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How can blockchain help the environment

How can blockchain help the environment


It may sound surprising when one says that blockchain can help reduce the damage done to the environment. In September of 2018, the World Economic Forum issued the Building Block(chains) for a Better Planet has identified 65 existing and emerging ways in which blockchain can be used to deal and help repair some of the planet Earth's global challenges.

One of the use cases of the aforementioned technology states that blockchain can be used to enable sustainability monitoring, reporting as well as help with the verification process using the ever-expanding geospatial platforms.

A non-profit organization known as the Blockchain for Climate Foundation said that it is "putting the Paris Agreement on the blockchain" and want to implement the technology to help it connect the national carbon accounts of the world which will help them enable cross-border collaboration and the investments made related to emission reductions.

Joseph Pallant, Founder, Blockchain for Climate Foundation said Article 6 of the Paris Agreement lays the basis for international collaboration on emissions reductions.

"Article 6 conceptualized the Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcome (ITMO) which is the Paris Agreement unit of exchange. This one-tonne of CO2e reduction unit can be issued, transferred and used up," said Pallant.  "A key component of the system is a double-entry bookkeeping mechanism to track emissions reductions outcomes (the ITMOs) across borders."

“We are building on the public blockchain because any tool for global action needs to be widely available; built for ease of collaboration, transparency, and extensibility. If we’re asking countries big and small to link efforts with both friends and rivals, this tool needs to belong to the world," said Pallant.

“Annual emissions recorded in a National Carbon Account are just numbers in a database. But ITMOs are individual assets and blockchain allows the issuance of secure, digital assets that are not simply numbers on a spreadsheet," said Pallant. "Whereas one can copy and amend a database at will, a blockchain’s ledger is cryptographically secured so that issuance, transfer, and destruction of tokens can only happen according to the embedded rules.”

Pallant says that if humanity is serious about stopping climate change, then these carbon assets will be some of the most valuable, economically fundamental assets in the world.

"There is a clear imperative to develop a strong, resilient system," adds Pallant.

James Wallace, who is the co-founder to Exponential University, says that blockchain can have a direct impact and help in restoring the balance of the environment by removing all the redundancy in the supply chain management phase.

"Unintentional waste is caused by simple tracking, accounting, and processing inefficiencies, which are largely due to inoperability across differing systems and error and waste caused by human interaction. Intentional waste is caused by unnecessary third-party intermediation encouraged (and protected) by crony capitalism," said Wallace.

"Indirectly, and profoundly more impactful, blockchain will naturally create environmental benefits by ensuring the significant reduction of corruption in government and its collusion with the financial and energy industries," said Wallace. "Much of the damage to the environment is caused by unnecessary intervention by these three parties, with the sole intention of generating profits for private businesses with no care or consideration for the cost to the ecology and communities."

"At a time when our political votes don't represent our views and result in legislation that protects our environment, our dollar votes do move business mandates that can improve the environment," said Wallace. "A growing number of consumers will buy products with an audited supply chain that shows the ecologically friendly harvesting of natural resources by workers in safe environments, purchasing and importing of goods done via fair trade agreements, and the low energy cost transportation of the product to the consumer."

Although one should keep in mind that all this comes at a cost. The amount of electricity used by blockchains worldwide is greater than the entire nation of Ireland because of its computationally complex nature, which might include energy from various sources which have a widely negative impact on mother nature such as coal.

PC: Pablo, Unsplash





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Anurag Chawake Opinions expressed by techsutram contributors are their own. More details

I am an Engineering Student with a keen interest in Blockchain, Cloud Computing, AI, ML and related startups. I am currently working with Techsutram as a Writer/Intern.

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