Blockchain Is Paving the Way Towards Reduced Carbon Emissions

Debate continues to rage about the best practices and strategies needed to collectively curb carbon emissions. Blockchain tech can help.

As cryptocurrencies grow in popularity, so does the debate about their energy usage.

Research has purported energy consumption habits by miners could be leading to carbon emission levels that could be interfering with national climate change mitigation obligations.

Others figures like Stanford’s Jonathan Koomey note that there is not enough research and data available to be certain about the amount of power mining eats up.

Despite the debate about energy consumption and emissions, many see blockchain as a way to open up traditionally centralized carbon markets to a wider variety of players — eventually accelerating the shift towards a low carbon worldwide economy.

Carbon emissions

Fighting Pollution With Blockchain

A bulk of today’s work related to climate change and carbon output focuses on crafting legislative agreements and compliance mechanisms to slash emissions and lend support to sustainability and efficiency projects.

The United Nations announced the Climate Change Coalition (CCC) in January, which is designed to study and research how blockchain can help combat climate change.

Members in the CCC will look into distributed ledger technologies and carry out pilot projects to test out use cases.

Otherwise, a large amount of debate and discussion inside of the UN has revolved around the Paris Agreement, which has come under heavy criticism in recent months.

Some startups, like the Blockchain for Climate Foundation (BFC) in Canada, are looking to use blockchain to build a tool that could achieve one of the big objectives spelled out in the agreement.

Article 6.2 proposes the idea of a unit carbon impact transfer value, referred to as Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (IMTOs). The eventual outcome would the crafting of a system that links every nation’s carbon accounts together.

BFC founder Joseph Pallant says his team’s goal is to, “support and accelerate this goal,” by using Ethereum to track IMTOs via smart contracts.

He says there would be enough data inside of each token so everyone is clear about the “provenance and eligibility of each tonne of emissions reduction.” BFC has also come up with a draft for “Unique Fungible Tokens” which allow the authenticity of carbon credits to be validated.

Natural gas plant

Moving To A Low Carbon Economy

A handful of companies, like Veridium, have been exploring the idea of tokenizing carbon offset credits. The firm teamed up with IBM to carry out this effort with the Stellar blockchain.

Buying traditional carbon credits is often a lengthy process, but Veridium Foundation executive director Jim Procanik thinks blockchain is the “perfect background” towards a more liquid marketplace.

Another company called Poseidon is also using Stellar to lower entry barriers into the carbon credit market.

Poseidon recently teamed up with Ben & Jerry’s to cut carbon credits into microtransactions, so ice cream connoisseurs in London can offset their carbon emissions in real time. The project has reportedly protected more than 4,000 trees so far.

What do you think blockchain’s role in combating climate change ought to be? Let us know in the comments below!

Images courtesy of BitcoinLinux archives, Shutterstock.

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