Following U.S. President Joe Biden’s executive order, the White House OSTP reveals that crypto mining greatly contributes to energy consumption and greenhouse gas emission.
The White House Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), working on developing evidence-based policies, has presented a “Climate and Energy Implications of Crypto-Assets in the United States” report.
According to the report, the crypto mining industry greatly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and overall energy consumption. The OSTP report highlights that crypto assets use around 50 billion kilowatt-hours of energy per year. According to the office, it makes up approximately 38% of global energy consumption.
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The White House OSTP struggled to provide a comparison of such levels of consumption. However, the office noted that crypto assets use more electricity than an average computer in the U.S. but less than a refrigerator or home lights. The OSTP stated:
Noting direct comparisons are complicated, Visa, MasterCard, and American Express combined […] consumed less than 1% of the electricity that Bitcoin and Ethereum used that same year, despite processing many times the number of on-chain transactions and supporting their broader corporate operations.
The OSTP highlights that in the bigger picture, crypto mining using “fossil-fired electricity” results in electronic waste, air and water pollution as well as increased local noise.
The investigation was a part of U.S. President Joe Biden’s March executive order (EO) to analyze the development of digital assets. The OSTP was ordered to research the digital asset energy usage and compare it with other energy consumption sources and ways for blockchain to engage in climate protection. Moreover, the OSTP was ordered to provide recommendations on how to minimize the impact digital assets have on the environment.
The OSTP emphasizes that on the road for the United States to meet its climates objectives, crypto miners should “reduce greenhouse gas emissions, avoid operations that will increase the cost of electricity to consumers, avoid operations that reduce the reliability of electric grids, and avoid negative impacts to equity, communities, and the local environment.”
Among other things, the office highlights that various federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Energy (DOE), should assist crypto miners in reaching the above-mentioned objectives.