ESG Study: Methane-Fueled Bitcoin Mining Can Eliminate 5.32% Of Global Emissions


It’s all about the methane. Finally, an ESG analyst takes a look at the data and gives bitcoin mining the praise it deserves. In the paper “Quantifying the Potential Impact of Bitcoin Mining on Global Methane Emissions,” Daniel Batten confirms what Bitcoinist has been saying. Bitcoin mining is an ally to the environment. Not only that, it’s the only industry with the necessary characteristics and incentive structure to do so.

And ESG Analyst and ClimateTech VC, Daniel Batten published the study under the Batcoinz brand. It’s the first post on the page and it caused quite a stir already. “Bitcoin mining is currently the only way of reducing these methane emissions which is both technologically feasible and does not require significant behaviour change in order to work,” the paper claims. 

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And Batten and company say that’s “the only way” because the bitcoin mining industry  has “the unique combination of being location-agnostic, mobile and interruptible makes Bitcoin mining the only economically feasible use case for the two major sources of leaking methane emissions examined in this paper.”

And “to those who previously believed that BTC had a negative environmental impact,” Batten and company have a message. “We fully realize this finding may be a surprise. As environmentalists ourselves, we were also surprised & had to work against inbuilt biases as each new fact kept contradicting each prior beliefs.”

It’s important to point out that Daniel Batten also claims, “We received no funding for this research. We have no affiliation with Bitcoin mining or similar companies. If you find flaws, let us know. We’ll keep improving.”

What Does The ESG Study Say About Methane?

Why is bitcoin constantly attacked by the ESG crowd? Because “bitcoin mining’s energy consumption is obvious, but its environmental benefit is not immediately obvious. Perhaps for this reason, it is easy to make a premature and superficial assessment based only on energy consumption that Bitcoin has a net negative environmental impact. Such reasoning is flawed, since net impact can only be established by considering both environmental cost and benefit.”

And what’s the benefit in this case? Well, the study is only about methane and its results reflect the “minimum achievable target.” That means that the percentage of global emissions that bitcoin can eliminate is probably bigger than 5.32%. The study explains:

“We only quantified net CO2-eq impact where Bitcoin mining was the only economically viable technology able to combust that methane. Our results will give a minimum achievable target, as we only quantified the environmental benefit of combusting flared gas and landfill gas: these being the largest methane emitters, collectible by miners.” 

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Dispelling Misconceptions

The study quotes Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, saying “cutting methane is the strongest lever we have to slow climate change over the next 25 years and complements necessary efforts to reduce carbon dioxide.” Still, the general public has several misconceptions about “bitcoin mining using methane as a power source.”

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While the study dispels those misconceptions, we learn that using the methane-fuelled energy for something more practical “is neither economically nor logistically possible. Unless you want to build a hospital or a residential housing village in the middle of an oilfield.” Power can only travel so far. On the other hand, “mobile Bitcoin miners are the only location-agnostic user happy to locate in the oilfield, who can start using this power and removing harmful methane immediately.”

Conclusion: Bitcoin Is The Environment’s Best Friend

The facts are the facts, “using Bitcoin mining to combust leaking methane sources can eliminate 5.32% of all global emissions by 2045. This represents 23% of all global methane emissions: more than half the UNEP’s targeted reduction of methane of 45% by 2045.” Those are big numbers. 

That’s not all, though. “Bitcoin mining has the realistic potential to help humanity avoid nearly 0.15% of warming by 2045. To our knowledge, this can be legitimately claimed by no other technology,” the study says. And it does it all by itself, bitcoin doesn’t need “carbon credits, government regulation, and government funding.” How can it accomplish that? Because since bitcoin mining “makes business sense to both the emitter and the miner, it can take place through private business deals.”

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After going through the numbers and producing the study, what does Daniel Batten believe now? He said so via Twitter, “An ESG attack on BTC weakens the credibility of ESG, not BTC.”

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