How will blockchain technology help fight climate change? Experts answer

For some time, the global climate crisis was a hot topic to debate. But the discourse has changed and a consensus has been reached, moving the conversation toward how to stop — or at least to lessen — the ongoing issue of climate change. Two pivotal moments in reaching this point were the adoption of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), whose mission is to be a “blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all,” and the Paris Agreement, an international accord adopted by nearly every nation six years ago in 2015.

The discussion around how to fight against the global climate crisis has turned to emerging technologies and their role in the process. Back in 2017, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) highlighted the importance of blockchain technology in helping to combat climate change globally. The secretariat of the UNFCCC detailed some specific use cases:

“In particular, transparency, cost-effectiveness and efficiency advantages, which in turn may lead to greater stakeholder integration and enhanced creation of global public goods are currently viewed as the main potential benefits.”

Decentralized technologies indeed have the potential to help achieve the SDGs by recasting conventional approaches to sustainable development via the benefits of blockchain technology, such as transparency and immutability. As 2020 showed us, many countries around the globe are already turning to emerging technologies in their fight against the climate crisis and in their efforts to lessen carbon-intensive practices. Some examples include Russia, India, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates, countries in Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, and certainly the G7 nations — which include Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States.

Meanwhile, earlier in 2021, concerns about Bitcoin’s (BTC) carbon footprint became a highly discussed topic both within and outside of the crypto community, forcing some major global media outlets to speak up about Bitcoin’s energy consumption and carbon emissions. However, the topic wasn’t a new one, as experts had already been discussing the pros and cons of Bitcoin mining for a while. Bitcoin’s supporters argued that its energy consumption is irrelevant “when compared with global energy production and waste” and that compared with BTC mining, “Processing gold and steel is wasting money, energy and resources.”

It’s best to set aside the problem of who is right and who is wrong in this debate and instead focus on the impact of it. There is a saying that every cloud has a silver lining, and the most important one that came out of this debate is that the crypto industry has accepted that it must prioritize focusing on green technology, offsetting Bitcoin carbon emissions and leveraging renewable energy. 

To find out the impact these technologies can have in the fight against the climate crisis, Cointelegraph reached out to a number of experts in emerging technologies whose goals are directly related to sustainable development and technological innovation. The experts gave their opinions on the following question: How can emerging technologies help achieve the U.N.’s Sustainable Development Goals and lessen the impacts of climate change?

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