In a new report published Per CoinShares on Monday, the firm estimated that the Bitcoin (BTC) mining network emitted 42 megatonnes, or Mt, (1Mt = 1 million tonnes) of carbon dioxide, or CO2, in 2021. In context, the number s amounts to less than 0.08% of the total global emissions of 49,360 Mts of CO2 in the same year. CoinShares arrived at these figures using various estimates regarding the efficiency of the Bitcoin network, its power consumption, hardware, etc., on a global scale. Therefore, it may not reflect the actual network CO2 emissions. But the report’s estimate of global CO2 emissions is mostly in line with industry figures.
Moreover, the report estimates the total electricity consumption of the Bitcoin network at 89 terawatt hours (TWh), which is far lower than the estimates put forward by an institution like the University of Cambridge. This is especially the case, given that the Bitcoin network hash rate has reached new all-time highs. That said, electricity consumption alone is not a true contextual measure of the environmental impact of the Bitcoin network. Indeed, global CO2 emissions come from many aspects, such as private automobiles, to begin with.
The report highlights a growing debate regarding the environmental impact of Bitcoin mining. For example, influencers such as Elon Musk have reversed their adoption of Bitcoin for business purposes in the past due to power consumption issues. The CoinShares report suggests that around 60% of Bitcoin mining activity comes from fossil fuels, which is far below the industry estimate, as some have put the metric at just 25%. However, if the report’s claims are accurate, it shows that Bitcoin’s overall environmental impact is negligible from a global perspective.