Show an ad over header. AMP

I am the FIRST

Sweating the small stuff: How bitcoin and remote work impact the climate fight

Bitcoin's rise won't cook the planet and avoiding car commutes by working from home won't save it. But both trends still matter.

Driving the news: There's connective tissue between two pieces of news.

Tesla, which invested $1.5 billion in bitcoin, said yesterday that it's now accepting bitcoin as payment for its electric cars as it pledged last month.

  • Wedbush Securities analyst Dan Ives calls it "a potential game changing move for the use of Bitcoin from a transactional perspective." (Note: "Potential" is doing some work there.)
  • But digital bitcoin "mining" to process transactions requires lots of electricity, prompting fears that greatly expanding its use — something Tesla won't do alone — will light the fuse on a carbon bomb.

Separately, data analytics startup Watershed — which helps clients cut emissions — just unveiled an interactive tool that creates estimates of remote work policies' climate effects.

  • The calculator arrives as many companies and organizations are giving employees the option to continue remote work — partially or completely — after the pandemic.

Why it matters: Scientists say steep emissions cuts need to be happening now to keep the Paris Agreement's goals within reach.

So it's worth paying attention to things that can make those cuts harder, like bitcoin, or potentially easier, like working from home (but it's complicated).

The intrigue: A note from Bank of America Global Research warns that environmentally minded investors already need to pay attention to the "enormous environmental costs of Bitcoin."

  • "Given the relatively linear relationship between Bitcoin prices and Bitcoin energy use, it is perhaps no surprise that Bitcoin's estimated energy consumption has grown over 200% in the past two years," BofA analysts find in the March 17 report.
  • They estimate bitcoin's energy consumption is already larger than Greece's and CO2 emissions linked to bitcoin are of the same magnitude as the U.S. government and American Airlines.
  • Bloomberg has much more.

Yes, but: Estimates of bitcoin's energy consumption vary widely, and future advances in efficiency and expansion of zero-carbon electricity can act as counterweights.

What's next: Meanwhile, the effect of emissions from reshaped work patterns is hard to pin down.

  • It involves calculations that consider fuel savings (which may prove pretty minor worldwide), but also heating and cooling homes that are now more frequently occupied, while keeping those systems on in partially occupied offices, too.
  • And ending the traditional office model gives workers more flexibility to live farther away — and perhaps in larger homes that require more energy and create longer commutes when workers do travel.

Where it stands: The new calculator is a less granular version of the kinds of services that Watershed promotes to clients, and it's a way of looking at decisions that will become front and center for many companies.

Gas prices rise in several states as pipeline outage crimps supply

Gas stations in several statesare out of fuel and AAA reports the nationwide average price breached $3-per-gallon for the first time in six years amid the cyberattack-induced shutdown of the Colonial Pipeline.

Driving the news: The ransomware attack on Colonial Pipeline, the nation's largest refined fuel pipeline that extends from Texas into the Northeast, is creating a scramble as the outage persists into its sixth day.

Keep reading... Show less

Read: What Liz Cheney told the House GOP behind closed doors before her ouster

"If you want leaders who will enable and spread his destructive lies, I’m not your person, you have plenty of others to choose from," Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) told House Republicans before they voted to remove her as the party's conference chair on Wednesday.

Why it matters: In her address, Cheney promised that she "will be leading the fight to restore our party" and make it "worthy again of being the party of Lincoln," signaling that she doesn’t plan on going anywhere soon and will continue to be a voice of dissent in the party.

Keep reading... Show less

House Republicans remove Liz Cheney from leadership over Trump opposition

House Republicans voted Wednesday to oust Rep. Liz Cheney (R-Wyo.) as conference chair, capping months of growing backlash over her criticisms of former President Trump, according to two sources in the room.

Why it matters: The stunning removal of the No. 3 House Republican over her condemnation of Trump's election lies reflects the influence the former president still retains over the GOP. It's the most significant turning point in an internal party feud that is unlikely to subside any time soon.

Keep reading... Show less

Biden names third slate of judicial nominees

President Biden on Wednesday announced a new slate of nominations for federal judges, with the president now having put forward 20 names to fill judicial vacancies.

Why it matters: The administration described the most recent picks as an embodiment of "the diversity of our nation," and said that Biden is continuing a trend of announcing judicial nominees at a record pace.

Keep reading... Show less

Consumer prices jumped 4.2% in April compared to last year

The latest gauge on inflation released Wednesday morning showed that prices rose 4.2% over last year, based on the Consumer Price Index (CPI).

Why it matters: The gains were highest since September 2008. Prices jumped significantly compared to the start of the pandemic last year, when lockdowns drove down demand.

Keep reading... Show less

What China's population woes mean for the rest of the world

China released its censusreport on Tuesday, showing that the number of births in the country last year dropped 18% from 2019. And China isn't alone — populations have been stagnating globally for decades, including in the U.S.

Why it matters: China has long relied on its large population — the biggest in the world — as a core engine for economic growth. The way that it, and officials across the globe, deal with changing demographics will lead to shifts in the economy and geopolitics.

Keep reading... Show less

Inside Liz Cheney's plans to continue fighting for soul of GOP after leadership ouster

As she faces a voteto be thrown out of House Republican leadership, Rep. Liz Cheney has told associates she doesn’t plan on going anywhere — and plans to run for re-election.

What to watch: In the meantime,as she sees it, she will aggressively pursue a fight for the soul of the Republican Party, after an expected vote to strip her of her post as GOP conference chair, the party's No. 3 House post.

Keep reading... Show less

Biden plans to send envoy as Israel and Hamas escalate toward war

Tel Aviv — With Israel and Hamas now engaged in their most destructive fight in seven years, the Biden administration is considering plans to dispatch a State Department official to join the de-escalation efforts, five Israeli officials and Western diplomats tell me.

Driving the news: The fighting intensified overnight, with Hamas and other militants firing a second barrage of over 100 rockets toward Tel Aviv and other nearby cities, and Israel continuing its air campaign in the Gaza Strip by destroying high-rise buildings, Hamas facilities and rocket units.

Keep reading... Show less



Get Goodhumans in your inbox

Most Read

More Stories