Blockchain ‘Unlocks New Ways to Fight Climate Change’ as COP26 Agreement Stumbles

Updated by Kyle Baird
In Brief
  • China and India nix COP26 coal deal at the last minute.
  • Blockchain technology usage can be a net environmental good.
  • Etherisc, Klima DAO, Algorand, CryptoTrunks, and Chia lead the way in blockchain energy efficiency.
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After days of intense negotiation, the COP26 ended in tears and disappointment this weekend as world leaders signed off on a watered-down package of climate change mitigation strategies. 

The world has agreed to “phase down” rather than “phase out” coal power after China and India backpedaled on the initial wording of the agreement.

It was a bitter pill to swallow for COP26 President Alok Sharma who had to choke back his tears as he apologized to delegates. 

Speaking the next day to BBC’s Andrew Marr, a tired Sharma condemned the pair.

“China and India will have to explain themselves and what they did to the most climate-vulnerable countries in the world,” he said.

The eleventh-hour amendment reflects the difficulty in bringing the international community to heel. At the same time blockchain technology — often painted as the environmental bogeyman — is showing real leadership in the fight against climate change and climate mitigation strategies.

What Blockchain can do

On a number of fronts, blockchain technology is proving that it can be a force for good despite a mainstream media narrative at odds with the facts. 

A clear example can be found in the poorest nations which COP26 and other supranational bodies have repeatedly failed. One example lies in Kenya, where the decentralized insurance company Etherisc is helping farmers to mitigate crop damage caused by extreme weather conditions.

“Over the course of COP26, we saw numerous pledges and commitments from political and corporate leaders, yet ended up with little consensus on an overarching strategy to cap global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius,” Michiel Berende, Chief Inclusive Officer at Etherisc exclusively told BeInCrypto. “Blockchain can help us beat climate change by unlocking new ways to mitigate, fight and cope with its impact,” he added.

Etherisc works with regional partners to provide blockchain-backed crop insurance to 17,000 smallholder farms in Kenya, with 6,000 farmers receiving mid-season payouts this year.

“Impactful projects like this are making a real-world difference and serve as proof of [bockchain] technology’s inherent ability to drive previously impossible solutions to ever more prominent climate crises around the world,” said Berende.

Etherisc is not alone in combatting the crisis. While COP26 has only just standardized the rules for carbon-emission trading, Klima DAO began the process in earnest months ago. Klima DAO aims to accelerate the price appreciation of carbon assets, making fossil fuels and other polluting industries less attractive over time.

Algorand has successfully demonstrated that a blockchain can be carbon negative, while Chia has developed ‘Proof Of Space and Time consensus’ which uses 0.16% of the annual energy consumption of Bitcoin. As for bitcoin, Blockstream CEO Adam Back now argues that mining the grandaddy crypto ‘probably, actually’ reduces carbon emissions.

Even NFTs, the most environmentally maligned of sectors, can contribute to the fight against climate change. NFT project Crypto Trunks helped to reverse the narrative earlier this year as the first carbon-negative NFT project.

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