Bitcoin’s Big Climate Footprint

Bitcoin mining operation in Iceland Photo: Marco Krohn Wiki CC

CNBC Anchor Andrew Ross Sorkin, who also writes for the NY Times, was out yesterday with a thought-provoking piece about the huge amount of carbon emitted due to energy-intensive Bitcoin “mining.”  Studies show that Bitcoin’s business has a bigger carbon footprint than countries like, say, Argentina or New Zealand.  That’s not chump change when it comes to climate change.  As businesses try to show that they care about decreasing their footprints or are required to disclose them, will they spurn cryptocurrencies because they use too much energy?  Seems unlikely– they’re only becoming more popular.   So what can we do?

Well first, we can hold them accountable, and that has already begun.  Jack Dorsey of Twitter and now Square fame said in a statement, “We believe that cryptocurrency will eventually be powered completely by clean power, eliminating its carbon footprint and driving adoption of renewables globally,” which is good since his company pledged to be net-zero on carbon emissions by 2030. Bitcoin users are also looking at ways to “batch” transactions users on something called a Lightning Network, that would use less power to process transactions.  Ironically, the big banks may be the most interested in pushing Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies to be greener as a way to drop a dime on its competition.

Read the whole piece here — it’s worth your time.

Up Next

Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Clean Up 3.2 Million Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells

Lawmaker Introduces Bill To Clean Up 3.2 Million Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells

by Amy Lupica, ODP Staff Writer Last Thursday, Congresswoman Teresa Leger Fernández (D-NM) introduced the Orphaned Wells Cleanup and Jobs Act of 2021 which would authorize nearly $8 billion in grant funding for abandoned oil and gas well cleanup projects across the nation.  Methane emissions from abandoned wells threaten to derail President Biden’s climate goals, but dozens of […]

Continue Reading 550 words
It’s Time for Climate Action to Sell Out

It’s Time for Climate Action to Sell Out


By Josh Freed, Senior Vice President for the Climate and Energy Program, Third Way   For years, climate news has offered one of the best doomscrolling fixes, up there with the pandemic and Donald Trump’s assault on democracy. But we’ve finally entered an era when the good news on climate is starting to outweigh the […]

Continue Reading 831 words
Kerry Engages with UAE, India, and China As Climate Summit Nears

Kerry Engages with UAE, India, and China As Climate Summit Nears

Special Presidential Envoy on Climate (or “SPEC”) Kerry is engaging with key nations this week in the run-up to the Global Summit in two weeksIn India yesterday he met with Prime Minister Narenda Modi, who reaffirmed his government’s commitment to its Paris pledges, including increasing its non-fossil fuel power capacity to 40% and substantially boosting forest cover to reduce CO2. Kerry visits Bangladesh today.

Why This Matters:  Kerry is using these visits to try to elicit elevated commitments from other major emitters — China and India.

Continue Reading 420 words

Want the planet in your inbox?

Subscribe to the email that top lawmakers, renowned scientists, and thousands of concerned citizens turn to each morning for the latest environmental news and analysis.