May 19, 2022

According to Fortune report released Tuesday, Bitcoin’s “notorious carbon footprint” would inexorably grow if its price continues to rise, as many proponents anticipate. Bitcoin miners now generate the same amount of carbon dioxide as “the nation of Greece will spew multiple times more, matching the emissions of far larger industrial nations.”

If Bitcoin bulls are correct and the coin achieves a price of $500,000, mining it will have severe environmental effects.

Several efforts are being made to make Bitcoin more environmentally friendly, possibly prompted by Tesla’s decision to withdraw support for the coin over environmental concerns.

Nonetheless, the report states that “unless Bitcoin goes green in the biggest of big ways, its built-in economics guarantees that as its price soars, the tonnage of carbon dioxide it gushes will rocket, too.”

If Bitcoin’s price were to rise by $100,000 by Christmas 2024, the year when production will be halved to combat inflation, the mining industry’s size would grow by approximately 8% and emit approximately 8% more carbon dioxide than it does today.

If it reaches $500,000 by 2024, or even a few years later, the enterprise will rise from $16 billion to $86 billion. Such expansion would require miners to spend a total of $52 billion on electricity over the next three to five years, at an anticipated average cost of $40 per megawatt-hour.

As a result, the Bitcoin mining sector would consume 1.3 billion megawatts of electricity each year, and the network would produce 475 grams of carbon dioxide for each megawatt deployed. If this is true, Bitcoin at $500,000 will emit 617 million metric tons of carbon dioxide each year.

The foreseeable result is a monstrous carbon footprint. It would be 56 percent greater than Australia’s, 40% larger than Brazil’s, 40% larger than South Africa’s, and 33% larger than Mexico’s. The Bitcoin network would release 70% more carbon dioxide than the United Kingdom and close to Germany’s 696 million tons.