Bitcoin industry’s carbon footprint is close to the annual emissions of 6 million cars, according to a calculator from the Environmental Protection Agency
The report from environmental groups, co-authored by law non-profit Earthjustice, estimated that Bitcoin carbon footprint was 27.4 million tonnes from mid-2021 through 2022. The amount is three times more than that of the largest U.S. coal plant or about annual emissions of 6 million cars, according to a calculator from the Environmental Protection Agency.
Whereas only 3.5% of global bitcoin mining was located in the U.S. in 2020, after China’s mining ban, it is approaching 38%. Therefore, environmental groups urged U.S. states to ponder bans on new mining operations.
Environmental groups say the industry’s environmental records, energy usage and long-term impact on communities have been out of scrutiny. The data for the report was compiled from public documents, utility records, regulatory filings and financial disclosures, as well as press reports and testimony from activists across the United States.
At the same time, Bitcoin industry groups claim the cryptocurrency sector is greener than heavy industries and uses a relatively small amount of electricity. According to the White House report, it is between 0.09% and 1.7% of total U.S. power. Moreover, the Bitcoin Mining Council has released data showing that more than half the power used by its miners comes from renewable sources.
For instance, in Texas, some miners have signed deals with renewable energy providers for flexible usage to smooth demand. On the other hand, in Kentucky, bitcoin mining has moved to bad or dirty energy projects. Moreover, there are a lot of greenwashing tactics when miners largely rely on carbon credits or renewable energy “offsets”.