Bitcoin Mining Operations in China Threaten Climate Goals



The energy consumption and carbon emission from Bitcoin mining will undercut China’s climate efforts without more stringent regulations and policy changes, according to a study published in Nature Communications this week.

The energy consumption from Bitcoin mining in China — the country that accounts for more than 75% of Bitcoin blockchain operations globally as of April 2020 — is projected to peak in 2024 at around 297 terawatt-hours, generating 130 million metric tons of carbon emissions, according to the study from researchers at University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Cornell University, Tsinghua University and University of Surrey.

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China’s energy consumption from Bitcoin mining in 2024 will exceed the total energy consumption level of countries like Italy and Saudi Arabia, the study said, and the carbon emissions will exceed the annual greenhouse gas emissions outputs of countries including the Netherlands, Spain and Czech Republic.

Bitcoin transactions are processed by miners — crypto slang for companies that operate a vast array of computers. Miners compete to confirm transactions and get new coins awarded in return, but they require huge amounts of energy to run.


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