Overline: Online conference
Headline: Green hydrogen: fueling just decarbonization or ‘greening’ extractivism?

Green hydrogen is being discussed globally as one of the necessary contributions to a decarbonized economy. However, its role in achieving a just transition is controversial. While some argue that it has the potential to contribute significantly to the transition to just and sustainable energy systems, e.g. by improving air quality for communities adjacent to industrial zones or by creating new sources of income and green jobs in structurally weak regions, others point to its multiple socio-ecological risks: In particular, the expected massive expansion of hydrogen infrastructure, such as giant wind and solar farms, pipelines, transmission grids and desalination plants in potential producing countries in the global South, risks fueling conflicts over land and freshwater with negative consequences for ecosystems and frontline communities. Moreover, as the hydrogen economy is largely driven by actors in the global North, there are concerns that green hydrogen may lead to deepened South-North dependencies and a ‘greening’ of extractivism rather than to a just decarbonization and equitable trade relations. In light of these uncertainties, this online conference asks how to create socially just and ecologically sound hydrogen production chains. To this end, it brings together academics, policy makers, activists and business representatives from Europe, Africa and Latin America. 

Organizing Committee 

Alexandra Tost (Research Institute for Sustainability, Potsdam), Aliaksei Patonia (The Oxford Institute for Energy Studies), Benno Fladvad (University of Hamburg), Franziska Müller (University of Hamburg), Rainer Quitzow (Research Institute for Sustainability, Potsdam)


•    Quentin Blommaert, Head, Hydrogen Diplomacy Office Riyadh
•    Marie Dejonghe, Research Associate, University of Ghent
•    Cristina Dorador, Department of Biotechnology, University of Antofagasta & Member of the Green Hydrogen Action Plan Strategic Committee, Chile
•    Laima Eicke, Research Associate, RIFS Potsdam, Germany
•    Daniel Frank, Senior Advisor for Water Management and Coordinator of the GreeN-H2 Namibia project at DECHEMA, Germany
•    Innocent Haingura, Frack Free Namibia
•    Nuria Hartmann, Consultant, Hinicio’s Business Unit Chile
•    Joe Kendrick, Analyst, Blue Green Alliance, USA
•    Tobias Kalt, Researcher, H2 Politics, Universität Hamburg
•    Michèle Knodt, Professor of Political Science; ARIADNE research cluster, TU Darmstadt
•    Romain Mauger, Head of Legal Research Unit at the Iberian Centre for Research in Energy Storage (CIIAE), Spain
•    Mahandrea Rooplall, Industrial Development Corporation & Secretariat of the Green Hydrogen Panel, South Africa
•    Rainer Schröer, Energy Transition Expert and Director of SAC (Solar Ammonia Chile)
•    Benjamin Schütze, Emmy Noether Junior Research Group 'Renewable Energies, Renewed Authoritarianisms?', Uni Freiburg
•    Vandre Spellmeier, Head of the German-Angolan Hydrogen Office - H2 Diplo 
•    Neelke Wagner, Powershift, Climate and Resource Justice Expert, Powershift 

The conference was recorded and uploaded to the RIFS YouTube channel.

More information: Agenda

H2 conference

Green hydrogen: Introduction by Benno Fladvad, Franziska Müller & Aliaksei Patonia

Green Hydrogen Panel 1: Green hydrogen, just transitions and North-South relationships

Green Hydrogen Panel 2: Hydrogen Governance and Democracy

Green Hydrogen Panel 3: Hydrogen for the decarbonization of industry

Green Hydrogen Panel 4: Green hydrogen and water justice

Green Hydrogen: Wrap up and outlook by Alexandra Tost and Rainer Quitzow, RIFS Potsdam