The climate-heating impact of so-called blue hydrogen is 20% greater than simply burning methane-based gas, new research shows. “Blue hydrogen,” hydrogen derived from fossil fuels like coal and gas combined with carbon capture and storage (CCS) to eliminate carbon emissions, is a darling of the oil and gas industry, which touts it as a low-carbon fuel. However, the first academically-rigorous assessment of blue hydrogen’s climate impact, published Thursday in Energy Science and Engineering, finds it is actually worse than than “gray hydrogen” extracted from coal and gas without CCS because so much methane is emitted from extracting and burning gas to power the CCS operations. Officials both in the U.S. and U.K. have discussed the role of blue hydrogen in those countries’ energy systems, and the $1.2 trillion infrastructure package passed this week by the Senate includes funding for developing “clean hydrogen.”

“Blue hydrogen is a dangerous distraction, which, if actually employed at scale, would aggravate rather than help address climate change,” Haworth told Earther. “Policy makers should be skeptical of such ideas until they are thoroughly vetted by independent full lifecycle analysis by scientists and engineers in a transparent and peer-reviewed framework.” (Earther, New York Times $, The Guardian; UK: The Guardian)