ESG analyst Daniel Batten argues that bitcoin mining could reduce methane emissions by up to 8.5 percent by 2030.
As a greenhouse gas, methane has 80 times more potential to cause climate change than carbon dioxide (CO2) during its first 20 years in the atmosphere, according to research. It accounts for about a fifth of all greenhouse gas emissions.
Convert methane to CO2
Daniel Batten, a renowned environmental, social and governance (ESG) analyst and bitcoin investor, said that bitcoin mining could significantly reduce the amount of methane concentrations in the atmosphere.
Batten argues that removing the equivalent of a ton of methane emissions is more effective than avoiding the same amount of carbon dioxide. His plan is to convert the methane into carbon dioxide and use it to power bitcoin mining.
“You do it by finding escaping methane and cleanly burning it to generate electricity,” Batten border in a long thread on April 29 on Twitter. “By doing so, you get a +80 point for removing methane, but a -1 point penalty for residual carbon dioxide, so it’s still 79 times more effective than removing CO2 from our atmosphere.”
Methane is produced primarily in landfills and in agriculture, particularly during a cow’s digestive processes. Human activities, such as driving cars and oil and gas fields, also cause CH4 emissions. However, once burned, methane breaks down to form gaseous products that do not contribute to global warming.
Bitcoin miners have started experiment with the use of what is called “stranded gas” (natural gas burned and vented from the oil industry) to fuel their mining platforms. Usually this is gas that is wasted or flared. Batten says that miners could add to this energy produced in landfills.
“If Bitcoin miners were used in the world’s oil fields and landfills, they would reduce our global emissions by a whopping 8.5%: 1.5% for oil fields and 7% for landfills,” Batten explained.
Batten adds that the amount of methane in the world has been underestimated, citing NASA data that says the world underestimated methane emissions from oil and gas by 40 percent. Landfill gas has been underquantified by 127%, he says.
BTC power consumption behind the banking industry
Scientists blame the emission of greenhouse gases, such as carbon dioxide, for causing climate change. Now bitcoin mining is trapped in the matrix. Some academics and economists have criticized the process by which new bitcoins are created, often called mining, claiming that it fuels climate change.
They say mining consumes too much electricity generated from fossil fuels such as coal, a major source of carbon emissions. For example, Fairplanet argues that “each bitcoin transaction uses about 2,100 kilowatt hours (kWh), which is about what the average American household consumes in 75 days.”
Much less is said about the use of electricity involving legacy monopolistic financial institutions such as commercial lenders.
In August 2018, Dr. Katrina M. Kelly-Pitou, a researcher in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Pittsburgh, published her article “Stop Worrying About How Much Energy Bitcoin Uses,” which addresses the notion that mining is inherently a waste of energy. and therefore dangerous for the environment.
Regarding the oft-cited estimate that “BTC mining used 30 terawatt hours in 2017,” as much as Ireland, he explained:
“This is a lot, but not exorbitant. Banking consumes an estimated 100 terawatts of energy a year. If bitcoin technology were to mature to more than 100 times its current market size, it would still account for just 2% of all energy consumption.”
Methane ‘doesn’t come out of jail card’ for BTC
Batten, however, also stresses that methane emissions are not a “get out of jail free card” for bitcoin.
“We need to reduce both methane and CO2 together,” he urged. “While methane is more lethal, carbon dioxide is much more prevalent. Therefore, reducing our emissions from each other by 50% is very important.”
Willy Woo, a bitcoin analyst who discusses the nuances of data mining and the environment, said studies that claim crypto mining is bad for the climate need to be reviewed.
“If you think Bitcoin harms the environment, dig deeper. It is the best technology we have to accelerate the adoption of renewable energy”, Woo tweetedciting Batten’s argument.
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