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Will Blockchain save the Environment?

A lot has been written over the past few years about the benefits of Blockchain for information security.

As a public digital ledger it records transactions from many computers so that the records cannot be amended retrospectively. It has become such a trusted source of information a court in China has recently allowed it to be used as evidence in a case of copyright infringement.

Blockchain is now being used to bolster agreements such as the Paris Agreement (“PA”) on Climate Change whose objective is to mitigate and adapt to climate change. The PA established universal and harmonized measurement, reporting, and verification (“MRV”) provisions for climate change mitigation. It is a common system of transparency now applies to all members to the PA. Measure­ment is needed to identify emissions trends, determine where to focus greenhouse gas reduction efforts, track mitigation-related support, monitor progress achieved in reducing emissions etc.

As demonstrated in the case in China, the transparency it brings means that the transactions undertaken by the carbon markets can be subject to the same scrutiny.

But that is not all, this transparency is being used by a number of organisations to provide better access to the carbon markets for both large and small businesses and individuals and do away with the middlemen, lowering the barrier to entry.

Of course, on the flipside of all these benefits, it has to be remembered the amount of power and hardware needed to run blockchain does of itself produce significant amounts of carbon (estimated at 500 kilos of CO2 per transaction). But this is also being tackled by using… Blockchain! The start-up behind it, Carbon Grid Protocol, is supported by the United Nations. Again, they aim to open up the carbon markets and at the same time introduce a per transaction offset mechanism, according to Carbon Grid Protocol’s co-founder and CEO, Andy Tan.

So in answer to the title of this article – we will have to wait and see. These are very new uses for Blockchain so we will monitor the successes and report back as we learn more.

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