Swedish authorities have written an open letter to the European Union suggesting a ban on energy-intensive cryptocurrency mining activity because it is preventing the country – and the EU region as a whole – from achieving its Paris Climate Agreement commitments.
The director of the Swedish Financial Supervisory Authority Erik Thedéen and director of the Swedish Environmental Protection Agency Björn Risinger took issues with Bitcoin in the letter written this week saying that proof of work mining in the country eats up electricity equivalent to consumption by 200,000 households.
“It is currently possible to drive a mid-size electric car 1.8 million kilometers using the same energy it takes to mine one single Bitcoin,” they wrote in the letter. “This is the equivalent of forty-four laps around the globe. 900 Bitcoins are mined every day. This is not a reasonable use of our renewable energy.”
They are also calling on the EU to discourage companies and individuals from investing in proof of work cryptocurrencies like bitcoin. The two say that Sweden’s and EU’s renewable energy utilization can help meet the region’s Paris agreements on climate change, but suggest that EU governments could also use other methods like increasing tax on crypto mining and encouraging shift to investing in and using less energy-intensive cryptocurrencies.
They say the current increased adoption of proof of work cryptocurrencies does not favor desired climate actions to help limit global warming.
“A ban on the proof of work mining method within the EU could be an important first step in a global move towards greater use of more energy-efficient crypto mining methods. It would also mean that our renewable energy is used as efficiently as possible to support the transition towards climate neutrality.”
The call comes in the wake of the conclusion of the global Glasgow climate meeting on the Paris Climate code where representatives from different countries called for aggressive climate actions by signatories to the agreement. They said it is the ‘last opportunity for the member countries to help save the world from irreversible climate impacts arising from exacerbated global warming above 1.5 degrees Celcius temperature rise. They agreed on the need to accelerate voluntary action to limit global temperate rise by 1.5 degrees Celcius. However, most of the Paris Climate Agreement commitments remain non-binding for countries and are largely seen as empty promises on how to limit global warming.
Far from crypto mining, estimates developed from the International Energy Association’s data show that Bitcoin mining energy consumption at 89 TWh per year is not even close to energy consumption in the building and construction industry (over 41,000TWh), vehicle transportation (2,483 TWh), gold mining (265 TWh), and many other industries including health.