Bitcoin mining could alone produce enough CO2 emissions to push warming above 2 °C within less than three decades, according to a research carried out by scientists at the University of Hawaii. Last year, 69 million tons of carbon, which is 1% of the total, were emitted into the air, due to the bitcoin mining.
To predict the impact of mining on the environment, researchers examined the level of acceptance of other innovations in the United States, such as credit cards and dishwashers. It turned out that if the level of acceptance of Bitcoin will coincide with the indicators of these technologies, then the temperature on Earth will increase by 2 ° C within 16 – 22 years.
Scientists estimate that a temperature rise of more than 1.5 ° C threatens to have irreversible consequences for the climate. The widespread use of renewable electricity sources would neutralize the negative impact of mining on climate, the authors of the study believe.
“Bitcoin energy consumption and carbon footprint largely depend on mining revenues. If revenues don’t increase, electricity consumption will not grow,” economist Alex de Vries suggested.
Cryptocurrency experts have already criticized the study, saying that it relies on “naive assumptions.” They also doubt that the level of Bitcoin acceptance is comparable with other consumer technologies, such as the Internet, television, radio, and so on.