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It has the carbon footprint of a small country—what will it take for Bitcoin to go green?

The cryptocurrency presents an urgent environmental challenge, but it is not too late for Bitcoin miners to pivot to renewables

By Emily Lawford  

Photo: iweta0077 / Alamy Stock Photo

Bitcoin is heating the planet. The cryptocurrency’s annual carbon footprint is roughly equal to Libya’s, and it consumes as much power as Pakistan. A single Bitcoin transaction produces more than 700kg of carbon dioxide, according to the website Digiconomist—equivalent to the carbon footprint of more than 1.5m transactions using a Visa credit card.

“It will take a lifetime for a tree to remove that carbon dioxide from the air,” says Camilo Mora, a climate scientist at the University of Hawaii. “We are totally underestimating the magnitude of what [Bitcoin] is actually doing.” So is it time to abandon…

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