Eco-activists have urged U.S. authorities to consider banning new cryptocurrency mining operations to help protect the planet from climate change, Reuters reports. Environmentalists released a new report based on publicly available documents, utility reports, regulations and financial information, as well as press reports and testimony from activists across the U.S.
Environmental groups are trying to reduce their carbon footprint, but bitcoin mining could negatively impact their progress, said Jeremy Fisher, an energy analyst with the nonprofit Sierra Club and co-author of the report. According to the paper, from mid-2021 to 2022, the carbon footprint from mining was 27.4 million tons, three times that of the largest coal-fired power plant in the United States, or roughly equal to the annual emissions of 6 million cars.
Nonprofits are concerned about the rapid growth of mining in the U.S. after it was banned in China. In addition, the report describes cases where bitcoin miners have extended the life of fossil-fuel power plants, caused higher electricity rates and overloaded the power grid.
In early June, the New York State Senate had already passed legislation imposing a two-year moratorium on new Proof-of-Work mining farms using carbon energy to open in the state. While the ban is in effect, the state will conduct a study on the environmental impact of PoW mining.