“We are living in challenging times. If, on the one hand, economic and social recovery are the immediate priority, on the other, we cannot ignore the threat that climate change poses to society”, João Pedro Matos Fernandes, Portuguese Minister for the Environment and Climate Action, emphasised at the opening of the High-Level Conference on “Hydrogen in Society - Bridging the gaps”, which is taking place today in the context of the Portuguese Presidency of the Council of the European Union.
Regarding Europe’s goals for the environment, the Minister recalled that “achieving carbon neutrality in Europe by 2050 and a reduction of at least 55% in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030 requires profound changes in our energy system and a firm commitment to an energy transition supported by the deployment of renewable energy”.
However “there are cases where electrification is not an option and therefore renewable hydrogen is expected to play a key role in the decarbonisation of sectors where other alternatives might not be feasible or could be more expensive. This is decisive for the decarbonisation of European industry”, the Minister said.
Regarding the agenda for the conference, João Pedro Matos Fernandes highlighted the key themes for discussion: “policies and strategies to foster a global market for hydrogen, the international view on challenges and opportunities, the role of support mechanisms, the promotion of sustainable value chains, partnerships and the fundamental contribution of innovation ecosystems”.
As to the outputs of the conference, the Minister “expects it to provide insights on the state of development and cooperation regarding hydrogen. Hopefully, it will also allow us to learn more about strategic initiatives based on hydrogen clusters and valleys.”
In his speech, João Pedro Matos Fernandes also recalled that “these are historic times in the energy sector. By bringing all the relevant stakeholders together, by pooling resources to increase scale and by having a unique collective focus and drive, we can accelerate the implementation of a green hydrogen economy and create a full hydrogen value chain in Europe, while ensuring global industrial and technological leadership and combating climate change.”