Press Release – At best an emissions calculator, at worst a greenwashing tool for dirty hydrogen: new clean hydrogen standard launched at COP28

Publish date: December 5, 2023

The International Organisation for Standardisation presented new clean hydrogen standards at COP28. Whilst this is an encouraging step forward in calculating climate impacts of hydrogen production, this new methodology fails to set an emission threshold to guide policymakers in distinguishing clean hydrogen and more polluting varieties. This makes the new clean hydrogen standard a potential greenwashing tool for dirty hydrogen. 

«The ISO hydrogen standard announced today potentially increases confusion of what should classify as ‘clean’ hydrogen, instead of simplifying it. By failing to establish a threshold for emissions from hydrogen production, it is at best an emissions calculator – at worst a greenwashing tool for dirty hydrogen.

It puts the onus on individual countries to decide what is ‘clean’ hydrogen, paving the way for a complex and fragmented future hydrogen trade.»

Marta Lovisolo

Senior Policy Advisor, Renewable Energy Systems

Bellona welcomes COP28’s Declaration of Intent on Mutual Recognition of Certification Schemes for Hydrogen and Hydrogen Derivatives, as kickstarting a global hydrogen market requires international standards for which types of hydrogen can be considered clean. 

«Put simply, hydrogen that complies with the ISO standard launched today does not necessarily mean it’s ‘low-carbon’.

This is a missed opportunity to introduce a hydrogen standard with true climate safeguards – most importantly an emissions threshold – which could have been the basis for scaling up clean hydrogen globally.»

Luisa Keßler

Policy Advisor Sustainable Hydrogen Economy, Bellona Deutschland

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