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Is the crypto boom contributing to climate change? | TICKER VIEWS

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Bitcoin cryptocurrency and climate change with world on fire

Elon Musk recently tweeted that Tesla is going to pull support for Bitcoin over environmental concerns. This sent Bitcoin prices tumbling, and also has raised questions about the sustainability of cryptocurrency.  So, can cryptocurrency ever be sustainable?

Why does Bitcoin mining use so much energy? 

When people speak about the energy cost of cryptocurrencies, they’re usually talking about the impact of mining Bitcoin.

Bitcoin miners use a computer to solve increasingly difficult algorithms which form the blockchain. The trick is to get all miners to agree on the same history of transactions for the blockchain. 

This mining process requires a significant amount of computing power, which in turn requires large amounts of electricity. This can pose an environmental issue when the miners use fossil fuels.

However, the large amounts of energy consumption required to mine Bitcoin is majorly a product of its increasing popularity, rather than being an inherent design element, says Liam Bussell from BANXA. 

“If we could go back to 2013 you could mine with a computer at home and it would be profitable. It would not be today, because this hardware arms race is driven by incentives. The mining machines get more and more powerful.”

Liam Bussell, Head of Communications at BANXA

Is a carbon neutral cryptocurrency possible?

With this in mind Bussell says a carbon neutral cryptocurrency is theoretically possible if the miners use clean energy rather than fossil fuels. 

Better, more energy-efficient blockchain mechanisms also could help this transition. 

Although Bitcoin mining does require large amounts of electricity, it’s ultimately up to the individual miner whether they use renewable energy to power this process. 

How does Bitcoin’s carbon footprint compare to traditional currency? 

On the other hand, it’s important that we keep these discussions in the perspective of our current systems. 

Rory Manchee from Brave New Coin argues that traditional fiat currencies also use considerable amounts of energy to mine and process the materials used in the production of notes and coins. 

So how does Bitcoin stack up? 

Let’s take VISA as an example. Digiconomist reports that Bitcoin uses far more energy than VISA. Also, the energy used by VISA is relatively “greener” than the energy used by the Bitcoin mining network. 

“If we“We could just realise that the current banking system uses vastly more power,  and H&M and Nike get cotton from China and that damages the environment too. If we look at this objectively, with bias, blockchain doesn’t use that much electricity.”

Liam Bussell, Head of CommuLIAM BUSSELL, HEAD OF COMMUNICATIONS AT BANXA

How can cryptocurrencies reduce their energy output?

The reason that Bitcoin mining is so energy-intensive is majorly down to a process called proof-of-work.

However, some experts are already in the process of replacing this with the more energy-efficient proof-of-state. In this model, coin owners create the blocks rather than the miners. This negates the need for the computational heavy-lifting we currently see.

Are all cryptocurrencies equally harmful to the environment? 

Different types of cryptocurrency are mined in different ways. Therefore, some currencies are more energy-reliant than others.

For example, Ethereum mining uses far less energy than Bitcoin mining.

Ethereum also has plans to change its proof-of-work algorithm to an energy efficient proof-of-stake algorithm called Casper. 

Keira is the front-page editor at Ticker NEWS. She's previously worked at Reuters in Jakarta, and ABC in Australia. She has a Bachelor of Journalism, specialising in international politics. Keira is particularly interested in writing about politics, technology and human rights.

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Climate

Oil giant Shell ramps up sustainable jet fuel production

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Shell wants to produce SAF in scale by 2025

Oil giant, Shell has revealed bold plans to produce low carbon jet fuel for aircraft as the world continues to turn its focus on climate change

Shell plans to start producing low-carbon jet fuel at scale by 2025, in an attempt to encourage the world’s airlines to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

Aviation accounts for around 3% of the world’s carbon emissions an is considered one of the toughest sectors to tackle due to a lack of alternative technologies to jet fuelled engines.

Shell is one of the world’s largest oil traders and has confirmed it aims to produce 2 million tonnes of sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) by 2025.

That effort is a ten-fold increase from today’s total global output.

SAF is produced from waste cooking oil, plants and animal fats, and Shell says it could cut up to 80% of aviation emissions

Shell, currently only supplies SAF produced by other refineries, including Finnish refiner Neste.

Shell stated that SAF can be blended with regular aviation fuel with little need to change plane engines, to make up 10% of its global aviation fuel sales by 2030.

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Climate

Will’s weather – daily weather and climate coverage on Ticker

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We’re taking climate seriously at ticker NEWS – we’re adding weather and climate segments to our broadcasts every hour

The brilliant William Howard will host the segments from our studios at Ticker Park.

Will’s weather features in every news bulletin on ticker news.

William Howard is an executive producer at ticker news and says he is thrilled to bring the latest weather happenings to ticker’s global audience.

“Weather events and issues surrounding the world’s ongoing climate challenge are topics we heavily cover at ticker. I often reach out to experts for commentary on these very matters and it’s privilege to enhance our focus on climate by bringing the latest every news bulletin,” he said.

The world is changing…and not always for the better! As the earth continues to send warnings to us there are those taking action to undo the damage done.

Will’s weather joins Ticker Climate each week where ticker’s Holly Stearnes and Scott Hamilton discuss the shifting sands, melting mountains, and scorching heat that climate change promises to bring.

Will’s weather will feature at the end of every news bulletin, with an overview of major cities weather forecast on the hour.

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Climate

Air New Zealand examining the future of greener, cleaner flying

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New Zealand’s national carrier is looking to the future of eco-friendly flying

Air New Zealand says it is right now examining how it can add low-carbon technologies like electric, hybrid or hydrogen powered planes to dramatically reduce emissions from shorter and regional flights as soon as 2030.

The New Zealand-based airline confirmed that it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Airbus to research the impact that hydrogen planes would have on the Air New Zealand network, as well as operations and infrastructure.

Airbus has stated that it is hoping to develop a hydrogen plane by 2035

That goal from the plane maker has industry officials and analysts ambitious for the future.

The agreement between the European based aircraft manufacturer and Air New Zealand brings both companies a step closer to developing a cleaner travel future.

Air New Zealand Chief Executive Greg Foran stated that it’ll allow the airline to see “low carbon solutions in place for our shorter domestic and regional flights in the next decade,”

Airbus could be the eco-friendly travel game changer

The company has already struck similar hydrogen study deals with easyJet and SAS airlines in Europe as carriers around the world look to meet ambitious emissions targets in line with government commitments.

Aviation accounts for around 2.5% of global carbon emissions.

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