Full Title: A Guide to 1.5°C-Aligned Hydrogen Investments
Author(s): World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Publisher(s): World Business Council for Sustainable Development
Publication Date: February 9, 2023
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In a net-zero carbon emissions world in 2050, hydrogen will meet a significant portion of global energy demand, ranging from 5% to 22%, according to different organizations. Therefore, the world will require several times the quantities produced today and companies will need to produce it in a much less carbon-intense manner. Modeling shows that meeting this demand will happen through two main hydrogen production pathways: water electrolysis powered by renewable energies (otherwise known as green hydrogen) and natural gas reforming with carbon capture and storage (CCS) (otherwise known as blue hydrogen). Both will result in low levels of emissions. However, no one knows how low these levels need to be in a world where the climate’s warming is kept to 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.
In our view, alignment with a 1.5°C scenario for hydrogen requires a rate of decarbonization (of life-cycle emissions associated with hydrogen) in line with the International Energy Agency’s (IEA) Net Zero Emissions scenario curve, reaching net-zero lifecycle carbon emissions in 2050. Using hydrogen to decarbonize sectors where alternatives are not available, ill-suited to the use or less efficient and respecting two redlines for natural (fossil) gas-based hydrogen – no reliance on new (meaning greenfield) fossil fuel exploration or fossil fuel subsidies. We also call on policymakers to create support mechanisms that would preferentially reward projects aligned with a 1.5°C scenario and reach net-zero emissions in 2050.