The Cambridge Center for Alternative Finance (CCAF) recently published a report, which discloses that 0.10% of the global greenhouse emissions are due to bitcoin mining.
This is approximately 48.35 million tons of carbon dioxide a year. The report further discloses that the environmental footprint of bitcoin mining is more complex and nuanced due to which independent data is needed.
Environmental impact of Bitcoin
The report published on Tuesday by the CCAF was aimed at assessing the environmental impact of bitcoin closely and project lead Alex Neumueller penned it down.
The report highlighted how the increasing popularity of bitcoin had shined a spotlight on the environmental impacts associated with bitcoin mining.
According to the CCAF study, the contribution of bitcoin mining to global greenhouse emissions stands at 0.10%, which makes it about 14.1% lower than the GHG emissions estimated last year.
Moreover, the research from Neumueller also disclosed that 37.6% of the energy that is used by bitcoin miners is generated through sustainable energy types.
The best estimate of the CCAF about the 0.10% global greenhouse emissions generated by bitcoin mining is the same amount of energy that the Central African Republic, or Nepal use.
Lower emissions this year
The amount of carbon dioxide that is generated by gold mining each year is approximately 100.4 million tons and touch less than half of it is generated via bitcoin mining.
Neumueller states that the GHG emissions in this year were less than the previous year because mining profitability has recorded a substantial decline.
CCAF also noted that this decline may also have occurred with miners opting for more efficient next-generation mining machines as opposed to less efficient rigs.
Neumueller stated that anecdotal evidence from Bitcoin miners had helped confirm the assumption that CCAF had made.
Not only did bitcoin miners become more efficient by opting for newer hardware to replace the older, CCAF said that the electricity mix of the crypto asset had become more diverse after a decline in China’s hashrate.
CCAF and Neumueller also elaborated that the data shows a decline in the use of sustainable energy in recent times.
Beginning from the previous year, data showed that there was less volatility in the electricity mix fluctuations.
But, Nuemueller said that since they only had access to January data, for now, it was not possible to comment on the change in emission intensity from 2021.
The summary of the CCAF report was that the bitcoin mining space is an ever-changing one and this means that tools and research need to be adjusted.
Researchers can look at the situation with granularity when they have real-world data available. The project lead ended the study by saying that bitcoin mining was already seeing new developments and concepts emerge.
Some of them include demand response applications, waste heat recovery and mitigation of flare gas. The report concluded that only time will determine if these ideas are actually useful, or turn out to be ineffective.