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Bitcoin mining likely to hit China green goals, climate impact likely heavy

India Today Tech     April 7, 2021

A group of researchers have warned China about the excess Bitcoin mining performed in the country. The researchers have claimed that the carbon emission from mining will impact the climate heavily and undermine the country's global sustainability efforts.

In a research journal published on Nature Communications, researchers unearthed that China conducts the majority of the mining process. This has also increased electricity consumption. The researchers have predicted that the annual energy consumption of bitcoin will give rise to 130.5 million metric tons of carbon emissions in the next three years.

"By investigating carbon emission flows of bitcoin blockchain operation in China with a simulation-based bitcoin blockchain carbon emission model, we find that without any policy interventions, the annual energy consumption of the bitcoin blockchain in China is expected to peak in 2024 at 296.59 Twh and generate 130.5 million metric tons of carbon emission correspondingly," researchers from Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences said.

The report states that the total energy consumption from Bitcoin mining in China in 2024 would exceed the total energy consumption of countries such as Italy and Saudi Arabia. Whereas the carbon greenhouse emissions would surpass the annual greenhouse gas emissions outputs of countries like the Netherlands, Spain, and the Czech Republic.

"In the BM scenario, the annual energy consumption of Bitcoin blockchain in China will gradually grow and eventually peak in 2024, at 296.59Twh per year. This suggests that the Bitcoin industry operation would follow an energy-intensive pattern. In fact, energy consumed by the Chinese Bitcoin blockchain in 2024 will exceed the energy consumption level of Italy and Saudi Arabia in 2016, ranking it 12th among all the countries. Regarding the carbon tax scenario, the highest energy demand of the Bitcoin industry slightly decreases due to carbon emission penalties, at 217.37Twh," the research paper read.

The researchers have claimed in the report that without feasible options, extensive bitcoin mining in China will rapidly grow as a threat that would eventually "undermine the emission reduction effort taking place in the country."

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