UNECE | Hydrogen
The analysis from the Pathways Project (2020) indicated that the countries from the UNECE region will need both to reduce
their dependence on fossil fuels from over 80% to around 50% by 2050 and to achieve significant negative carbon emissions
to stay on a pathway consistent with the Paris Agreement and to maintain its economic trajectory.
The amount of cumulative negative carbon emissions is immense – at least 90Gt of CO2 by
2050 to ensure delivery of the 20C target Fossil fuels are likely to continue playing an important role
in UNECE member States, in the short and medium term, during a transition to carbon neutrality. Hydrogen is widely
recognised as a key to either decarbonise sectors where full penetration of renewable electricity is not possible or where
the deployment of CCUS is difficult (for example, in some hardto-abate sectors, such as some heavy industry and long-haul
Hydrogen has been produced and used in huge quantities for many years. However, hydrogen as an energy vector is a
recent development. An energy vector is a tool that can be used to transport and store energy before it is converted into
electricity, heat or used as raw material to supply the industry. Unlike fossil fuels, geological resources of hydrogen are
rarely exploited or widely mapped and so hydrogen must be produced directly.
Currently, hydrogen is mostly used as a feedstock to produce chemicals, such as fertilisers and plastics, while its energy
vector feature remains limited. In this context, about 95% of hydrogen is produced from natural gas or other hydrocarbons
and results in CO2 emissions between 70 – 100 Mt CO2 annually solely in EU countries.