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Bitcoin mining to account for only 0.9% of total CO2 emissions by 2030, says NYDIG study

Energy consumption and carbon emission due to Bitcoin mining activities are not that significant when compared to the global emission and consumption figures.

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Wed, 22 Sep 2021, 12:58 pm UTC

Due to the massive energy requirement for crypto mining, Bitcoin’s carbon footprint has become a major issue for the industry. However, a new study projects that BTC mining activities will represent only 0.9 percent of global carbon emissions by 2030 while highlighting the increasing importance of the crypto.

In a research paper titled “Bitcoin Net Zero,” the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG) found that carbon emissions from BTC mining won’t significantly increase even if the crypto’s price skyrockets. Currently, energy consumption and carbon emission due to Bitcoin mining activities are not that significant when compared to the global emission and consumption figures.

“Bitcoin’s absolute electricity consumption and carbon emissions are not significant in global terms, representing 0.04 percent of global primary energy consumption, 0.2 percent of global electricity generation, and 0.1 percent of global carbon emissions,” NYDIG’s research revealed.

Energy consumption for 2020 is estimated to be around 62 terawatt-hours (TWh). However, the annualized rate rose to 92 TWh in March 2021 but fell to 49 TWh in July due to the Chinese crackdown on crypto mining. The authors of the study estimate that Bitcoin mining produced 33 million tons of carbon dioxide emission last year, which is just 0.1 of total global CO2 emissions.

While critics tend to highlight Bitcoin’s carbon emissions, mining activities produce lower emissions compared to other technologies. “Bitcoin’s absolute carbon emissions are low compared both to other innovations that are energy-intensive, such as aviation transport and air conditioning and to major mined products.”

Energy consumption from Bitcoin mining is expected to rise within the decade along with the crypto’s price. However, carbon emissions will remain low and is estimated to be below 1 percent of the total CO2 emissions globally.

“Bitcoin’s electricity consumption will increase significantly within the next decade if the price of Bitcoin continues to rise,” the researchers wrote. “However, even under our high price scenario, where Bitcoin’s electricity consumption peaks at 11 times the 2020 level, it will only account for 0.4 percent of global primary energy consumption and 2 percent of global electricity generation.”

The study also highlighted the increasing importance of Bitcoin such as its use in countries with hyperinflation. “ High per-capita adoption of Bitcoin is evident in countries with elevated inflation, onerous capital controls, a weak respect for property rights, and poor governance,” NYDIG said. “This demonstrates that individuals in these countries value Bitcoin’s institutional qualities, which compare favorably with their local settings.”

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