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At this point, the effects that Bitcoin mining has had on the environment are rather extensive. There have been several reports on how this activity disrupts locations where it is based, and several countries have made legislation to block its prevalence out of concern for their ecosystems.
— Squire Mining Ltd. (@squiremining) October 10, 2019
However, a new report is indicating that while there is a lot that Bitcoin miners will need to do to achieve environmental stability, its effects on the environment aren’t actually as bad as many people believe.
False information about carbon emissions
According to a study conducted by Susanne Köhler and Massimo Pizzol from Aalborg University in Denmark, several reports that have heavily criticized Bitcoin mining concerning its effects on the environment have made several “blanket assumptions” concerning the activity and its level of carbon emissions. Kohler particularly claimed that none of these previous studies tried to arrive at precise data concerning Bitcoin’s carbon emissions, and this lack of legitimate information has left a wide vacuum in terms of facts and their representation.
The report points out that previous related studies have assumed an equal level of carbon emissions from cryptocurrency mining centers across the world, when this isn’t true. Köhler claims that previous assumptions have pegged the level of carbon emissions from Bitcoin mining at about 63 megatonnes per year, while the actual levels stand at about 17.29 megatonnes per year.
The report focuses on China, a country which, at a point, controlled about 70 percent of the world’s entire hash power and, per the report, is responsible for about 47 percent of the entire carbon emissions from mining. For this country, the report notes that emission levels in China vary based on locations, while the coal-backed Inner Mongolia produces a lot of carbon emissions, the Sichuan region, which is largely hydro-fuelled and has a stockpile of renewable energy, produces fewer emissions.
Still more to be done
As state earlier, the fact that Bitcoin carbon emissions have been largely misrepresented is a great thing, especially as t proves that the “dark side to Bitcoin” argument has a little chink in its armor- at the very least, from a factual perspective.
Bitcoin mining produces nearly 23 metric tons of CO2 per year — the same amount as Las Vegas, with Bitcoin standing between Jordan and Sri Lanka in the emission table, says new study. #Bitcoin #Globalwarminghttps://t.co/Z5dnVXnGpG pic.twitter.com/7NC7bvQjhq
— The Hindu Briefcase (@THBriefcase) June 18, 2019
However, this doesn’t mean that mining is in the clear. Emissions will still need to reduce if the activity can be considered environmentally safe, and while several mining farms have been known to adopt artificial cooling or just move their operations to Eastern Europe and other predominantly col areas, renewable energy is one area where a lot of potential remains untapped.
Apart from that, the social costs of Bitcoin mining have also received more of the spotlight lately. Just yesterday, news medium CityNews
that citizens of Sherbrooke, Quebec, had issued several complaints to the city council concerning Bitfarms, a mining company whose operation in their town has constituted a rather noisy nuisance.