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Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Bitcoin may accelerate climate change, one meteorologist writes

Mike Caldwell, a 35-year-old software engineer, holds a 25 Bitcoin token at his shop April 3, 2013 in Sandy, Utah. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)
Mike Caldwell, a 35-year-old software engineer, holds a 25 Bitcoin token at his shop April 3, 2013 in Sandy, Utah. (Rick Bowmer / Associated Press)

The surging cryptocurrency bitcoin may be degrading the environment, one meteorologist wrote last week.

Writing for the online publication Grist Eric Holthaus argued that the process of mining bitcoins is a huge energy drain, one that will only make it harder to mitigate the affects of climate change.

“It’s certain that the increasing energy burden of bitcoin transactions will divert progress from electrifying the world and reducing global carbon emissions,” he writes.

“Today, each bitcoin transaction requires the same amount of energy used to power nine homes in the U.S. for one day,” he wrote.

Based on current trends, he writes that by 2019 the bitcoin network will use more energy than the the entire United States. That growth will prompt people to build more power plants. And Holthaus worries those power plants will utilize so-called dirty technologies - like coal plants.

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