Greenpeace USA took the opportunity to beat Bitcoin as ConsenSys, Aave, Microsoft, Polygon and other startups announced the Ethereum Climate Platform (ECP) at COP27 in Egypt.
“Bitcoin falls even further behind as others in the crypto industry work to address the climate crisis,” Greenpeace said in a statement, adding:
“Instead of taking the initiative to curb energy consumption by changing the code, most major players in the bitcoin space refuse to even acknowledge the problem.
While other crypto technologies are making changes to become more efficient and developing approaches to address historic climate pollution, Bitcoin mining has gotten dirtier in recent years with coal as the main power source.”
They provide no source or analysis for the claim that coal is the main power source for bitcoin mining, of course this is a very biased organization but in this case where the crypto space is taking the initiative Greenpeace can’t count abstain praise the one, blame the other.
“The Ethereum Climate Platform (ECP) is another example of crypto platforms taking the initiative to mitigate the climate crisis,” Greenpeace said, “thus pushing Bitcoin further behind as the world grapples with the climate crisis.”
ConsenSys, Aave, Microsoft and others announced that they will “invest in ongoing science-based climate projects that promise to mitigate Ethereum’s emissions beyond past emissions by leveraging native Web3 technologies, infrastructure, funding mechanisms and governance protocols “.
Ethereum no longer consumes any additional energy after its upgrade to Full Proof of Stake in September this year, but for the previous seven years it has been based on Proof of Work, with this consortium now attempting to offset the carbon emitted at the time.
“Funding quality green projects is critical in the fight against human-caused climate change,” said Bill Kentrup, co-founder of Allinfra, one of the participants, before adding:
“In the past, the process of allocating capital to the right projects and assessing their real impact has lacked transparency, efficiency and timeliness.
We welcome the opportunity to design and launch a better Web3-enabled climate finance platform, and we acknowledge the excellent guidance and guidance from the UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub over the past few months in designing this novel approach.
We look forward to the opportunity for the platform to continue collaborating in partnership with strategic leaders in the climate and Web3 space for the years to come.”
So they’re going to invest in green startups and they call that offsetting while taking the opportunity to bash bitcoin a bit because why not.
However, what role crypto can play in these startups is not all that clear given numerous experiments since 2017 that are still in development.
Some of the more interesting projects of this type revolved around a local solar panel based grid that crypto was connected to as a medium of exchange for energy being sent to or actually being taken from the grid.
There were also ambitions to connect the solar panels to the batteries of electric cars and connect to the grid through those batteries.
You could do this via some sort of centralized database where you log into using bank accounts, but you could also use tokenization to bootstrap to start adoption.
With Bitcoin, the focus is more on energy science. The highly competitive nature of bitcoin computing means that energy prices can provide a huge competitive advantage and thus drive the construction of more efficient renewable energy projects, including solar farms.
However, coal may be used in poor countries, but the focus for now arguably needs to be to increase production capacity while encouraging or even mandating demand for renewable energy such as solar, wind and even hydrogen, particularly for public spaces such as parking lots as in France.
This is because bitcoin will not and arguably cannot change its proof-of-work mechanism, as the network should have some means of accessing it directly from computers without having to obtain the bitcoin from someone else.
The scapegoating rhetoric could therefore put people off and make this issue appear politicized, although it would probably be far more effective to take an industry-neutral approach that focuses more on each and every industry that is making the switch to renewable energy.
For Europe in particular, this is now also a national security issue, and therefore, instead of just giving money to poorer countries like Egypt, Europe should set up an investment and construction plan to become completely energy independent on the basis of renewable sources, possibly even within five years to become years.
It can be done with a hands-on deck attitude and the market would most likely be happy to contribute or fund it through debt or otherwise as it can also be a very profitable venture.
It is therefore no surprise that Ethereum and startup investments are at the forefront of this as this space thrives on innovation and would of course very much like to pair with innovations in the renewable energy industry.
Bitcoin also has room for this as the climate change debate reaches a general consensus as the hard work of building it all must now start at full speed.