Ethereum’s energy-efficient “merger” leaves Bitcoin as the cryptocurrency’s sole climate polluter
New $1M Ad Campaign, Pushing Bitcoin Investors To Meet Or Beat Ethereum’s Standard
WASHINGTON – As Ethereum, the world’s second-largest cryptocurrency, drastically reduces its climate pollution, environmental groups have increased pressure on Bitcoin to match or exceed Ethereum’s environmental performance. Ethereum’s long-awaited “merge” into a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism consumes 99.95 percent less energy, leaving Bitcoin as the largest cryptocurrency to use the legacy high-energy Proof-of-Work consensus mechanism.
That “Change the code, not the climate‘ campaign will now ramp up their efforts with $1 million in new funding Online Advertisingand Greenpeace launched one petition calls on Fidelity Investments to urge Bitcoin to follow Ethereum’s example and switch to a low-power protocol that will drastically reduce the cryptocurrency’s contribution to the climate crisis.
“With fires raging across the world and historic floods devastating lives and livelihoods, state and federal leaders and business leaders are rushing to decarbonize as quickly as possible. Ethereum has shown that it is possible to move to an energy efficient protocol with far less climate, air and water pollution. Other cryptocurrency protocols have been working with efficient consensus mechanisms for years. Bitcoin has become an outlier and defiantly refuses to accept its climate responsibilities,” said Michael Brune, campaign leader Change the Code, Not the Climate.
The “Change the Code, Not the Climate” campaign, launched in March to advocate for a change in the Bitcoin code that would curb its miners’ enormous power consumption. Prior to the launch of the campaign, little attention was paid to the environmental, social, and economic impacts of bitcoin at the national level, including subsidizing miners by ratepayers to pause operations to prevent blackouts, by federal and state policymakers .
The landscape is changing now. Campaign officials are in active discussions with key members of Congress and the Biden administration. Legislators are considering legislation, including mining moratoriums, that would increase transparency about the locations of mining operations, the energy sources used and the emissions for each operation. President Biden signed an executive order in March that highlighted the link between cryptocurrency mining and the climate crisis.
The campaign calls on the largest corporate partners and institutional investors – including Fidelity Investments, PayPal and Jack Dorsey’s Block – to urge Bitcoin to move away from a high-energy proof-of-work protocol. The Ethereum merger increases the pressure on these investors to use their financial clout for the climate and to help local communities suffering from bitcoin mining operations.
Quote from Ken Cook, President of the Environmental Working Group
“Ethereum has proven that it is possible to take the plunge and convert its protocol to a less power intensive method by moving to Proof of Stake and drastically reducing its energy consumption and greenhouse gas impact associated with dirty protocols like Proof of Work lowers. It’s about time Bitcoin and its biggest investors took similar steps to reduce its heavy reliance on dirty grids and cheap fossil-fuel energy sources — or risk being the cryptocurrency of the past.”
Quote from Rolf Skar, Special Projects Manager, Greenpeace USA
“We are in a climate crisis and everyone has a responsibility to act. With Ethereum moving to an energy-efficient protocol, it’s time for Bitcoin to change. Companies that mine and benefit from Bitcoin, like Fidelity Investments, BlackRock, Paypal and Block, have a responsibility to help build a better, climate-friendly Bitcoin.”
Quote from Lane Boldman, executive director of the Kentucky Conservation Committee
“If Ethereum can change its code to reduce air pollution and climate disruption, why can’t Bitcoin? Kentuckians in coal-mining communities have suffered badly in recent weeks from deadly flooding, compounded by unreclaimed and abandoned fossil-fuel mineland, and have grappled with the effects for more than a century as the wealth goes elsewhere. It is unacceptable that a supposedly “innovative” technology like bitcoin should unnecessarily extend the life of fossil fuels through this wasteful process that impacts our air and our land.”
Quote from Robert Altenburg, senior director of energy and climate, PennFuture
“We welcome the move from Ethereum to a much more efficient validation system. Here in Pennsylvania, where bitcoin largely relies on burning waste coal, we’ve seen the worst bitcoin has to offer. Cryptominers are not paying the very real cost of public health and environmental damage caused by the air pollution they create – instead, vulnerable communities near these operations are paying the price. Worse, bitcoin miners use these old, polluting, coal-fired power plants to power their operations because we — the taxpayers and interest payers — heavily subsidize them.”
About Change the Code, Not the Climate
Change the Code, Not the Climate is a campaign launched by the Environmental Working Group, Greenpeace USA, and several local organizations to urge Bitcoin, its miners, and investors to support a software code change that will reduce intensive use and Reliance on dirty power sources.