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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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Starfish, Jellyfish To Benefit From Climate Change, Says Study

"These pioneer species are likely to benefit from the opening of new habitats through loss of sea ice and the food it provides."

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Jellyfishes are virtually immortal.
Jellyfishes are virtually immortal.

Seafloor predators and open water feeding animals like the starfish and the jellyfish will benefit from climate change, while those associated with sea ice for food or breeding are most at risk, a study said on Thursday.

Marine Antarctic animals closely associated with sea ice for food or breeding, such as the humpback whale and emperor penguin, are most at risk from the predicted effects of climate change, according to the study published in the journal Frontiers in Marine Science.

Using risk assessments like those used for setting occupational safety limits in the workplace, scientists from the British Antarctic Survey (BAS) determined the winners and losers of Antarctic climate change impact, which includes temperature rise, sea ice reduction and changes in food availability.

They show that seafloor predators and open water feeding animals, like starfish and jellyfish, will benefit from the opening up of new habitats.

“One of the strongest signals of climate change in the Western Antarctic is the loss of sea ice, receding glaciers and the break up of ice shelves,” said lead author Simon Morley from the BAS.

“Climate change will affect shallow water first, challenging the animals who live in this habitat in the very near future. While we show that many Antarctic marine species will benefit from the opening up of new areas of sea floor as habitat, those associated with sea ice are very much at risk.”

A growing body of research on how climate change will impact Antarctic marine animals prompted the researchers to review this information in a way that revealed which species were most at risk.

Starfish, jellyfish to benefit from climate change: Study. VOA

“We took a similar approach to risk assessments used in the workplace, but rather than using occupational safety limits, we used information on the expected impact of climate change on each animal,” said seabird ecologist Mike Dunn, co-author of the study, which forms part of a special article collection on aquatic habitat ecology and conservation.

“We assessed many different animal types to give an objective view of how biodiversity might fare under unprecedented change.”

They found that krill — crustaceans whose young feed on the algae growing under sea ice — were scored as vulnerable, in turn impacting the animals that feed on them, such as the adelie and chinstrap penguins and the humpback whale.

The emperor penguin scored as high risk because sea ice and ice shelves are its breeding habitat.

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Dunn added: “The southern right whale feeds on a different plankton group, the copepods, which are associated with open water, so it is likely to benefit. Salps and jellyfish, which are other open water feeding animals are likely to benefit too.”

The risk assessment also revealed that bottom-feeders, scavengers and predators, such as starfish, sea urchins and worms, may gain from the effects of climate change.

“Many of these species are the more robust pioneers that have returned to the shallows after the end of the last glacial maximum, 20,000 years ago, when the ice-covered shelf started to melt and retreat,” said co-author David Barnes.

“These pioneer species are likely to benefit from the opening of new habitats through loss of sea ice and the food it provides.” (IANS)