Bitcoin predicted to account for 0.9% of global carbon emissions by 2030

  • By 2030, Bitcoin energy expenditure and carbon emissions will be 0.4 percent and 0.9 percent of global figures says Researchers.
  • BTC consumes less electricity than all US refrigerators combined, but its annual consumption exceeds the whole Philippines nation.

The energy utilized in mining Bitcoin (BTC) will remain below 0.5 percent of the world’s total in the next decade. This figure is projected by a new research paper from the New York Digital Investment Group (NYDIG).

Dubbed ‘Bitcoin Net Zero,’ the study was conducted by Castle Island Ventures partner Nic Carter and NYDIG founder Ross Stevens. The paper shows that Bitcoin’s energy consumption will not surge in the coming years. The same applies to Bitcoin’s resultant carbon emissions, whether or not Bitcoin prices skyrocket over the same period.

Moreover, the study covered how variations in Bitcoin’s price, mining difficulty, and energy consumption may affect the network’s carbon emission. Even with the most aggressive BTC price outlook of 2030, Bitcoin emissions would still be a drop in the ocean. The researchers concluded;

Even in our most aggressive, high price, scenario, in which Bitcoin reaches $10 trillion by 2030, its emissions amount to only 0.9 percent of the world’s total, and its energy outlay is just 0.4 percent of the global total,

Bitcoin energy consumption and carbon emissions

To arrive at these figures, the researchers projected future growth in Bitcoin’s mining based on data from 2020. Analysts calculated the historical electricity consumption of Bitcoin mining as a function of the network’s hash rate and machine efficiency.

For the year 2020, researchers found out that Bitcoin consumed 62 terawatt-hours (TWh) of electricity. Also in the same year, mining produced 33 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. Energy use and emissions accounted for just 0.04 percent and 0.1 percent of global figures respectively. With this, the authors were confident that carbon waste from Bitcoin mining was “insignificant in global terms” last year.

Currently, Bitcoin mining takes up 101TWh annually, equivalent to 0.45 percent of global electricity. Findings from Cambridge University note that BTC drains more energy than the entire Philippines nation. Nevertheless, digital assets take up less electricity than all the refrigerators in the US combined. Bitcoin energy consumption is also only 4.6 percent of that used for residential air-conditioning globally.

“Decarbonizing” prospects

Importantly, the report states that plans for “decarbonizing” Bitcoin mining show significant promise for the future. Examples are hydroelectric power plants and powering mining operations with volcanic energy like El Salvador.

Over the longer term, the intensity of Bitcoin’s carbon emissions (and with it Bitcoin’s absolute carbon emissions) will decline, as the development of renewables continues and countries strive to decarbonize their electricity grids.

Importantly, the study warns that Bitcoin’s electricity hunger may seem staggering when compared to the “yearly footprint of entire countries with millions of inhabitants.” However, the digital asset’s energy expenditure may seem minute when one learns that “certain cities or metropolitan areas in developed countries are operating at similar levels.”


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