The attempts to reduce carbon dioxide emissions on the global level have hitherto been inefficient, says Edward Dodge. However, if we use the blockchain, everything will change.

In an article posted at The Energy Collective news site, Dodge argues that the measures taken so far by governments while positive did not really work because of political complications and lack of transparency. However, a distributed ledger can serve as a base for a system that would effectively limit the carbon dioxide emissions.

The countries that use fossil fuels should pay a fixed sum for every ton of CO2 they create, says the author. The money will be immobilised as a deposit in escrow and recorded in an altcoin blockchain (he proposes to call the new digital asset carboncoin). The deposit can be claimed by anybody in the world who sequesters a ton of CO2 through either reforestation or industrial means. In this way, governments and companies will not only be incentivised to use less fossil fuels but also to spend money on environmental issues.

Total CO2 emissions in 2014 were 32 billion tons, says the author. If a ton of CO2 emissions would require a $25 deposit, the fund would accumulate $800 billion a year, and the countries would actively start looking for ways of binding CO2 to obtain this money. He believes that developing countries will introduce large reforestation programs. And large industrial countries like the U.S., Russia or China will finally be able to redeem an equal amount of money as they deposit, says the author. Using a distributed ledger instead of a human-based accounting system will make the whole process transparent and avoid fraud and political plotting. 

The new blockchain, says Dodge, will not require “outrageous amounts of electricity and computational overhead” as bitcoins do, because it will be built on a trusted network.

Indeed, many environmentalists are afraid of the bitcoin mining impact. According to the Australian-based think tank Long Future Foundation, if bitcoin price goes up and reaches $1 million, would consume 60% of global electricity supply. “If Bitcoin’s energy consumption isn’t reined in, we’ll end up being crowded out of electricity networks and sitting in the dark,” says Guy Lane, the spokesperson for the NGO. However, bitcoin defenders point to the fact that the existing currency systems may be even more detrimental to the environment, with their need for financial middlemen and printing cash. Some of them even pretend that bitcoin is a way of promoting eco-sustainability and should be adopted by environmentalists and eco-entrepreneurs.


Alexey Tereshchenko