“Fossil Capitalism’s Lock-ins: The Natural Gas-Hydrogen Nexus”, John Szabo (IWE CERS, Hungary)

This paper investigates the hypothesis that power relations in the current, fossil fuel-based capitalist system allow the natural gas industry to appropriate the notion of a hydrogen energy utopia and substitute a natural gas-based vision for a renewable-based one. Although the uptake of hydrogen as a fuel is still in its infancy, the push to decarbonise natural gas-consuming regions has spurred action by natural gas industry actors to capture future markets. In doing so, they are able to maintain their capital accumulation practices based on unsustainable resource exploitation. This paper looks at how the domains of economic competitiveness, infrastructures, (geo)politics, and ideology all underpin the power of the natural gas industry to the detriment of their renewable competitors. The European Union is discussed in more detail, since this is the first region where ambitious climate policy targets and natural gas consumption collide.

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