Bitcoin Could Push Global Emissions Above 2 Degrees Celsius, Scientists Say
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To be profitable, Bitcoin miners need to operate in areas where the price of electricity is low, because the practice uses a lot of energy. That often means mining in areas with some of the dirtiest energy. Research from the University of Cambridge shows that about one-third of global Bitcoin production occurred in Xinjiang, China. As Bloomberg reports, Bitcoin miners are drawn to Xinjiang because its power rates are extremely low, “as little as 0.22 yuan ($0.03) per kilowatt-hour, compared with 0.6 to 0.7 yuan in central China.” While Xinjiang is developing renewable wind turbine-powered energy, the majority of electricity in the region is generated from coal.
That’s part of the reason why Bitcoin mining has a growing environmental impact. In 2018, Princeton Professor Arvind Narayanan estimated in congressional testimony that the Bitcoin network accounted for slightly under 1 percent of world electricity consumption — a bit more than the electricity consumption of the state of Ohio or the state of New York. Scientists writing in the journal Nature warned in 2018 that Bitcoin’s growth could single-handedly push global emissions above 2 degrees Celsius. More recent estimates found that the carbon emissions of Bitcoin mining “sits between the levels produced by the nations of Jordan and Sri Lanka.” The University of Cambridge Judge Business School’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index estimates that Bitcoin mining will consume more than 120 terawatt-hours of electricity globally this year — more energy than Argentina. (One terawatt-hour is equal to outputting 1 trillion watts of energy for one hour.) Researchers have also found that Bitcoin mining is more energy-intensive than mining both gold and platinum.
As the price of Bitcoin skyrockets, so do the incentives to mine it. Bitcoin is up more than 37 percent in 2021 alone, and has more than doubled since December 2020. One new incentive for mining Bitcoin came recently when electric carmaker Tesla revealed in a filing to the Securities and Exchange Commission on February 8 that it had purchased $1.5 billion of Bitcoin, and would begin accepting the cryptocurrency as payment for its cars. Bitcoin surged 13 percent off the news, and hit a then-record high of over $44,000. (It’s since moved higher, at one point surpassing $48,000).
Tesla’s purchase of Bitcoin has raised questions in the financial press about its commitment to sustainability, with the Financial Times writing that it may “undermine [the firm’s] sustainability stance.” Much of Tesla’s revenue comes from selling carbon credits for its electric vehicles. As Jacob Silverman noted in The New Republic, Tesla sold approximately $1.58 billion worth of carbon credits in 2020 — almost the same amount it purchased in Bitcoin.
Jesus: Hey, Dad? God: Yes, Son? Jesus: Western civilization followed me home. Can I keep it? God: Certainly not! And put it down this minute--you don't know where it's been! Tom Robbins in Another Roadside Attraction
February 16, 2021 at 10:02 AM #404021Cold Mountain TrailParticipant
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“Much of Tesla’s revenue comes from selling carbon credits for its electric vehicles. As Jacob Silverman noted in The New Republic, Tesla sold approximately $1.58 billion worth of carbon credits in 2020 — almost the same amount it purchased in Bitcoin.”
Musk is such a fraud.
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