Climate Change: The green movement has found many things in modern life that cause global warming, but the latest really left us scratching our heads: Trading Bitcoins. At this point it might be easier to ask, is there anything that doesn’t cause global warming?
No, it’s not a joke. Just about anything these days (Hat tip: The Daily Caller) even remotely connected to civilization, human flourishing and comfort is, we’re told, a “cause” of global warming. It’s a crucial element of the Global Warming religion, which has only waxed even as real religion has waned.
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Both Vox and The New Republic point out that in order to “mine” Bitcoins on the computer, it takes a lot of energy. The argument goes that, since most Bitcoins now are mined by Chinese citizens and since China derives a growing amount of its energy from cheap-but-dirty coal, Bitcoins are increasing the amount of CO2 in the air.
And more CO2 equals more warming, QED.
“Bitcoins are contributing to the warming of the atmosphere without providing a significant public benefit in return,” writes The New Republic’s Emily Atkin.
X Of course, Atkin must possess special, recondite knowledge about exactly how warm the earth should be at all times, and also about what precisely constitutes a “significant public benefit” from Bitcoins.
Meanwhile, over at Vox, warming worrier Umair Irfan frets that Bitcoin mining on the web uses huge amounts of energy, “on par with the energy use of the entire country of Morocco, more than 19 European countries, and roughly 0.7% of total energy demand in the United States, equal to 2.8 million U.S. households.”
Sounds like a lot. But the energy estimates he uses are in dispute, as Irfan, to his credit, points out.
The important point is that people find Bitcoins useful, or they wouldn’t exist. That’s one of the reasons why a single Bitcoin is today priced at over $16,000 — up from $1 in April of 2011. With a global value now estimated a $167 billion, Bitcoins are clearly viewed as a worthwhile expenditure of time, money and energy.
Moreover, the total number of Bitcoins is, by rule, capped. So the amount of “mining” of Bitcoins on the internet — Bitcoins are “mined” when market participants use their own computer and a special algorithm to validate certain highly secure transactions, thereby earning Bitcoins for doing it — will at some point inevitably begin to decline. It will just take too much effort and cost too much.
Even so, these writers’ views really go to the heart of the global-warming belief system: Since human civilization requires lots of energy, and it does, everything associated with human civilization must cause global warming. Everything.
You can take this to its absurd ends, and that’s exactly what they do. Nothing humans do, no matter how valuable or life-enhancing it is, is immune from criticism. Some global warmists would even forcibly limit population in order to prevent warming. Some have even wistfully hoped for mass human extinctions.
Of course, those who now issue jeremiads about the climate change threat posed by Bitcoins likely won’t give up their electric cars soon, which are only as clean as the power plants that charge them.
Nor will they stop flying on fuel-guzzling commercial jets to attend the next global-warming conference, wherever it is.
Nor will they stop swiping their ATM card at the local Starbucks to buy their daily triple-soy-latte, which, by requiring energy, also contributes to global warming.
No, the fact is, human civilization, and all the wonderful things it entails, requires massive amounts of energy to work. And that’s not bad: Next time you’re in a hospital or in an elevator in a super-tall building, give silent thanks for the steady, reliable supply of energy that helps make it all possible.
As for concerns about global warming, the science behind them is rather dubious. Even so, those concerns would pretty much disappear if the greenies would embrace the latest, and extremely safe, technology for nuclear energy. It’s a near endless supply of clean electricity that produces no CO2. So the supposed “threat” of global warming could end, while the rest of us could keep our civilization. Win-win!
Meanwhile, for those of you in the Bitcoin world, don’t be green-shamed into stopping your activities. You’re not the real enemy of these warming fanatics; civilization is.
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