The European Union has long presented itself as the leader in combating the unsustainable prac-tices that have also spurred the COVID-19 pandemic. The European Green Deal is a further step in this direction by supporting the decarbonisation of the bloc’s energy system. Renewables and electrification are half of this story,but many have identified hydrogen as the missing link in the en-ergy transition.A renewable-based –potentially decentralised –hydrogen society offers the fundamental reconfig-uration of energy producer-consumer relations. This is poised to have wide-ranging geopolitical implications as it severs fossil fuel-based capitalist relations between governments, fossil fuel en-terprises, and consumers. There is another side to this same coin: hydrogen produced from fossil fuels, offering the continuance of the status quo. It is readily scalable and maintains the fossil fuel-based relations of production and trade within the EU and between the EU and third parties, avert-ing radical transformation.Which form of hydrogen the EU adapts on a wide scale is not only a question of power in terms of availability and scalability since neither path is feasible yet, but they already manifest the deep asymmetries of power in shaping knowledge production as well as policy formulation and imple-mentation. Moreover, the geopolitical risk is rooted much deeper in the structural tendencies of fossil fuel-based capitalism. The EU has to identify these deeply entrenched power relations and empower its populace to adapt small-scale and decentralised hydrogen circuits (where necessary) in contribution to a more profound socio-ecological transformation.
Paper: How to dismantle a gas bridge?
Event page: 26th Annual Conference on Alternative Economic Policy in Europe