Bitcoin may hasten global warming. Here’s how

Bitcoin may hasten global warming. Here’s how
FILE- In this Dec. 8, 2017, file photo, coins are displayed next to a Bitcoin ATM in Hong Kong. British lawmakers are urging regulation for cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin in a report that describes the current situation as the "Wild West." In a report Wednesday, Sept. 19, 2018 on digital currencies, Parliament's Treasury Committee called for regulations to protect consumers and prevent money laundering. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung, File) (Source: Kin Cheung)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Bitcoin is taking off.

But the rising popularity of the power-hungry cryptocurrency could be hastening global warming, according to a new University of Hawaii study.

The report, published in the journal Nature Climate Change, warns if Bitcoin is implemented at the same rates as other technologies it could produce enough emissions to raise global temperatures by 2 degrees Celsius as soon as 2033.

That’s because Bitcoin requires significant amounts of electricity.

“Currently, the emissions from transportation, housing and food are considered the main contributors to ongoing climate change,” said Katie Taladay, coauthor of the paper. “This research illustrates that Bitcoin should be added to this list.”

Camilo Mora, an associate professor of geography at UH-Manoa and lead author of the study, said that any further development of cryptocurrencies should “critically aim to reduce electricity demand.”

“We cannot predict the future of Bitcoin, but if implemented at a rate even close to the slowest pace at which other technologies have been incorporated, it will spell very bad news for climate change and the people and species impacted by it.”

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