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Friday, December 3, 2021

Opinion: Fossil Gasoline Firms Should Flip to Hydrogen for a Carbon-Free Financial system

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A hydrogen fueling station in Carmel Valley. Photograph by Chris Jennewein

20 years in the past, had somebody requested farsighted advocates for decarbonizing the financial system once they would know their aim was nearby, their reply may need been one thing like this: When ExxonMobil buys into it.

To make certain, that may be a glib response, but it surely underscores the fact {that a} true vitality revolution can not happen till authorities insurance policies, public dedication and financial incentives have turn out to be sturdy sufficient to pressure transformative change.

That day is at our doorstep. Across the globe, responding to zero-carbon targets and investor concern in regards to the long-term viability of fossil fuels, main oil firms together with Shell, BP and, sure, ExxonMobil, are investing as by no means earlier than within the improvement of hydrogen — a gasoline that’s important to scale up clear vitality manufacturing to satisfy international demand within the industrial and transportation sectors.

It’s a welcome improvement, and one which public coverage should proceed to push ahead by way of actions that may encourage sustained non-public funding. In California, as an illustration, there is a chance subsequent yr within the state’s Clear Transportation Program to make a significant dedication to increase hydrogen fueling stations.

As seen on the latest COP26 convention in Scotland, there are nonetheless scars of battles with the fossil gasoline business, which had lengthy fought regulation, disputed science and resisted change for many years. We perceive the impulse to be skeptical {that a} nook has been turned.

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