Energy Web, Rocky Mountain Institute (RMI) and the Alliance for Innovative Regulation (AIR) has announced the launch of the Crypto Climate Accord – a private sector-led initiative committed to making the cryptocurrency industry 100% renewable. Inspired by the Paris Climate Agreement, the Accord brings together the crypto and financial technology (fintech) industry to build a sustainable future for global finance with support from the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Climate Champions.
Surging demand for crypto and accelerating adoption of blockchain-based solutions among businesses and individuals have highlighted a critical issue: the impact of the technology’s growing energy consumption on our climate. As cryptocurrencies become increasingly mainstream, it’s imperative to shift toward a renewable energy future now. The Accord intends to achieve this by working collaboratively with the cryptocurrency industry—including all blockchains—to transition to 100% renewable energy by 2025 or sooner. While many organisations are individually taking steps to decarbonise their operations, the Accord recognises that an industry-wide coalition and scalable solutions can quickly multiply impact.
The Accord will employ a “big tent” approach and act as a coordinating framework to decarbonise all aspects of the industry. Energy Web, AIR, and RMI have developed three high-level objectives for the Accord, to be finalised with supporters in advance of the United Nations’ COP 26 Climate Conference later this year:
- Enable all of the world’s blockchains to be powered by 100% renewables by the 2025 UNFCCC COP Conference
- Develop an open-source accounting standard for measuring emissions from the cryptocurrency industry
- Achieve net-zero emissions for the entire crypto industry, including all business operations beyond blockchains and elimination of historical emissions, by 2040
“I’m proud to support the Crypto Climate Accord and to collaborate with other like-minded players that believe this technology can lead to a renewable energy revolution through collective action,” said Meltem Demirors, CSO of CoinShares. “It’s vital that we correct misinformation that has persisted about bitcoin’s energy use and sources. Our industry has always been focused on pushing the bleeding edge of innovation and taking action to accelerate change instead of waiting for systemic change, which takes decades and often never materialises.”
To help launch the Accord, Energy Web will bring to bear open-source software and sector expertise to help crypto market participants take near-term action and begin decarbonising the industry. “We have the technical solutions required to decarbonise blockchains. What the industry doesn’t yet have—and needs—is a concerted effort,” said Walter Kok, CEO of Energy Web. “The Accord marries the right tools and public structure needed to achieve our goals, and we hope recognition from our global supporters inspires others to join in shaping our renewable energy future.”
AIR will lead the engagement of key policymakers and regulators globally as the renewed focus on sustainability presents a clear opportunity to develop and implement pragmatic and effective energy sector-related policies. JoAnn Barefoot, CEO and founder of AIR, said: “As cryptocurrencies grow in popularity, so too does their role in the global financial system. Our goal in working with policymakers and regulators is to advance the conversation about energy use so all sectors can contribute to addressing the growing challenges associated with climate change—including crypto and global finance, more broadly.”
“In addition to urgently eliminating future emissions, this industry is uniquely placed to address its historical emissions debt. The very nature of blockchains enables historical system-wide transparency, making crypto’s emissions debt a ripe target for carbon dioxide removal solutions. This is a unique chance to publicly clean up the past, reject future emissions, and push the boundaries of climate leadership,” said Nigel Topping, High-Level Champion for Climate Action at the United Nations’ COP26.
If successful, the Crypto Climate Accord will create wins for both the planet and the global economy. For climate advocates, it can eliminate emissions from a fast-growing source of electric load. For the cleantech industry, it can onboard an entirely new class of customers with significant demand for energy. For the crypto industry, it can help support the widespread adoption of crypto by making a more sustainable and scalable industry.