Brussels, February 13 – A new EU definition of green hydrogen would lead to more fossil fuels being burned to produce it, and be “a gold standard for greenwashing”, according to Global Witness.

The European Commission’s draft rules for what constitutes green hydrogen – which should be produced with renewables – allows it to be made with electricity from coal or fossil gas power plants.

Dominic Eagleton, senior gas campaigner at Global Witness said “The European Commission’s plan to make so-called ‘green’ hydrogen with electricity from fossil gas or coal power plants is surely the gold standard of greenwashing. Plans to swap out the fossil gas in Europe’s pipes and boilers with hydrogen from renewables simply will not work – there’s not enough of it to go around. So instead of admitting defeat, the Commission has gone into denial. The only way to replace gas is to roll out a massive wave of renewables and energy savings.”

Under the Commission’s proposals:

  • Electricity produced by burning fossil gas and coal will be used to produce green hydrogen when the supply of renewables is not sufficient
  • Green hydrogen will be allowed to be produced from existing renewables capacity, drawing renewable electricity from the grid which will be replaced by more electricity from fossil gas and coal

The European Parliament and Council cannot amend these rules, but have a two month window to accept or reject them.