WASHINGTON – The Environmental Working Group at present applauds New York Gov. Kathy Hochul, a Democrat, for signing into regulation a invoice that locations a two-year pause on cryptocurrency mining within the state. It’s the primary state freeze on cryptocurrency mining, which harms the local weather by losing monumental quantities of electrical energy.
The regulation locations a moratorium on new and renewed air permits wanted to function fossil gas energy vegetation that present the electrical energy for a cryptocurrency mining course of often called proof of labor. It additionally requires New York’s Division of Environmental Conservation to review the environmental impacts of cryptocurrency mining.
“Digital currencies that depend upon proof of labor are wasteful by design,” stated Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice chairman for presidency affairs. “The incentives baked into digital belongings like bitcoin demand an increasing number of electrical energy – not much less – at a time when all of us want to make use of electrical energy extra effectively.
“It’s not simply the local weather that’s harmed by the rising electrical energy use by bitcoin mines. Native communities are additionally affected by elevated air and water air pollution when bitcoin mines revive or prolong the lifetime of fossil vitality vegetation.
“Gov. Hochul is correct to make New York the primary state within the nation to pump the brakes on bitcoin and different cryptocurrencies that threaten our local weather and our communities.”
Between 2017 and 2022, annual estimated electrical energy demand from bitcoin mining elevated from 7 terawatt-hours, a measure of electrical energy, to greater than 90 terawatt-hours. In contrast, electrical energy demand by comparable sectors has not elevated – and even declined in some. Information facilities haven’t hiked their electrical energy demand, regardless that web visitors and knowledge heart workloads have ramped up considerably.
Cryptocurrency mining doesn’t must waste electrical energy, since rather more vitality environment friendly processes, like proof of stake, exist as options to proof of labor. Ethereum, second solely to bitcoin in market capitalization, just lately “merged” to undertake proof of stake.
“The just lately accomplished ethereum merge and previous code modifications present that change by the bitcoin group is feasible – similar to the modifications we’ve all made to how we energy our houses and automobiles and the way we develop our meals,” Faber stated. “Each business can cut back its electrical energy use, together with the monetary sector. Including extra electrical energy demand – as proof of labor mining will in the end require – strikes us within the improper course.
“However there isn’t a requirement – below present regulation – that proof of labor mines have to be powered by renewable vitality or be extra vitality environment friendly. We’ll want all of the clear vitality we are able to get to energy our houses, automobiles and companies. We must always not divert clear vitality to an inherently wasteful use of electrical energy.
“We’re at a crossroads. The merge exhibits what’s attainable. The bitcoin group ought to comply with ethereum’s lead. However regulators and legislators shouldn’t stand on the sidelines.”
EWG has joined Greenpeace USA in launching a nationwide marketing campaign to make clear the electrical energy and local weather implications of bitcoin mining and its impact on our local weather targets. Discover out extra right here concerning the marketing campaign, Change the Code, Not the Local weather.
The Environmental Working Group (EWG) is a nonprofit, non-partisan group that empowers individuals to stay more healthy lives in a more healthy surroundings. Via analysis, advocacy and distinctive schooling instruments, EWG drives client alternative and civic motion.