Bitcoin mining in China is so carbon-intensive that it threatens the national goal of reducing environmental emissions, a new study supposes.

China plans to achieve zero CO2 emissions by 2060. But the presence of large mining enterprises in China may hinder the achievement of this goal. Scientists from the University of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Tsinghua University, Cornell University and the University of Surrey published an article suggesting that the carbon footprint of bitcoin mining is equal to one of the ten largest cities in China. According to the researchers, China accounts for over 75% of the world's bitcoin mining.

"Without appropriate interventions and feasible policies, the intensive bitcoin blockchain operation in China can quickly grow as a threat that could potentially undermine the emission reduction effort taken place in the country," the article said.

The article was published in the journal Nature Communications. China is popular with miners for its cheap hydroelectric power.

China is currently the largest emitter of emissions, using more coal than the rest of the world as a whole. The Chinese authorities expect the country to peak in emissions by 2030.

In September 2020, President of the People's Republic of China Xi Jinping, speaking at the UN General Assembly, declared the need to "carry out a green revolution and work more actively to create an ecological path of development and life, preserve the environment, in order to make Mother Earth a better place for all." He stressed that China intends to "peak CO2 emissions by 2030 and carbon neutral by 2060".