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Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Fossil Fuel Lobbyists Pushing Hydrogen on Scottish Politicians

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Climate campaigners have revealed the huge lobbying operation by fossil fuel interests pushing expensive and inefficient hydrogen technology onto Scottish Government and MSPs.

Campaigners unearthed over 30 meetings with oil and gas companies where hydrogen was discussed, along with an additional 70 meetings with companies who stood to benefit from the roll out of hydrogen technology in Scotland.

The Scottish Government has pledged over £100 million to this industry and has refused to rule out using hydrogen from fossil fuels.

Ministers even refer to fossil fuel derived hydrogen as ‘low carbon’ despite the methane leakage during gas production and the extra energy required to run the partial carbon capture process upon which it relies.

The revelations show a huge push by fossil fuel giants like BP and Shell – who met MSPs 17 and 9 times respectively – demonstrating how hard the industry is pressing politicians to claim hydrogen as a climate solution despite mounting evidence that the technology is too expensive and inefficient.

Evidence shows that using hydrogen for heating our homes is more expensive and less efficient than direct electrification through technologies like heat pumps.

Hydrogen is not suitable for most transport needs due to cost and how far the technology is behind electrification.


On the same day (10/11/21) during COP26 as the Scottish Government published their draft Hydrogen Action Plan it organised a lavish dinner for the Hydrogen industry with 52 company lobbyists at Edinburgh Castle that FOIs reveal cost the public purse £11,000.

It was attended by BP, INEOS, Shell, Wood Group and Offshore Energies UK.

It was hosted by Business Minister Ivan McKee and attended by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon.

Then Cabinet Secretary for Net Zero Michael Matheson travelled to Rotterdam in May 2022 to speak at the World Hydrogen Summit which marketed itself as “the global platform where hydrogen deals get done.”

The two day conference had host partners BP and Shell and “diamond sponsorship” from Saudi oil company Aramco and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company.

Shell met with then Energy Minister Paul Wheelhouse in January 2021, where the official record states Shell specifically “emphasized the importance of both blue and green hydrogen.”

Friends of the Earth Scotland climate campaigner Alex Lee (they/them) commented:

“Hydrogen lobbyists have made a targeted push trying to persuade the Scottish Government to ignore the mounting evidence about the technology’s inefficiency and huge costs.

“By incorrectly classifying hydrogen from fossil fuels as ‘low carbon’, Scottish Ministers are doing the greenwashing job for fossil fuel companies.

“Big polluters like Shell and BP are selling hydrogen hard because it allows them to keep on drilling for fossil fuels and keep the public locked into an energy system using oil and gas for decades to come.

“The Scottish Government has been taken in by the marketing hype around hydrogen, promising over £100 million of public money to the industry and repeating outlandish jobs creation claims.

“Ministers must end their support for hydrogen from fossil fuels and instead use renewable power directly in heating and transport rather than wasting time and energy by converting it to hydrogen first.

“If the Scottish Government want to tackle the climate crisis and deliver a just transition away from oil and gas, it must cut ties with the fossil fuel industry and ban them from lobbying.”

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