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Policy assessments for the carbon emission flows and sustainability of Bitcoin blockchain operation in China

Jiang, S; Li, Y; Lu, Q; Hong, Y; Guan, D; Xiong, Y; Wang, S; (2021) Policy assessments for the carbon emission flows and sustainability of Bitcoin blockchain operation in China. Nature Communications , 12 , Article 1938. 10.1038/s41467-021-22256-3. Green open access

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Abstract

The growing energy consumption and associated carbon emission of Bitcoin mining could potentially undermine global sustainable efforts. By investigating carbon emission flows of Bitcoin blockchain operation in China with a simulation-based Bitcoin blockchain carbon emission model, we find that without any policy interventions, the annual energy consumption of the Bitcoin blockchain in China is expected to peak in 2024 at 296.59 Twh and generate 130.50 million metric tons of carbon emission correspondingly. Internationally, this emission output would exceed the total annualized greenhouse gas emission output of the Czech Republic and Qatar. Domestically, it ranks in the top 10 among 182 cities and 42 industrial sectors in China. In this work, we show that moving away from the current punitive carbon tax policy to a site regulation policy which induces changes in the energy consumption structure of the mining activities is more effective in limiting carbon emission of Bitcoin blockchain operation.

Type: Article
Title: Policy assessments for the carbon emission flows and sustainability of Bitcoin blockchain operation in China
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-021-22256-3
Publisher version: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-22256-3
Language: English
Additional information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article’s Creative Commons license, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article’s Creative Commons license and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this license, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Keywords: Climate-change impacts, Climate-change mitigation, Climate-change policy
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of the Built Environment
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10127326
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