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Jules Verne first wrote about hydrogen in 1874 and now it presents a real hope for decarbonising energy. 

But instead of embracing hydrogen made from renewables, Australia is on track to use it as a free pass to keep coal and gas corporations alive - and weasel words are part of the problem.

This week we're fired up about:

Thanks to my supporters. Please join them and sponsor Fired Up and the volunteers at Comms Declare via Patreon!

Belinda Noble
A quiet push is underway to label hydrogen made with coal or gas as 'clean' or 'renewable'.

Hydrogen can be made with renewables, with oxygen the only by-product. Or it can be made with coal or gas, along with promises to store the resulting carbon dioxide.

There are numerous efforts here and overseas to standardise the labelling, before the hydrogen industry explodes.

Many people use colours:
  • Green: hydrogen made with renewables
  • Blue: hydrogen made with gas, with some of the CO2 captured and stored
  • Grey: hydrogen made with coal or gas and no CO2 capture
But the Australian Government has other labels under its National Hydrogen Strategy: 'clean hydrogen' and 'low emissions' hydrogen.

These vague terms are essentially rebrands of 'blue hydrogen' and should not be used. 

For a start, carbon capture and storage isn't working well enough to clean up the CO2 from coal and gas. Secondly, 'low' or 'lower' emissions sets up a false comparison with coal, which is not the only alternative.

The government is currently taking submissions on a 'hydrogen guarantee of origin' discussion paper but it doesn't include discussion of how hydrogen can be named or marketed.

Western Australia has another term: 'renewable hydrogen'. Its Renewable Hydrogen Strategy lays out a vision of the state as a major 'renewable hydrogen' exporter but it does not offer a definition of 'renewable hydrogen'.

However, with three representatives from the gas industry on the Renewable Hydrogen Committee, and none from solar or wind, you can have a pretty good guess what they're thinking.

This image from the strategy lays it out.

Basically, 'renewable hydrogen' can be 'gas' with a bit of green hydrogen mixed in. This means the gas industry can expand its operations and get more taxpayer money under the guise of being clean. So, we recommend....

Support Climate Communications

Pressure is mounting on big tech to remove greenwashing and political ads from fossil fuel corporations.

Greenpeace in the U.S has started a petition to the CEOs of Facebook, Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, and TikTok asking them to ban ads from fossil fuel corporations and their front groups.

Influence Map checked 25,147 social and political ads on Facebook by the American oil and gas lobby and found 6,782 promoted gas as being green or low-carbon. The amount they spent was $US9.5 million.

HEATED has reported U.S lobby groups are stepping up social media campaigns to stop President Biden's climate actions while sidestepping rules against political advertising.

In the meantime, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram continue to block ads for climate groups because they're too political. Even solar energy companies have been caught in the ban.

Several more agencies have been added to our list for being fossil-friendly.

Atomix has just produced a new website for Santos where it trots out nonsense about reaching net zero by 2040.

Rasic and Partners has been added to Shell's list of agencies... promoting the corporation for providing STEM in schools.

And The Brand Agency has done a new campaign for gas company,  Kleenheat. It created a bus campaign with the slight misfire (above) and the cringe video 'let life flow'.

1. Three Danish organisations 
for suing the EU's biggest pork company for advertising its product as "climate controlled" and "more climate friendly than you think".  You can donate to this important test case via their website.

2. Rebecca Leber and Mother Jones for revealing some dodgy tactics being used to make us love gas stoves, and the origin of the saying 'cooking with gas'.

3. 15-year-old climate activist, Bella Burgemeister for this meme about Environment Minister, Sussan Ley's appeal against the court ruling she has a duty of care for young people.
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