New Research: Bitcoin’s Carbon Footprint Lower Than Previously Thought
Marie Huillet's original article for cointelegraph.com reduced by 74%
Fresh research has challenged the perception that Bitcoin mining is irreconcilable with tackling climate change. In their study, Susanne Ko?hler and Massimo Pizzol at Aalborg University in Denmark have criticized the assumptions underlying earlier claims that Bitcoin's energy consumption may be as high as 63 megatonnes of CO2 annually, the New Scientist notes. Such estimates rest on the assumption that carbon emissions from electricity generation are uniform across China - a country that continues to command a major share of global Bitcoin mining.
Breaking down the mining landscape in China to account for regional differences presents a different picture, resulting in a significantly lower estimated global footprint for Bitcoin of 17.29 megatonnes of CO2 in 2018. These disparities are reflected in the fact that coal-reliant Inner Mongolia accounts for 12.3% of Bitcoin mining, which translates into an out-sized 25% share of total emissions. "On the one hand, we have these alarmist voices saying we won't hit the Paris agreement because of bitcoin only.
But on the other hand, there are a lot of voices from the Bitcoin community saying that most of the mining is done with green energy and that it's not high impact." As previously reported, other energy specialists have hit similarly back at the perception that high energy consumption is Bitcoin's "Achilles Heel," arguing in favor of shifting the debate away from energy consumption and towards where that energy is produced and how it is generated.
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