Crypto mining in the United States now uses as much energy as any home computer or lighting, according to a report from the White House Office of Science and Technology released Thursday.
The results reveal that the United States is believed to host one-third of all crypto operations, accounting for approximately 0.9% to 1.7% of total electricity consumption in the United States – on par with the amount consumed by “all home computers or all residential lighting” in the country.
Additionally, crypto activity accounts for 0.4% to 0.8% of all greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, about the same as the amount emitted by diesel fuel used in railroads. American iron. Globally, US crypto activity accounts for 0.2% to 0.4% of all greenhouse gas emissions.
“The use of electricity from digital assets contributes to GHG emissions, additional pollution, noise and other local impacts, depending on local markets, policies and electricity sources,” says the White House report.
How to Mitigate Emissions from Crypto Mining in the US
President Biden’s executive order in March called for the 46-page report, seeking not only to understand the results of crypto mining in the United States, but also advice on how to mitigate its impacts on the climate.
The report suggests that “depending on the energy intensity of the technology used, crypto-assets could impede broader efforts to achieve net-zero carbon pollution, consistent with U.S. climate commitments and goals.”
To ensure “responsible” crypto activity in the future, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Department of Energy (DOE) are recommended to work with “states, communities, ‘crypto-asset industry and others’ to find ways to set standards for low energy and water consumption in crypto mining, as well as to mitigate noise generation and carbon creation .
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“If these measures prove ineffective in reducing impacts, the administration should explore executive branch actions, and Congress could consider legislation, to limit or eliminate the use of energy-intensive consensus mechanisms for the ‘crypto-asset mining’,” the report said.
Additionally, the report calls on energy regulators and network operators to ensure the stability of power grids amid increased crypto activity. It calls for better data from crypto miners to “understand, monitor and mitigate impacts” in a “privacy-preserving manner.”
White House optimistic about alternative cryptocurrency mining
The report highlights the potential of flared and vented methane as a means to power crypto mining – a method that has recently grown in popularity.
“While the EPA and the Department of the Interior have proposed new rules to reduce methane for oil and gas operations, crypto-asset mining operations that capture ventilated methane to generate electricity can deliver climate-positive results, converting potent methane into [carbon dioxide] during burning. »
“Mining operations, however, could potentially be more reliable and efficient at converting methane to CO2.”
While the U.S. goal of net zero emissions would mean venting or flaring of methane would not exist, the report states that “crypto-asset mining that installs equipment to use vented methane to produce electricity for operations is more likely to help rather than hinder the United States. climate goals.
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