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Andrew Forrest on renewable energy sources, clean hydrogen, climate

To sort out runaway international warming, politicians need to look past catchphrases like “clear hydrogen” and perceive the analysis behind renewable power sources earlier than making choices, Fortescue chairman Andrew Forrest instructed CNBC.

“I am asking them to do the tutorial evaluation and analysis. Simply do not fall, like we’re in Australia and internationally, for the short sound bites like ‘clear hydrogen,'” Forrest stated Thursday on CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia.”

“That is like clear coal or cancer-free tobacco,” he stated, including that decision-makers have to ask questions round emissions from unintended or unintentional leaks, the affect of methane within the ambiance and carbon over the subsequent twenty years.

What’s clear hydrogen?

Hydrogen is a “versatile energy carrier” which can assist meet completely different power challenges, in response to the Worldwide Vitality Company. It has a variety of purposes and could be deployed to assist scale back carbon emissions in sectors like long-haul transport, chemical substances, iron and metal.

Hydrogen could be produced in quite a few methods and from virtually all power assets — a technique is to make use of electrolysis, with an electrical present splitting water into oxygen and hydrogen. If the electrical energy comes from a renewable supply like wind or photo voltaic, then some describe it as “inexperienced” or “clear” hydrogen.

Photo voltaic panels within the Indian state of Karnataka.

Jonas Gratzer | LightRocket | Getty Pictures

Whereas demand for hydrogen has grown greater than three-fold since 1975 and continues to rise, the IEA says virtually all of it’s provided from burning fossil fuels. As such, the manufacturing of hydrogen is answerable for emissions of round 830 million tons of carbon dioxide a yr — equal to the emissions of the U.Ok. and Indonesia mixed, in response to the IEA.

“In the event you actually need to cease international warming within the time period when it’ll be most harmful, the subsequent 20 years, then we have to be encouraging inexperienced hydrogen straightaway,” Forrest stated.

There may be additionally a push by the fossil gas sector for carbon sequestration — the method of capturing and storing atmospheric carbon dioxide as a option to sort out international warming, in response to Forrest. However most of these makes an attempt are inclined to fail, he stated.

We have to bear in mind the Stone Age did not finish as a result of we ran out of stones, we have to keep in mind that [renewable energy] is a greater supply of gas.

Andrew Forrest

Fortescue Chairman

This yr, the world’s main local weather scientists delivered their starkest warning yet about the deepening climate crisis. The much-anticipated report by the U.N.’s local weather panel stated that limiting international warming to shut to 1.5°C and even 2°C above pre-industrial ranges “will likely be past attain” within the subsequent twenty years with out rapid, fast and large-scale reductions in greenhouse gasoline emissions.

The 1.5°C threshold is essential as a result of past this degree, there could possibly be an irreversible change within the local weather system, locking in additional international heating.

Energy crunch

Learn extra about clear power from CNBC Professional

“Whereas there are energy shortages, do not be fooled into pondering that’s from renewable power,” he stated. “With out that renewable power feeding into the grid, and feeding into all of the sources of consumption, yeah we might be in actual bother.”

The world wants management in its push to deploy capital and assets into growing renewable electrical energy and shift away from fossil gas, stated Forrest.

“We have to bear in mind the Stone Age did not finish as a result of we ran out of stones, we have to keep in mind that this can be a higher supply of gas. That is utterly carbon free. It is infinite. Let’s get after it,” he added.

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