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Boilermakers bring voice to hydrogen summit

Cory Channon explains why the Boilermakers union is committed to stopping climate change, providing a realistic and reliable mix of energy production and preserving jobs.

With hydrogen gaining global interest in the mix of evolving climate change solutions, Boilermakers joined “Renewable Hydrogen: Energy’s Future,” a summit in Bilbao, Spain, in June. Hosted by Spanish union UGT FICA (Federation of Industry, Construction and Agriculture) and Fundacíon Anastasio de Garcia and in collaboration with IndustriALL Global Union, the summit addressed energy and industrial transformation and “just transition.”

International Director of Climate Change Policy Solutions Cory Channon served on a panel to discuss Boilermakers’ position on an “all of the above” energy approach and solutions—including carbon capture, use and storage and hydrogen—that can provide reliable energy and preserve or create jobs.

“Extremists would have everyone believe that fossil fuels are the climate villain,” said Channon. “The villain isn’t fossil fuel—it’s carbon dioxide. We need all energy options: wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, fossil fuels and hydrogen. And we need to deploy all solutions that can stop climate change. It would be irresponsible to do otherwise.”

Channon noted that there can’t be a one-size-fits-all mentality and called for unions and industries to cooperate, collaborate and embrace all recommendations of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and International Energy Agency.

“We have to use existing infrastructure that’s available regionally,” he said. “We can’t cherry pick the solutions that fit neatly into a narrow narrative, and we’re not working together as we should be. While extremists on all sides are busy fighting, we’re wasting time.”

In addition to summit sessions, participants were invited to tour energy company Petronor’s Repsol refinery in Bilbao. The refinery claims the largest hydrogen project in Spain. The project is part of the Basque Hydrogen Corridor, a collaborative effort among Spain, the Basque government, Petronor, Repsol and other affiliates investing together to transition to energy independence, create a hydrogen ecosystem that furthers decarbonization and create good paying, sustainable jobs.