Using Blockchain to Address the IPCC's Climate Change Mitigation Strategies

Date01 April 2021
by Grace Bogart
Grace Bogart is an Attorney at Dickinson, Mackaman, Tyler & Hagen, P.C. practicing
intellectual property, emerging technologies, privacy, and cybersecurity law.
Many believe blockchain technologies (BCTs) will soon permeate our lives. In particular, they can be utilized
to help tackle global climate change. This Article provides a baseline description of BCTs, and ways they can
be utilized to reduce GHG emissions in electricity and energy generation; agriculture, forestry, and other
land use; industry; and transport. It addresses BCTs’ potentially carbon-intensive nature, identif‌ies ways to
utilize them in a less energy-intensive manner, and discusses currently implemented and potential ways in
which BCTs can be harnessed to mitigate the main causes of climate change.
Less than 20 years after “the computer” was pro-
nounced “Man of the Year” by Time magazine,¹ we
face anot her technological revolution: the emer-
gence of blockchain technologies (BCTs). Many believe
BCTs, like the Internet, will soon permeate every inch of
our lives.² A lso like the Internet, BCTs are here intending
to solve many of our problems.³ In particular, BCT is a
powerful tool that can be utilized to help tackle global
climate change.
Global climate change is caused by both natural (e.g.,
solar variability and volcanic activity) and anthropo-
genic outputs and proce sses. Increases in anthropogenic
1. Computer History Museum, Internet History of 1980s, (last visited Feb. 5, 2021).
2. Although many argue otherwise. See Jude Umeh, Blockchain Double Bubble
or Double Trouble?, 58 ITNOW 58, 58-61 (2016), available at https://aca-
3. For example, transactional eciency, data protection, entrance into the in-
ternational market for developing countries, and so on.
4. See National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), e Causes
of Climate Change, (last updated Feb. 4,
2021) (referring to the Little Ice Age).
5. I P  C C (IPCC), C
C 2013: T P S B 13 (omas F. Stocker et al.
eds., 2013) [hereinafter IPCC, C C 2013], https://www.ipcc.
ch/site/assets/uploads/2018/02/WG1AR5_all_nal.pdf; Wouter Poortin-
ga et al., Uncertain Climate: An Investigation Into Public Scepticism About
Anthropogenic Climate Change, 21 G E’ C 1015 (2011),
available at
(“One in three Americans, and about 44% of those polled in the UK, are
climate change ‘attribution skeptics,’ believing most of the eects seen today
greenhouse gas (GHG) concentrations—carbon dioxide,
methane, nitrous oxide, and uorinated gases (hydrouo-
rocarbons, peruorocarbons, and sulfur hexauoride)
account for “more than half of the observed increase in
global average surface temperature from 1951 to 2010.”
To address this temperature increase, the global com-
munity established the United Nations Framework Con-
vention on Climate Change (UNFCCC)—the main, and
only broadly legitimate, source of international climate
change law and policy. e UNFCCC provides exper-
tise, reviews and a nalyzes climate change information, and
assists 195 countries and regional organiz ations all over the
world with negotiating international climate chan ge agree-
ments. rough the UNFCCC, many countries involved
in the international climate change mitigation community
have enacted and ratied international laws such a s the
Kyoto Protocol and the Paris Agreement. e UNFCCC
aims to “hold[ ] the increase in the global average tem-
perature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels and
are caused by natural processes rather than human-induced GHG [green-
house gas] emissions.”).
6. IPCC, C C 2014: M  C C 142
(Ottmar Edenhofer et al. eds., 2014) [hereinafter IPCC, M
7. IPCC, C C 2013, supra note 5, at 17.
8. IPCC, M 2014, supra note 6, at 1005.
9. Id. at 102. UNFCCC, About the Secretariat,
about-the-secretariat (last visited Feb. 5, 2021).
Copyright © 2021 Environmental Law Institute®, Washington, DC. Reprinted with permission from ELR®,, 1-800-433-5120.

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