Achieving climate neutrality by 2060 may prove impossible. China has a rather unusual problem. It’s about bitcoin.
As much as 75 percent “Bitcoin mines”, i.e. computers consisting of hundreds of interconnected graphics cards, are located in China. These are machines whose sole purpose is to perform the calculations that create bitcoins. As you can easily guess, this also requires huge amounts of electricity, which is used not only to power the machines, but also to constantly cool the rooms.
Climate neutrality is at risk
According to the latest report of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, co-authored by scientists from other countries, cryptocurrency mining may be the greatest threat to the Chinese government’s plans to achieve climate neutrality. According to the strategy, in 2030 China is to achieve the maximum level of greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere.
This is to be the critical moment from which the thirty-year process of reducing emissions will begin, until climate neutrality is achieved in 2060. This is the government’s assumption. The report suggests this may not work. “Without appropriate interventions and legal solutions, intensive bitcoin mining in China could quickly become a threat that jeopardizes meeting emissions reduction targets.” – wrote in a report quoted by the BBC.
China is popular among bitcoin miners mainly due to the low maintenance costs of the machines. Rural areas are famous for very low land prices, and in addition, energy, most of which in the country comes from coal, is also cheaper than in other countries. The third aspect is easy and relatively cheap access to electronics, some of which are produced in China or other Asian countries.
According to analyses, as early as 2024, energy consumption related to cryptocurrency mining is expected to equal the total consumption in countries such as the Czech Republic or Saudi Arabia.