Hydrogen energy is being promoted as a ‘clean’ alternative to fossil fuels, in global efforts to reduce emissions and tackle climate change. Despite the colourful array on offer- from grey to pink to green hydrogen – in reality all types of hydrogen are expensive, inefficient and far. In this position paper, Friends of the Earth International debunk the hydrogen rainbow and the myths around hydrogen’s role in the just energy transition.

Pushed by the same fossil industry that has caused – and continues to fuel – the climate crisis, hydrogen is yet another false solution, sold by the industry as a magical fix which allows business as usual to continue. Like other false solutions, it represents a dangerous distraction from the urgent, deep, real emission cuts that are needed to address the climate crisis.

Hydrogen props up the fossil fuel industry, especially the fossil gas industry. Given the well-documented evidence of the disastrous impacts of fossil gas globally – from the devastating outcomes of fracking in Colombia to ongoing conflict and destruction in Mozambique – it is clear that we should not be investing in an industry that consistently wrecks our communities and our climate. Addressing the climate crisis can only come through deep systemic change, dismantling the neocolonial, patriarchal, neoliberal capitalist system that created the crisis, to build a more just and equitable world for all.

Blue, grey, green – the industry is trying to sell us hydrogen in all types of colours and packaging, but when the smokescreen dissipates, the reality becomes clear: hydrogen is big polluters’s latest trick, and we can’t afford to fall for it.