COP26: International climate negotiations key, but domestic decisions vital for the UK’s hydrogen industry

After two years of expectation, the UK is hosting COP26. Around 25,000 delegates and 120 world leaders are set to descend onto Glasgow for the summit. Hotels and restaurants across the city are booked up for what has been billed as the biggest climate conference for a generation.

For the hydrogen industry, COP26 is an opportunity to highlight the contribution the industry can make in achieving the sustainable climate goals that nations are aiming to develop. Throughout September and October, we have been developing and running our own ‘Road to COP26’ campaign which is shining a light on the depth and breadth of UK hydrogen and fuel capability and technologies that will be at the forefront of decarbonising our planet. We have been showcasing the work of our members through political visits and videos, in order to detail the impact that hydrogen and fuel cells can have in tackling the effects of climate change, as well as in supporting UK growth, jobs and exports.

As for the conference itself, UK HFCA wants to see: as many nations as possible committing to a 2050 Net Zero future; $100bn annually confirmed for poorer nations to finance climate projects; the phasing out of coal use in power and electricity; and a commitment to do the same for vehicles that run on petrol or diesel. Importantly, we want countries to commit to writing and actually delivering implementation plans. Not only is this the outcome we need to halt dangerous climate change, it will also create market opportunities for the UK hydrogen and fuel cells industry, since countries’ implementation plans will likely point to the role of hydrogen in a number of ways.

Even better, we will be watching to see if, like during the build up to the recent G7 conference, international leaders and Ministers further commit to hydrogen as part of their pathways to Net Zero. While many countries, such as the UK, Germany, Japan and Italy all have hydrogen strategies in place, not all countries do. Those who are leading the way with hydrogen should help create awareness across other nations to help them along in the hydrogen journey. In doing so, it will complement the work that the UK HFCA does with the Department of International Trade in promoting hydrogen and the UK industry overseas.

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