by Duane Nichols on January 25, 2022

THINGS TO KNOW ~ Atmospheric CO2 is Making Things Grow Unnaturally & Crypto-mining is Adding More

>>> From an Article by Randi Pokladnik, Bargain Hunter, August 1, 2021

Every summer I get a case of poison ivy. We live on a wooded lot and have tried to eradicate most of the plants, but you can get the ivy rash from just one drop of the toxic oil, urushiol. The oil can even survive through the fall on unwashed, previously exposed clothing.

A friend of mine shared with me a recent article published in Grist titled “Climate change is making poison ivy stronger and itchier.” The data from the scientific community does not bode well for people like me who are super sensitive to the plant.

The report is a result of a six-year study from Duke University and says the increased carbon dioxide in our atmosphere is “supercharging” the plant’s growth. In addition to affecting the growth rate and size of the plant, the extra carbon dioxide also seems to make the toxic oil stronger.

Researchers also are looking into the effects of warming soil temperatures and finding a 5 F change in soil can make ivy grow 149% faster. Warming soil has an even greater effect on growth than atmospheric warmth. Other plants only showed a 10-20% growth increase with soil temperatures.

Another interesting topic passed on to me by another friend is how cryptocurrency like bitcoins are negatively affecting the environment. My friend has a summer cottage near Seneca Lake, New York.

A gas-fueled power plant operated by Greenidge Generation is being used to power 8,000 Bitcoin mining computers in that region. Not only is the plant using enormous amounts of energy and emitting tons of carbon dioxide, it also is withdrawing 139 million gallons of water daily from Seneca Lake. This is for cooling purposes, and the heated discharged water, 135 million gallons daily, is raising lake temperatures to what locals say are “hot tub” temperatures.

If you are like me, you probably have no idea of what cryptocurrency is and why it affects the environment. I did some digging into the topic and learned the digital currency was created back in 2009 and is somewhat like using tokens instead of normal currency. The appeal of this type of “money” is it is decentralized and you can make money just from transactions. It is supposedly more secure than other online-payment methods, and it promises lower transaction fees than traditional online-payment methods like Western Union.

The big issue with Bitcoin is its energy usage. This energy use comes mainly from “mining,” a process used to validate a Bitcoin transaction. The Digiconomist’s Bitcoin Energy Consumption Index said, “One Bitcoin transaction takes 1,544 kWh to complete or the equivalent to 53 days of power for an average U.S. household.”

These “miners” use complex computers that require enormous amounts of energy to verify transactions.

As Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies have skyrocketed in the past years, more miners and more computers are needed. The end result is more energy is required to run these super computer centers. The network can use as much energy (118 TWh/year) as many countries (117 TWh/year, Netherlands).

A study published in Nature Climate Change warns the resulting emissions of bitcoins could push the global emissions past the 2 C climate target. Additionally, there are other negative impacts to consider such as the hardware or e-waste generated from the computers. Often the computers are quickly outdated, requiring new computers to be purchased much sooner than would normally be required.

There are alternative cryptocurrencies that use proof-of-stake mechanism, which requires less computing power and hence less energy. Some examples are SEEDS, Dash and NXT.

>>> The original article has been truncated here. The balance deals with other topics … DGN


NOTE ~ Iran Imposes 3-Month Ban on Authorised Bitcoin Mining Facilities Due to Excessive Power Usage ~ January 6, 2022

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