New York businesses have reached out to governor Kathy Hochul asking for a ban on crypto mining, citing environmental concerns. In a letter the business owners and labour groups requested Hochul to deny permits to the conversion of NYC’s fossil fuel plants into crypto mining centres. Crypto mining is the process of generating new tokens. In the case of “proof of work” style cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, this is done by solving complex mathematical problems using advanced computers and the process has been criticised for consuming too much energy while adding to carbon emissions.
Two former fossil fuel power plants, the Greenidge Generating Station and the Fortistar North Tonawanda, located in New York’s tri-state area are being considered for transformation into crypto mining facilities. This idea has garnered backlash from many local businesses worried about electricity usage and environmental impact.
“Proof-of-Work cryptocurrency mining use enormous amounts of energy to power the computers needed to conduct business – should this activity expand in New York, it could drastically undermine New York’s climate goals established under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act,” the letter said.
Further, the letter suggested that repowering defunct fossil-fuelled power plants would seriously jeopardise the state’s progress on and meeting mandates for reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.
Hochul’s response to the request remains awaited as of now.
As per a research report, cryptocurrency mining hardware is constantly running, hence consuming energy. Between January 1, 2016, and June 30, 2018, the mining operations for four major cryptocurrencies released up to an estimated 13 million metric tons of carbon dioxide.
The massive energy consumption required by mass-level crypto trading and its effects on the greenhouse gas emissions have been concern-worthy for many nations including China, Russia, and Morocco among others.
In fact, last month China criminalised crypto activities with its massive energy consumption being a major reason of concern.
“Part of it may actually be due to electricity shortages in many parts of China. A lot of South China right now is having random power outages because the power demand is higher than expected. Crypto mining might be playing a role in that,” Elon Musk had said commenting on China’s move at the time.
In recent times, however, crypto-mining activities are being linked with clean energy resources so that the process becomes decarbonised.
For instance, the central American country of El Salvador is also is powering its Bitcoin mining facility using geothermal volcanic energy.
Francis Suarez, the mayor of US’ Miami town has also proposed setting up a Bitcoin-mining facility near a nuclear power plant in Florida state. As per news website Latest News Today, nuclear energy is on the brink of being recognised as a true environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) solution in terms of energy.
Despite opposition from major nations like China and Russia, the crypto-space is registering rapid global expansion.
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