Column by Celia Greaves, CEO of the UK HFCA. Published by H2 View: https://www.h2-view.com/story/g7-uk-we-need-to-see-firm-action-from-the-g7-on-hydrogen/
In May, the Group of Seven (G7) agreed to step up efforts to advance commercial scale hydrogen from low carbon and renewable sources across its economies, including support for fuel cell deployment globally. Following this news, and in the run up to the G7 Leaders’ Summit, which starts today (Friday June 11) in Cornwall, UK, H2 View is bringing you a series of thought leadership articles written by the hydrogen associations in the G7 countries. Next up is the UK.
Today (June 11), the eyes of the world’s media will be on Carbis Bay, Cornwall in the UK as Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes the leaders of the G7 nations, the EU and guest countries at the G7 Summit. For three days, world leaders will meet to discuss how to spearhead the global recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic and deal with geopolitical threats.
With the COP26 climate summit taking place in less than six months, climate change will be a key part of the G7’s agenda. The Prime Minister has spoken about how he wants to unite fellow G7 nations to create a “greener, more prosperous future”. The UK Government is keen to ensure that COP26 results in meaningful global agreements on reducing global emissions and so, over the coming days, it will be looking to gain support from fellow G7 nations for its ambitious climate targets.
For the hydrogen industry, the G7 is a moment where we hope to see progress. We know that hydrogen and fuel cells can play key roles in reducing carbon emissions across the economy, helping nations achieve their net zero targets. Pleasingly, many G7 countries recognise this domestically and are now putting in place practical hydrogen strategies which are providing a framework for industry to scale up and grow.
Last year, Germany released its hydrogen strategy that detailed the key role hydrogen can play in the German economy and put forward a number of measures to ramp up the domestic market. Japan was the first country to adopt a hydrogen strategy and it has set out plans to increase the domestic uptake of hydrogen across heating and transport. Of course, the UK will release its Hydrogen Strategy later this year and we hope the UK follows its fellow G7 members by putting in place an ambitious programme that provides certainty to both the domestic and international hydrogen industry.
On the international stage we were pleased to see G7 Ministers responsible for climate and the environment agree that a range of different decarbonisation technologies will be needed if countries are to reach net zero emissions. Reflecting their domestic policies, they released a statement last month committing support for the ongoing development of hydrogen technology. Specifically, the climate leads stated that they will step up efforts to advance commercial scale hydrogen from low carbon and renewable sources and increase support for the global deployment of fuel cells. For the hydrogen and fuel cell industry, it is encouraging to see leaders across the world firmly embrace these technologies on the world stage and nations come together to state their importance to the fight against climate change.
However, we need to see firm action from the G7 both on hydrogen and more widely. Nations have already showed that they are not afraid of making major commitments ahead of the Summit later this week. Over the weekend, we saw finance ministers agree an historic deal to see a global minimum corporate tax of at least 15%. The Prime Minister has indicated that he wants the G7 to agree to help developing countries to decarbonise their economies and limit global warming. This is welcome, but industry needs more.
Over the coming days we would like to see the G7 leaders reach an agreement on the introduction of an international carbon tax on the production of carbon that cannot be captured and stored. Reaching net zero is a global effort, and we need to see the major carbon emitting nations pledge to tackle the issue of carbon emissions together. If the G7 is serious about tackling climate change, we also need to see member states put an end to subsidies for fossil fuels. The G7 have stated how important it is to move away from fossil fuels and embrace low carbon technologies and they now need to put in place plans such as these to make net zero a reality.
The hydrogen industry is ready to move and support this, but it has to be supported by a clear government-backed trajectory, guiding regulations and aligned public funding incentives and energy taxes. We hope that post-G7, we will have more of an idea of the direction of travel.