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Climate Change Efforts Can Be Nullified Due To Bitcoin Production: Scientists

Bitcoin mining, however, is becoming more energy efficient

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virtual currencies, bitcoin, investors
People use a bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong. VOA

Demand for bitcoin could single-handedly derail efforts to limit global warming because the increasingly popular digital currency takes huge amounts of energy to produce, scientists said on Monday.

Producing bitcoin at a pace with growing demand could by 2033 defeat the aim of limiting global warming to 2 degrees Celsius, according to U.S. research published in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Almost 200 nations agreed in Paris in 2015 on the goal to keep warming to “well below” a rise of 2°C above pre-industrial times.

Climate change, carbon
The Amazon Tall Tower Observatory stands in Sebastiao do Uatuma located in the Amazon rain forest in Brazil’s Amazonas state, Aug. 22, 2015. The tower, built by Brazilian and German governments, collects data on greenhouse gases. VOA

But mining, the process of producing bitcoins by solving mathematical equations, uses high-powered computers and alto of electricity, the researchers said.

“Currently, the emissions from transportation, housing and food are considered the main contributors to ongoing climate change,” said study co-author Katie Taladay in a statement. “This research illustrates that bitcoin should be added to this list.”

Mining is a lucrative business, with one bitcoin currently selling for about $6,300 (4,900 British pounds).

In 2017, bitcoin production and usage emitted an estimated 69 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, the researchers said.

It will trade Bitcoin futures in a principal, market-making capacity and will also create non-deliverable forward products.
Bitcoin, Pixabay

That year, bitcoin was involved in less than half of 1 percent of the world’s cashless transactions, they said.

As the currency becomes more common, researchers said it could use enough electricity to emit about 230 gigatons of carbon within a decade and a half. One gigaton is equal to one billion metric tons of carbon.

“No matter how you slice it, that thing is using a lot of electricity. That means bad business for the environment,” Camilo Mora, another co-author, told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.

bitcoin, climate change
Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency and worldwide payment system. Wikimedia Commons

Bitcoin mining, however, is becoming more energy efficient, said Katrina Kelly-Pitou, research associate at the University of Pittsburgh.

Also Read: Is Investing In Bitcoin Safe? Get the Basics First

She said bitcoin miners are moving away from sites such as China, with coal-generated electricity, to more environmentally friendly utilities in Iceland and the United States. (VOA)

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Diversifying Crops will Lighten Growing Climate Impact in India: Study

To reach this conclusion, the authors combined historical data on crop yields, temperature and rainfall

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diversifying crops, climate impact
"Expanding the area planted with these four alternative grains can reduce variations in Indian grain production caused by extreme climate, especially in the many places where their yields are comparable to rice. Wikimedia Commons

Diversifying the crops in India can be an effective way to adapt its food-production systems to the growing influence of extreme climate change, said US researchers including Indian-origin.

The team studied the effects of climate change on five major crops: finger millet, maize, pearl millet, sorghum and rice which make up the vast majority of grain production during the June-to-September monsoon season in India — with rice contributing three-quarters of the grain supply for the season.

Taken together, the five grains are essential for meeting India’s nutritional needs. In a paper published in Environmental Research Letters, Kyle Davis, environmental data scientist from the Data Science Institute at Columbia University found that the yields from grains such as millet, sorghum and maize are more resilient to extreme weather.

Their yields vary significantly less due to year-to-year changes in climate and generally experience smaller declines during droughts. But yields from rice, India’s main crop, experience larger declines during extreme weather conditions.

climate impact, diversifying crops
Their yields vary significantly less due to year-to-year changes in climate and generally experience smaller declines during droughts. Wikimedia Commons

“By relying more and more on a single crop — rice — India’s food supply is potentially vulnerable to the effects of varying climate,” said Davis, the lead author on the paper.

“Expanding the area planted with these four alternative grains can reduce variations in Indian grain production caused by extreme climate, especially in the many places where their yields are comparable to rice.

“Doing so will mean that the food supply for the country’s massive and growing population is less in jeopardy during times of drought or extreme weather,” he noted.

The co-authors on the paper are Ashwini Chhatre, Associate Professor at the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad; Narasimha D. Rao, Assistant Professor at Yale’s School of Forestry and Environmental Studies; Deepti Singh, Assistant Professor at Washington State University in Vancouver; and Ruth DeFries, University Professor of Ecology and Sustainable Development at Columbia University.

diversifying crops, climate impact
To reach this conclusion, the authors combined historical data on crop yields, temperature and rainfall. Wikimedia Commons

Temperatures and rainfall amounts in India vary from year-to-year and influence the amount of crops that farmers can produce.

With episodes of extreme climate such as droughts and storms becoming more frequent, it’s essential to find ways to protect India’s crop production from these shocks, according to Davis.

ALSO READ: Conflict and Climate Change Largely Responsible for Rising Global Hunger, Finds Study

To reach this conclusion, the authors combined historical data on crop yields, temperature and rainfall. Data on the yields of each crop came from state agricultural ministries across India and covered 46 years (1966-2011) and 593 of India’s 707 districts.

“This study adds to the evidence that increasing the production of alternative grains in India can offer benefits for improving nutrition, for saving water, and for reducing energy demand and greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture,” said Davis. (IANS)