Carbon Emissions From Farms Dwarfs Bitcoin Mining Output

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  • Carbon emissions from the world’s top 13 dairy farms alone are more than 14 times higher per year than those produced from Bitcoin mining
  • The farms produce 337 megatonnes of CO2 per year, whereas Bitcoin mining produces only 23
  • Bitcoin mining is becoming greener by its design, whereas farming will have to reform itself

The world’s top 13 dairy farms produce more than 14 times more carbon emissions per year than Bitcoin mining, according to a new study. Milking the Planet, a study by the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IAPT), found that the top 13 dairy farms in the world increased their CO2 output by 32 megatonnes (32 million tonnes) in the last two years, 39% more than Bitcoin’s 23 megatonne total annual CO2 output. The statistics illustrate more clearly than ever just how comparatively little impact Bitcoin mining has on climate change, despite years of claims to the contrary by mainstream media outlets.

Carbon Emissions From Farms Dwarf Bitcoin Mining

IAPT found that alongside the two-year 11% rise in carbon emissions from these 13 farms, the total they now produce per year is a staggering 337 megatonnes:

Dairy Farming Carbon Emissions

If the fact that the carbon emissions from 13 farms alone has risen by more than Bitcoin’s total annual output in just two years is staggering enough, then just take a look at the total annual output of these farms compared to Bitcoin’s annual output:

Bitcoin vs Dairy Farming

Bitcoin’s 23 megatonnes per year of carbon emissions is dwarfed by the top 13 dairy farms by a magnitude of over 14…and this is only 13 of the approximately 150 million farms in the world. The true figure is so huge it defies calculation, and doesn’t even factor in the production of methane gas in dairy farming, which causes 25 times more damage to the atmosphere than CO2.

Bitcoin Studies Ignore the Bigger Threats

Bitcoin’s energy use comes under scrutiny around once a year when it suits those with an agenda to give it another whack. A particularly well timed study was released on Bitcoin’s 10th birthday in 2018 which claimed that Bitcoin mining emissions were on course to warm the planet by two degrees, while another study six months later equated Bitcoin’s energy use to that of Switzerland. This latest study was released almost a year ago, which means we haven’t had a “Bitcoin is destroying the planet” study for a good long while. We can assume then that one will be on the way soon.

Bitcoin Will Get More Energy Efficient Over Time

Stepping aside from carbon emissions statistics for a moment, on a practical level there is no denying that Bitcoin’s proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism, which was first designed in the mid 1990s, is no longer analogous with today’s approach to energy use. Ethereum, which also uses the PoW system, will soon kiss it goodbye in favor of the safer, faster, and less energy-intensive Proof-of-Stake (PoS) system, but doing this with Bitcoin is all but impossible.

However, Bitcoin’s economics mean that the act of Bitcoin mining will have no choice but to help in reducing carbon emissions – companies with less energy efficient equipment and locations that boast fewer natural energy resources will be phased out as the costs become prohibitive.

Farming on the other hand looks set to only increase in intensity over time, and unless the industry brings in its own expensive reforms soon it will continue to dwarf Bitcoin’s carbon emissions rates while providing a less than essential service. However, with powerful lobbyists in place within governments and the cost of reducing carbon emissions notably high, these industries are more likely to fund research shining the light on other polluting industries…like Bitcoin.