US Lawmakers Press Bitcoin Mining Firms on Energy Usage, Carbon Emissions, Climate Crisis
Eight U.S. lawmakers, including Senator Elizabeth Warren, have sent letters to top U.S.-based bitcoin mining firms questioning them about their crypto mining operations. “The extraordinarily high energy usage and carbon emissions associated with bitcoin mining could undermine our hard work to tackle the climate crisis — not to mention the harmful impacts cryptomining has on local environments and electricity prices,” Senator Warren wrote.
US Senators Want Answers From Top Bitcoin Mining Firms
U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), a member of the Senate Banking, Housing, and Urban Affairs Committee, announced Thursday that she and seven other senators have sent letters to six crypto mining companies “raising concerns over their extraordinarily high energy usage.”
The announcement details: “Senator Warren and her colleagues asked each company to detail their electricity consumption, scaling plans, agreements with electricity companies, and impact on energy costs for consumers and small businesses by February 10, 2022.”
The letters were sent to six crypto mining firms: Riot Blockchain, Marathon Digital Holdings, Stronghold Digital Mining, Bitdeer, Bitfury Group, and Bit Digital.
Senator Warren explained:
The extraordinarily high energy usage and carbon emissions associated with bitcoin mining could undermine our hard work to tackle the climate crisis — not to mention the harmful impacts cryptomining has on local environments and electricity prices.
She claims that “Bitcoin mining’s power consumption has more than tripled from 2019 to 2021, rivaling the energy consumption of Washington state, and of entire countries like Denmark, Chile, and Argentina.”
“We need more information on the operations of these cryptomining companies to understand the full scope of the consequences for our environment and local communities,” the senator from Massachusetts stressed.
In December last year, Senator Warren sent a similar letter to Greenidge Generation Holdings, which operates one of the largest bitcoin mining operations in the U.S. She asked the company about their emissions and impacts on local ecosystems and electricity prices.
A report on the bitcoin mining industry published by Coinshares this month notes that “Usage of energy is a contentious and much misunderstood function of the Bitcoin monetary system.” The report explains, “Carbon emissions emitted by electricity providers supplying the bitcoin mining network are inconsequential,” elaborating:
At 0.08% of global CO2e emissions, removing the entire mining network from global demand — and thereby depriving hundreds of millions of people of their only hope for a fair and accessible form of money — would not amount to anything more than a rounding error.
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