In this paper, hydrogen is considered as a renewable and sustainable solution for reducing global fossil fuel consumption and combating global warming and studied exergetically through a parametric performance analysis. The environmental impact results are then compared with the ones obtained for fossil fuels. In this regard, some exergetic expressions are derived depending primarily upon the exergetic utilization ratios of fossil fuels and hydrogen: the fossil fuel based global waste exergy factor, hydrogen based global exergetic efficiency, fossil fuel based global irreversibility coefficient and hydrogen based global exergetic indicator. These relations incorporate predicted exergetic utilization ratios for hydrogen energy from non-fossil fuel resources such as water, etc., and are used to investigate whether or not exergetic utilization of hydrogen can significantly reduce the fossil fuel based global irreversibility coefficient (ranging from 1 to +infinity) indicating the fossil fuel consumption and contribute to increase the hydrogen based global exergetic indicator (ranging from 0 to 1) indicating the hydrogen utilization at a certain ratio of fossil fuel utilization. In order to verify all these exergetic expressions, the actual fossil fuel consumption and production data are taken from the literature. Due to the unavailability of appropriate hydrogen data for analysis, it is assumed that the utilization ratios of hydrogen are ranged between 0 and 1. For the verification of these parameters, the variations of fossil fuel based global irreversibility coefficient and hydrogen based global exergetic indicator as the functions of fossil fuel based global waste exergy factor, hydrogen based global exergetic efficiency and exergetic utilization of hydrogen from non-fossil fuels are analyzed and discussed in detail. Consequently, if exergetic utilization ratio of hydrogen from non-fossil fuel sources at a certain exergetic utilization ratio of fossil fuels increases, the fossil fuel based global irreversibility coefficient will decrease and the hydrogen based global exergetic indicator will increase. (C) 2008 International Association for Hydrogen Energy. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.