Energy Exchange

Keep clean hydrogen clean

Hydrogen tank, solar panel and windmills on blue sky background. Sustainable and ecological energy concept. 3d illustration.

By Fred Krupp, Manish Bapna and Armond Cohen

Originally published in, December 2023 (no longer in circulation). 

It’s a make-or-break moment for hydrogen’s role in our clean energy future. Hailed for its potential to flexibly deliver energy without polluting the climate, hydrogen could be a valuable climate solution if we get it right. That’s why the Biden administration is deploying vast new incentives to jumpstart a new clean hydrogen economy. But hydrogen isn’t without risk, which is why the details of these programs matter.

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Can fossil fuel companies find a place in a climate-friendly world?

We have to transform our energy system to avert the worst impacts of climate change. And if oil and gas companies want a place in that future, they must transform themselves—or else be consigned to history. Is it realistic to think fossil fuel companies could be part of the solution? Plenty of reasonable people say no, but I think constructive engagement with some in the industry can speed the transition. A few companies have taken meaningful steps in the right direction. To secure a place in the future, however, they need to think bigger and move faster.

The challenge is urgent and stark: The world’s economy needs to reach net-zero greenhouse emissions early in the second half of the century to achieve what science says is necessary. Net-zero means putting no more carbon into the atmosphere than we can take out. To hit this ambitious global goal, Europe, the U.S. and other advanced economies must get to net-zero, 100% clean economies by 2050.

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The World Has A Methane Problem – But We Can Solve It

As I write this, a massive methane leak from a ruptured natural gas storage facility in California is causing, every day, as much climate damage over the next 20 years as seven million cars on the road.

And as the climate talks here in Paris continued over the weekend, The Washington Post noted an increased focus on short-lived climate pollutants such as methane. This focus is an absolute necessity: If we want to solve climate change, we have no choice but to tackle methane emissions.

According to data from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, methane pollution is responsible for 25 percent of the warming our planet is experiencing today. It has this incredible impact because it’s 84 times more potent than carbon dioxide over the short term.

The largest industrial source of methane emissions is the oil and gas industry, and their environmental impact is staggering: A short-term climate impact equivalent to 40 percent of global coal combustion. That’s a lot of potential benefit to the climate, if we can make significant reductions.

That math is why the danger of unchecked methane pollution also offers us such an opportunity. Read More »

Posted in Methane, Natural Gas / Comments are closed

4 Undeniable Signs We’re Making Progress on Climate Change

Stretch as far as eye can see the grass and the horizon distance, wind turbine.

Seven months ago, I made a strong statement that may have left some people shaking their heads. I said that we can turn the corner on climate change – end the centuries-long rise in greenhouse gas emissions and see them peak and begin to decline – in just five short years.

As it turns out, 2015 is shaping up to be a year of giant steps toward that goal.

In a deeply reported New York Magazine piece, political writer Jonathan Chait calls it “the year humans finally got serious about saving themselves.” Says Chait, “The world is suddenly responding to the climate emergency with – by the standards of its previous behavior – astonishing speed.”

I agree. Here are four reasons I believe we’re headed in the right direction: Read More »

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The Clean Power Plan: A Ticket to the Top


Paxson Woelber

With the Environmental Protection Agency’s now final, the era of unlimited carbon pollution from America’s power plants is finally coming to an end.

With the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan now final, the era of unlimited carbon pollution from America’s power plants is finally coming to an end.

That’s excellent news, because climate change has put us in the race of our lives – and the countries that move the fastest toward clean energy will be the most competitive, create the most jobs and have the healthiest air. It’s a race to the top, and the Clean Power Plan gives the United States a better chance of winning.

Below are excerpts from an op-ed in today’s Wall Street Journal where I lay out the opportunities this groundbreaking initiative will bring to our nation.
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2014 Year in Review: 3 Breakthroughs that Tip the Scales for Climate Action

walmartsolar_378x235As the year draws to a close, I’m grateful for three climate breakthroughs from 2014 that give me hope that we can still turn the corner toward a stable climate before it’s too late.

And I’m thankful to my colleagues at Environmental Defense Fund who crunched the numbers and determined how we can actually see global greenhouse emissions peak, level off, and begin to decline in the next five years.

EDF can’t do it alone – it will take concerted action by allies and stakeholders around the world – and it won’t be easy. But we can do it.

We know we can do this, because it’s happening already:  Read More »

Posted in Clean Power Plan, Colorado, Grid Modernization, Methane / Read 1 Response