Ethereum will pay its climate debt

In the last months before The Merge, Ethereum was very energy intensive. The equivalent of Bangladesh’s greenhouse gas emissions. This is hardly the case today as the transition from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake has reduced the resource requirements of the system. order of 99.988%. However, this will not repair the 7 years during which Ethereum was much less efficient, since its creation in 2015.

On the occasion of the United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP27), which was held in Egypt, the company specializing in blockchain ConsenSys wanted to remind that the work was not finished with Ethereum. Rather than having found a solution for the sustainable future of the blockchain, its cryptocurrency, and all Ethereum-based DeFi projects, there will now be a need to fix the past. A cleaning that the New York company wanted to present as a consensus project, where all actors working on Ethereum should join to contribute to this goal.

Ethereum Climate Platform, named after it, was launched on November 17 following COP27 and a dozen Web3 companies joined ConsenSys, relayed the media The Verge. The CEO of ConsenSys is neither more nor less than one of the co-founders of Ethereum, Joseph Lubin (alongside Vitalik Buterin). The Canadian, in 2014, launched his so-called “blockchain incubator” company to counter Bitcoin. Among the company’s flagship projects is MetaMask, the web browser extension to manage its Ethereum wallets.

© ConsenSys

Invest in DAC (Direct Air Capture)

What is the plan for the initiative? Initially, it will seek to determine precisely the importance of its impact on the climate during its 7 years of activity. In a press release, ConsenSys explained that “technology leaves behind a carbon debt estimated at tens of millions of metric tons”. Then, the work will consist of investing in a multitude of projects for the climate, and in particular technologies for capturing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.

“The platform’s commitment is to correct and counter the carbon footprint based on Ethereum since the network’s launch in 2015. It will invest in ongoing science-based climate projects that promise to mitigate more than past emissions from ‘Ethereum by leveraging native Web3 technologies. […] In addition to funding and supporting projects that enable large-scale decarbonization, the ECP will support novel solutions ranging from nature-based carbon opportunities to green hydrogen, zero-carbon energy, heating, cooling and other utilities, carbon removal projects, technologies and ecosystem services”, added ConsenSys during his visit to Egypt.

Current installations for capturing CO2 in the atmosphere represent only a tiny part of what should be captured. Of 18 facilities in the United States, Canada and Europe, explained a report by the International Energy Agency (IEA), our current capacities would be only in the order of 0.01 million metric tons of CO2. . The objective, for 2030, is to increase to 85 million, then to 980 million in 2050. This technology, called Direct Air Capture (DAC), is particularly controversial but according to a report by the IPCC (Intergovernmental Panel on climate change), it would be “inevitable”.

Now ConsenSys and the Ethereum Climate Platform initiative are counting on big players like Microsoft and Polygon to help fund these goals. As reminded The Verge, many small Web3 startups who would like to participate may have more urgent things to do for their survival with the recent setbacks in the field of cryptocurrencies, since the fall of FTX. The Sam Bankman-Fried case is not the only threat: in the first six months of 2022, the Blockchain Ethereum also saw $2 billion evaporate through hacks of all kinds.

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