China’s Bitcoin Mining Industry Could Derail Climate Targets: Researchers


As China’s bitcoin mining industry grows bigger, some researchers believe the electricity-gulping bitcoin mining may prevent China from achieving its climate goals.

This was made known in a recent study published in the Journal Nature by the researchers. 

Increasing Concerns Over Climate Security

The study reveals that China powers approximately 80% of the world trade in cryptocurrency.

Given the fact that Bitcoin operates on the blockchain, every transaction is encrypted by a network operated by miners, which use high electricity consumption in the process.

The miners use high-powered computers to validate transactions, which consumes huge electricity and may have implications on climate security.

However, the Journal Nature report shows that 40% of China’s Bitcoin is powered by coal. This is where the problem starts. 

Researchers believe that since most of these big coal plants emit carbon, they may have adverse effects on the climate’s health.

While China projects to overcome carbon emissions before 2030 and become carbon neutral by 2060, the researchers warned that the lofty objective might be impossible with rising Bitcoin mining activity.

Also, Nature Study projected that China’s Bitcoin mines might accumulate approximately 130.5m metric tons of carbon emission by 2024.

The study gathers that the availability of affordable electricity in China and access to hardware-enabled companies in China controls about 78.89% of the global bitcoin blockchain.

The activities of these companies involve mining coins, tracking and monitoring cryptocurrency transactions.

However, the co-author of the piece, Wang Shouyang, warned that continued Bitcoin mining activities could have grave consequences on the climate if left unchecked.

Way forward On China’s Crypto Mining Industry

Experts have recommended some alternative paths that the Chinese government could take in managing cryptocurrency mining and preserving its climate security policy.

In this regard, Shouyang advised the government to concentrate on upgrading the power grid to create a stable power supply from renewable energy sources.

He explained that renewable energy sources provide cleaner energy and are also cost-effective, adding that this will even motivate the miners to relocate from coal-powered regions to clean-energy regions.

According to a Cambridge University’s Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, it is envisaged that the crypto-mining industry will consume 0.06% of the globe’s electricity production.

However, experts enjoined the Chinese government not to raise carbon taxes as a form of deterrence. Instead, they should work in providing alternative solutions.

China imposed a blanket ban on cryptocurrency in 2019 but has allowed the cryptocurrency mining industry to continue.

China’s coal-rich regions are imposing stiffer measures on Bitcoin miners, given their policy in curbing emissions. For example, In April, the provincial government of Inner Mongolia has rolled out plans to outlaw cryptocurrency mining before the end of April.

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