The United Nations arm aimed at assessing the science related to climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, has named crypto among technologies that may require greater energy demands.

According to a report released on Monday, the IPCC said cryptocurrencies, as part of the infrastructure around data centers and information technology systems related to blockchain, had the potential to be a “major global source” of carbon dioxide emissions. The group said that estimated CO2 emissions between 2010 and 2019 suggested there was only a 50% probability of limiting the rise of the average temperature of Earth by 1.5°C, based on the remaining carbon budget from 2020.

“The energy requirements of cryptocurrencies is also a growing concern, although considerable uncertainty exists surrounding the energy use of their underlying blockchain infrastructure,” said the report. “While it is clear that the energy requirements of global Bitcoin mining have grown significantly since 2017, recent literature indicates a wide range of estimates for 2020 (47 TWh to 125 TWh) due to data gaps and differences in modelling approaches.”

The IPCC included the energy requirements for artificial intelligence alongside crypto and blockchain. However, the group noted that all technologies had the potential to enable emissions reductions as well as increased emissions based on how they were governed:

“Large improvements in information storage, processing and communication technologies, including artificial intelligence, will affect emissions. They can enhance…


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