skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Implausible projections overestimate near-term Bitcoin CO2 emissions

Abstract

Bitcoin mining is becoming an increasingly energy-intensive process1,2,3 whose future implications for energy use and CO2 emissions remain poorly understood. This is in part because—like many IT systems—its computational efficiencies and service demands have been evolving rapidly. Therefore, scenario analyses that explore these implications can fill pressing knowledge gaps, but they must be approached with care. History has shown that poorly constructed scenarios of future IT energy use—often due to overly-simplistic extrapolations of early rapid growth trends—can do more harm than good by spreading misinformation and driving ill-informed decisions.4,5,6 Indeed, the utility of an energy demand scenario is directly proportional to its credibility, which is typically demonstrated through careful attention to technology characteristics and evolution, analytical rigor and transparency, and designing scenarios that align with plausible future outcomes.

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [3];  [4];  [5];
  1. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States). Dept. of Mechanical Engineering and Dept. of Chemical and Biological Engineering
  2. Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States). Energy Analysis & Environmental Impacts Division
  3. Northwestern Univ., Evanston, IL (United States). Dept. of Mechanical Engineering
  4. Open Univ. of the Netherlands, Heerlen (Netherlands). Faculty of Management, Science & Technology; Radbound Univ., Nijmegen (Netherlands)
  5. Rocky Mountain Inst., Basalt, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
OSTI Identifier:
1561950
Report Number(s):
LBNL-2001235
ark:/13030/qt8vf573nb
DOE Contract Number:  
AC02-05CH11231
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English

Citation Formats

Masanet, Eric, Shehabi, Arman, Lei, Nuoa, Vranken, Harald, Koomey, Jonathan, and Malmodin, Jens. Implausible projections overestimate near-term Bitcoin CO2 emissions. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.2172/1561950.
Masanet, Eric, Shehabi, Arman, Lei, Nuoa, Vranken, Harald, Koomey, Jonathan, & Malmodin, Jens. Implausible projections overestimate near-term Bitcoin CO2 emissions. United States. doi:10.2172/1561950.
Masanet, Eric, Shehabi, Arman, Lei, Nuoa, Vranken, Harald, Koomey, Jonathan, and Malmodin, Jens. Mon . "Implausible projections overestimate near-term Bitcoin CO2 emissions". United States. doi:10.2172/1561950. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1561950.
@article{osti_1561950,
title = {Implausible projections overestimate near-term Bitcoin CO2 emissions},
author = {Masanet, Eric and Shehabi, Arman and Lei, Nuoa and Vranken, Harald and Koomey, Jonathan and Malmodin, Jens},
abstractNote = {Bitcoin mining is becoming an increasingly energy-intensive process1,2,3 whose future implications for energy use and CO2 emissions remain poorly understood. This is in part because—like many IT systems—its computational efficiencies and service demands have been evolving rapidly. Therefore, scenario analyses that explore these implications can fill pressing knowledge gaps, but they must be approached with care. History has shown that poorly constructed scenarios of future IT energy use—often due to overly-simplistic extrapolations of early rapid growth trends—can do more harm than good by spreading misinformation and driving ill-informed decisions.4,5,6 Indeed, the utility of an energy demand scenario is directly proportional to its credibility, which is typically demonstrated through careful attention to technology characteristics and evolution, analytical rigor and transparency, and designing scenarios that align with plausible future outcomes.},
doi = {10.2172/1561950},
journal = {},
number = ,
volume = ,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {9}
}

Technical Report:

Save / Share: