

Firstly, the report does not ask the EU Commission for rules to make sure hydrogen is made and used in very specific sectors only - renewable hydrogen remains a scarce resource and in WWF’s view should only be used when there is no sustainable alternative, for example for the chemicals and steel sectors.

Secondly, the European Commission must be much more transparent and inclusive concerning the Clean Hydrogen Alliance – a group it’s setting up to promote the use of clean hydrogen -  and future Alliances. So far, only two NGOs are part of the Hydrogen Alliance, due to the lack of transparency around the structure of the Alliance as well as its workstreams. The European Parliament has a key role in pushing for more transparency and openness to the European Commission. 

Thirdly, the MEPs’ report says it is important to create a lead-market for zero-carbon technologies but lacks details on how to achieve it – for example by introducing a set of standards and quotas to encourage investment.

Camille Maury, policy officer at WWF European Policy Office said:
“MEPs are rightly giving priority to energy efficiency and electrification, but this is not the solution for every sector. As mentioned in the report, renewable hydrogen can plug the gap for those industries that cannot decarbonise any other way. However renewable hydrogen remains a scarce resource and must be treated that way. European Parliament must ask the Commission to come out with clear rules to make sure hydrogen is made and used sustainably, in very specific sectors only.”

The Commission’s industrial strategy, published in March, was a step towards climate-neutral industry, but lacked essential elements, like decarbonisation targets.

The non-binding report will be voted by the whole European Parliament in the next 23-26 November plenary session. The European Commission’s Industrial Strategy will be revised in the course of 2021. 

More on what NGOs are calling for in terms of industrial decarbonisation

Camille Maury
Policy Officer

Sarah Azau
Communications Manager
Tel: +32 473 573 137
Landschaftspark Duisburg-Nord in Germany. The park closely associates itself with the past use of the site: a coal and steel production plant (abandoned in 1985, leaving the area significantly polluted) and the agricultural land it had been prior to the mid 19th century.
© Flickr / Thomas Hauesler