h2 global 2022

Hydrogen lobby spends over €75 million a year driving the EU hydrogen hype

A new study of the top 100 highest-spenders on EU lobbying based on LobbyFacts data shows that Big Hydrogen spends over €75.75 million a year on lobbying the EU institutions. This is significantly more than Big Finance (€38.75 million). The study and infographics by Corporate Europe Observatory and WeSmellGas expose the dark side of the EU’s hydrogen craze – and the lobby firepower of the corporate giants driving it.

This new study is published a few days after the IEA’s newly released figures for hydrogen showed that 99 per cent of globally produced hydrogen is made from fossil fuels. Green hydrogen amounts to less than 0.1 per cent of hydrogen production (less than 0.08 million tonnes) - a stark contrast with the EU’s 2030 target of 20 million tonnes.

Belén Balanyá, Researcher and Campaigner at Corporate Europe Observatory (CEO), says:

“The EU is hyping up hydrogen as the miracle that will cure our fossil fuel addiction. The truth is dirtier: hydrogen risks actually extending fossil fuel use. With the awareness that hydrogen will continue to be mostly fossil-based in the years to come, oil and gas majors like Shell, Total, ExxonMobil and their lobby groups will use the unrealistic targets to sneak fossil-based hydrogen through the back door.

"The hydrogen lobby has achieved plenty of wins. Their huge firepower and harmful track record of influence is worrying for ongoing and upcoming lobby battles. From the Hydrogen Package to the Critical Raw Materials Act, Big Hydrogen has its fingers in every pie."

The dirty truth about the EU’s hydrogen push also exposes the serious risks of large scale green hydrogen production, which requires vast amounts of land, water, and renewable energy.

For instance, a third of the globally planned gigawatt-scale green hydrogen projects (41 out of 109 projects in our database) are in countries already facing high or extremely high water stress, including Spain, Namibia, Chile, or Morocco.

A spokeperson for the climate justice collective WeSmellGas says:

“One thing is clear, EU hydrogen plans are a rebranded expansion of neo-colonial extractivist practices, including the large-scale appropriation of land, water, and energy in producing countries.

"Clearly the EU and its fossil-funded lobbies, have no intention of transforming the grossly unequal and ecologically damaging system that was the making of the climate crisis. The new plans herald a new era of green colonialism that will worsen global inequalities, engender violence and dispossession, while diverting public funding from the genuinely renewable energy solutions we need to jointly tackle our climate and global inequality crises.”


For more information or interview requests please contact:

Belén Balanyá, Corporate Europe Observatory researcher, +31 (0) 633090386, belen@corporateeurope.org

Collective WeSmellGas (Holly), + 44 7508428925

Notes to the editor:

  • For more information and our methodology see the full report
  • The analysis (based on LobbyFacts data) shows that in the top 100 EU lobby groups (those paying €1.75 million and more a year for lobbying the EU institutions), there are 25 hydrogen players: 17 companies (Shell, ExxonMobil, Dow, BASF, Robert Bosch, Siemens, TotalEnergies, Equinor, Yara, BP, BMW, Electricité de France, ENEL, ENGIE, Neste, RWE, and Siemens Energy), 7 trade associations (EU chemical industry lobby CEFIC, its German equivalent VCI, oil lobby Fuels Europe, German engineering association VDMA, German energy lobby BDEW, EU car manufacturers group ACEA, and Hydrogen Europe) as well as one think tank (Concawe, which is linked to Fuels Europe).

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