Crypto mining signals threat to US climate goals, OSTC says

The US Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTC) has decried the rising implications of crypto mining on the country’s climate goals.

In a special report, the office maintained that mining cryptocurrencies cause GHG emissions and more pollution, thereby impeding their efforts to “achieve a net-zero carbon pollution.”

According to the report, about 0.2% to 0.3% of global greenhouse gas emissions and 0.4% to 0.8% of domestic emissions come from the implications of crypto mining.

Occasioned by increasing crypto mining operations, it added that there are about 110 to 170 million recorded metric tons of carbon pollution across the globe, with the US recording about 25 to 50 million of the total metric tons.

In addressing the menace, the office highlighted numerous recommendations.

As reported, it admonishes federal agencies to commence collecting and analyzing necessary information from miners of cryptocurrencies in a “privacy-preserving manner.” This could help facilitate “evidence-based decisions on the energy and climate implications of crypto-assets.”

It also advised the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the Department of 

Energy (DOE) and other federal agencies to constantly avail technical support and collaboration with concerned “states, communities, the crypto-asset industry, and others.” As reported, this will help formulate productively and “evidence-based environmental performance standards” for immediate implementation in the crypto space.

Implications of crypto mining operations putting governments on red alert

Over time, cryptocurrency mining has been a debatable topic in the United States and the world due to its implications on the climate.

Government officials, organizations, and bodies are growing skeptical about mining activities. Therefore, causing some governments to place a ban on cryptocurrency mining. However, Joe Biden has taken a general cautionary approach to cryptocurrency.

As part of President Biden’s careful approach toward cryptocurrency, he signed an executive order on March 9, 2022.

With the executive order, Joe Biden intended to “Ensure responsible development of digital assets.” While ensuring that the digital assets sector strives, Joe Biden also wants to address some of its implications on climate change.

He is ensuring that the industry’s progress doesn’t come to the detriment of the United States’ climate change objectives.

The President charged the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) and its other counterparts to carry out some research.

Biden tasked them to examine the correlation between distributed ledger technologies (DLT) and energy transitions. Their responsibilities also included checking the potential of the technology under view to hinder or enhance efforts to challenge climate change both locally and internationally. 

Their findings unraveled how cryptocurrency electricity usage kept growing between 2018 and 2022. In four years, cryptocurrency activity power consumption increased massively from double to quadruple.

The report described how global cryptocurrency activities used about 120 – 240 billion kilowatt-hours yearly. The figure reflects an alarming rate of power consumption by cryptocurrency activities. This report has put climate change-oriented communities on red alert.

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