COP28 Debrief: Flagship Hydrogen Initiatives Launched

Flagship hydrogen initiatives - including a new global declaration on mutual recognition of certification schemes - were launched at COP28 in Dubai. Source: Hydrogen Council.
Click to learn more. Flagship hydrogen initiatives – including a new global declaration on mutual recognition of certification schemes – were launched at COP28 in Dubai. Source: Hydrogen Council.

In a welcome development for producers of hydrogen and hydrogen derivatives across the world, several flagship initiatives have been announced at COP28. The initiatives are headlined by the Joint Declaration of Intent on ‘Mutual Recognition of Certification Schemes for Renewable and Low-Carbon Hydrogen and Hydrogen Derivatives’, a response to sustained calls for increased global regulatory consistency. Additionally, the International Standards Organisation (ISO) unveiled a new methodology for calculating life cycle hydrogen emissions.

37 countries agree on mutual recognition

The Joint Declaration is a clear indication that governments across the world have heeded the calls from policymakers, civil society and industry to work towards mutual recognition for hydrogen certification.

The nascent market for low-carbon hydrogen and derivatives is reliant on global supply chains. However, the patchwork nature of current low-carbon hydrogen certification schemes is a regulatory barrier to emerging trade. While it is inevitable that regulatory requirements will be tailored to each jurisdiction, some degree of interoperability is essential.

It is with that goal in mind that 37 governments signed the Joint Declaration at COP28. It seeks to “pave the way for development of a global market” through “mutual recognition of [the parties’] respective certification schemes”. According to the Hydrogen Council, mutual recognition is defined as enabling hydrogen producers to use the certification schemes of their exporting jurisdiction to satisfy the requirements of their importing jurisdiction.

The Joint Declaration highlights the International Partnership for Hydrogen and Fuel Cells in the Economy (IPHE) and the Hydrogen Technology Cooperation Programme (Hydrogen TCP) as promising settings for negotiations on mutual recognition.

A new standard for hydrogen emissions accounting

The Joint Declaration highlights the importance of harmonising emissions accounting methodologies as the basis of mutual recognition. A newly released standard from ISO could provide the framework for this harmonisation.

The new standard – ISO/TS 1987 – lays out a methodology for determining the GHG emissions associated with the production and transport of hydrogen. The standard has been hailed as a helpful consolidation of best practice:

The new ISO/TS 19870 provides a truly international methodology for assessing the GHG footprint of hydrogen as a product from well to consumption gate, including every delivery gate on a life cycle analysis basis. It helps us create a common international language around hydrogen and allows the least carbon-intensive solutions to shine. This is crucial for facilitating international trade, which is vital to realizing the decarbonization potential of hydrogen.

Ulrika Francke, ISO President. From New ISO standard on hydrogen unveiled at COP28 (Hydrogen Europe, Dec 2023)

You can find details on both announcements here.

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