Chinese Government Could Act on Coal-powered Bitcoin Mining

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  • The Chinese government could take action against coal-powered Bitcoin mining farms
  • A recent report claimed that Bitcoin mining operations could undermine the country’s new carbon footprint targets
  • Some areas have already started taking action against crypto miners

The Chinese government could take steps to limit the number of coal-powered Bitcoin mines as the practice threatens to derail the country’s carbon reduction plans. China wants its emissions to peak in 2030, and has plans to be carbon neutral by 2060, but the scale of Bitcoin mining in the country threatens to undermine these plans. The issue was highlighted by a study published in the journal Nature this week, and could lead to the Chinese government taking action on coal-powered Bitcoin mining operations.

Bitcoin Mining Could Hamper China’s Climate Ambitions

Bitcoin’s energy use is a contentious topic, with data often estimated or given a broad spectrum due to the imprecise nature of its reporting. Nevertheless, this study from Tsinghua University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences states that Bitcoin mining in China will reach a peak of about 297 trillion watt-hours in 2024 and will generate about 130 million metric tons of carbon emissions.

This puts Bitcoin mining among the top ten carbon emissions in 182 cities and 42 industries in China, far exceeding China’s average industrial carbon intensity. Bitcoin mining will undoubtedly therefore become an obstacle to China’s goal of carbon neutrality.

Inner Mongolia Takes The Lead

The report added that although only 40% of China’s Bitcoin mines are run by coal-powered power stations, they are so huge that they could single-handedly scupper the country’s attempts to minimize its carbon footprint, leading to potential action to put them out of business. Indeed, Inner Mongolia recently booted out all its Bitcoin miners in its own attempts to reduce its carbon footprint in line with the new national targets.

The Chinese government has threatened to shut down Bitcoin mining operations in the country before but never followed through in any great measure, but reports like this could force their hand.