Advocates Call Out California Leaders for Attending Convention on False Climate Solution

California leaders, Big Oil industry representatives to meet at fossil-fuel sponsored California Hydrogen Convention

Published May 30, 2024

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Climate and Energy

California leaders, Big Oil industry representatives to meet at fossil-fuel sponsored California Hydrogen Convention

California leaders, Big Oil industry representatives to meet at fossil-fuel sponsored California Hydrogen Convention

This week, California government officials are meeting with representatives from Big Oil and Gas at the fossil fuel industry-sponsored California Hydrogen Convention. The stated goals of the convention are to jump start and drive forward the hydrogen market in California and establish a “powerful ecosystem that aims to reduce pollution and act as a catalyst for addressing climate change”. 

However, despite claims from the industry that hydrogen will provide a clean source of energy, it is not the answer to our climate crisis. Hydrogen is incredibly water intensive, produces noxious pollutants at rates even higher than natural gas, entrenches the fossil fuel industry and will perpetuate the harm already being done to communities experiencing the brunt of the effects of climate change and pollution. 

Andrea Vega, Southern California Senior Organizer said, “Californians deserve real climate solutions and leaders who are going to fight to protect our communities. Sadly, this convention appears to be the latest example of the industry pushing for false climate solutions, and our are leaders letting it happen. While hydrogen might appear to be the climate solution we are looking for, Food & Water Watch’s research has repeatedly demonstrated the dangers. If we introduce hydrogen to the notoriously leaky natural gas system, it could increase the risk of deadly explosions and major health and safety issues. Further, producing hydrogen requires a huge amount of water, which is dangerous for a state already experiencing historic drought and extreme weather. Finally, hydrogen could drive up the cost for ratepayers who will be forced to pay for expensive hydrogen adaptations to existing gas infrastructure. Instead of investing in hydrogen, we need to be dismantling the industry that put us into this climate crisis in the first place: the fossil fuel industry.”

Faith Myhra, Organizing Member with Protect Playa Now said, “The push for hydrogen at the California Hydrogen Convention not only misrepresents its viability as a clean energy solution but also directly threatens my community by keeping local gas storage facilities and power plants operational. These facilities, positioned perilously close to around 500,000 people and LAX, will continue to jeopardize the health and safety of my neighbors and me. The insistence on a hydrogen market does little to genuinely address or mitigate climate change, instead ensuring that we remain tied to harmful fossil fuel infrastructures and methane. It’s alarming that our leaders are considering strategies that so clearly compromise both our community’s welfare and our environmental goals for the fossil fuel industries agenda.”

Marcia Hanscom, Ballona Wetlands Institute, said, “Because the climate crisis is so important to address, we’ve researched the possibilities for Hydrogen playing a significant role as a solution to replace fossil fuels, and what we’ve learned is that it is a pipe dream, thought up by the fossil fuel industry as a way to keep the methane gas flowing. Experts have stated that to power up electricity plants – like the ones used by LADWP – only 30% Hydrogen is possible to be used, and that this small amount of Hydrogen would need to be mixed with 70% Methane Gas. So, no, this charade does not wean us off of fossil fuels.”

Robert Jan van de Hoek, Environmental Scientist, Defend Ballona Wetlands, said, “The new science states we must stop using methane gas as soon as possible.  California’s EPA Secretary Yana Garcia recently stated that methane is a pollutant 25 times more potent than CO2. Since using Hydrogen still needs methane gas to be used in most situations, and there are still unknown dangers of explosions and NOx emissions, Hydrogen is not the magic answer, but is an experiment we need to reject. Let’s focus on the genuine renewable energy sources we know work without using fossil fuels.”

Alex Jasset, Energy Justice Director at Physicians for Social Responsibility – Los Angeles, said, “The proposed buildout of hydrogen infrastructure will not only perpetuate climate and environmental injustice, but it will also rob Californians of the opportunity to pursue the cleaner, cheaper, safer, and more efficient alternatives that already exist. The wildly expensive plans to burn hydrogen-methane blends at our power plants will increase nitrogen oxide (NOx) pollution in frontline communities and lock us into a fossil fuel future that will fail to meet necessary climate goals. Elected officials should know that there is no shortcut to solving climate change, and that we need bold, community-driven solutions, not the fossil fuel scams that are peddled, unchallenged, behind closed doors.”

Lydia Ponce, American Indian Movement, Member, Quechua, Mayo-Yaqui, Water and Land Protector, said, “False solutions provide green profits, that is all. We continue to waste precious and fleeting time, as the proponents of Blue or Green Hydrogen are a threat to the 7 generations’ future, a future that should offer a holistic opportunity for health, to thrive and offer sustainability. I would very much like to have a copy of the Indigenous Tribal Consultation and Consent that was submitted with your plan as we have a timely threat for your project’s approval: did you develop your plans and commit to investors while compromising the local Indigenous communities’ rights to self-determination and agency? I am not supporting or endorsing Hydrogen of any color and the investors have a right for a refund.”  

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Press Contact: Madeline Bove [email protected]

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