Fracking for methane reserves in New York was supposed to be the environmental issue of our time. When the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation banned fracking in 2015, followed by a legislative ban in 2020, we all breathed a sigh of relief.
Now, we have a new issue that rivals the dangers of fracking in meeting the clean energy and climate agenda goals of the state’s Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA).
Now the issue is Bitcoin. One of several cryptocurrencies that are not dependent on traditional currencies for value, these new forms of currency use a large amount of electricity. The Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index at the University of Cambridge, England, estimates that the worldwide electric consumption for Bitcoin alone is more than the annual usage of the nation of Norway and nearly 12 times as much as Google uses.
Cryptocurrency mining operations in China are being shut down in an attempt to lower their carbon emissions. Coming from a country with huge emissions issues throughout its economy, this should be an indictment on the industry.
But as these operations are shut down, the mining operations (a fancy term for calculations done in cyberspace that create the cryptocurrency) move to a new location and Bitcoin mining operations have been popping up in New York over the past several years, drawn by its low-cost energy.