Climate Impacts of Bitcoin Mining in the U.S.
Christian Stoll, Lena Klaaßen, Ulrich Gallersdörfer, and Alexander Neumüller
Opinions regarding the climate impacts of Bitcoin mining deviate fundamentally between scholars and Bitcoin proponents. We validate arguments from both sides and provide empirical evidence for the extent and energy sources of Bitcoin mining in the U.S. We provide empirical evidence that at least 38% of all Bitcoin mining activity has migrated to the U.S. and Canada as of the end of 2022 and show that the carbon emissions caused by the 13 analyzed publicly listed miners in the U.S. alone add up to 7.2 MtCO2 per annum. At the same time, the financial incentives of the Bitcoin network may, for instance, subsidize the sealing of orphaned wells and thereby reduce methane emissions at scale. The growing transparency on locations and energy sources of large publicly listed Bitcoin miners highlights the value of disclosure obligations and may help dismantle unsupported industry claims, improve assumption-based academic models, and point regulators to areas where Bitcoin mining may bring climate benefits.