Claim: Bitcoin Worse For the Climate than Beef

Essay by Eric Worrall

Which would you rather give up? Bitcoin or beef?

Bitcoin worse for the climate than beef, say economists

Researchers mince ‘digital gold’ claims with study showing cryptocurrency’s impact

Lindsay Clark 
Fri 30 Sep 2022  // 15:30 UTC 

Far from being the “digital gold” some claim, Bitcoin’s relative climate change impact is greater than the beef industry, and over seven times more than actual gold mining.

Economic researchers compared the environmental impact of Bitcoin – created by using computing brute force to crack complex algorithmic puzzles – against three measures of environmental impact between January 2016 and December 2021.

Led by Benjamin Jones, associate professor in economics at the University of New Mexico, they looked at whether the estimated climate damages are increasing over time. They also looked at whether the market price of Bitcoin exceeds the economic cost of climate damages and how the climate damages per coin mined compare to climate damages of other sectors and commodities.

Astoundingly, they found that in 2020 Bitcoin mining used 75.4 terawatt hours per year (TWhyear-1) – higher energy usage than Austria (69.9 TWhyear-1) or Portugal (48.4 TWhyear-1).

Taking the relative damage of Bitcoin averaged between 2016 and 2021 of 35 percent of the market value, the economists went on to compare the cryptocurrency’s climate impact to that of other industries. While it was less than electricity produced by natural gas (46 percent) and gasoline produced from crude oil (41 percent), it was slightly greater than the relative damage of beef production (at 33 percent) and much more than gold mining (at 4 percent).

Read more:

Obviously I realise it will be a tough call for all of you, whether to keep your steak and burgers and make the silicon valley liberal bitcoin fans cry.

Of course, the better option is to embrace liberty over climate hysteria, so people can keep both.

5 15 votes
Article Rating
Newest Most Voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
October 3, 2022 6:13 am

“Which would you rather give up? Bitcoin or beef?”

I’ve never had a bitcoin burger, so I’d have to say I’d give up Bitcoin. Mmmmm, cheeseburger.

Bob Tisdale

Paul Johnson
October 3, 2022 6:22 am

So, are the ESG zealots going to respond to this by divesting all crypto?

David Kamakaris
Reply to  Paul Johnson
October 3, 2022 6:32 am

“So, are the ESG zealots going to respond to this by divesting all crypto?”

That’ll be the f-n day. “ESG for thee, not for me.”, say the ESG zealots.

Reply to  Paul Johnson
October 4, 2022 1:46 am

Apart from the fact that most “crypto” doesn’t use POW, bitcoin, which does, is rapidly adopting renewable energy, now somewhere north of 60%. Most crypto is not owned by “zealots” but by working class Asians and Africans and South Americans who’ve never heard of ESG.

Oh, and how is the current monetary system working for you?

October 3, 2022 6:31 am

Cryptocurrencies are seeking to move from “proof of work” to “proof of stake” (I’m not certain I’ve got the terms right) to reduce energy consumption. I believe Etherium is already on that path and others are looking to follow.

As usual, the markets are way ahead of the scaremongers because they actually have to pay the electricity bills for these things.

Reply to  HotScot
October 3, 2022 7:53 am

I make the exchange of “proof of work” to get the proof of steak.🥩

Reply to  Brad-DXT
October 3, 2022 9:43 am

🤣 👍

Reply to  HotScot
October 3, 2022 12:17 pm

I think it has all been a pygmy steak.

October 3, 2022 6:57 am

I wish there were an anti-BTC. A token that represents the amount of energy wasted creating and storing a bitcoin.

Reply to  Rob_Dawg
October 3, 2022 7:04 am

I wish there were an anti-“renewables”. A token that represents the amount of energy wasted creating, maintaining and backing up a wind turbine or solar panel.

Gunga Din
October 3, 2022 7:02 am

 Bitcoin – created by using computing brute force to crack complex algorithmic puzzles”

Why does “Bitcoin” remind me investing in tulip bulbs?

Reply to  Gunga Din
October 3, 2022 7:52 am

They were able to eat the bulbs … just saying 🙂

Last edited 1 month ago by LdB
John Hultquist
Reply to  LdB
October 3, 2022 10:39 am

Boil them first, start slowly, and prepare to be ill.
Wear gloves when handling, or itch.
Pretty things can be dangerous.

Gunga Din
Reply to  John Hultquist
October 3, 2022 1:19 pm

I did a quick Google search and was surprised to find that tulip bulbs actually are edible. (Daffodil bulbs contain the same toxin as belladonna.)
But if they were actually good to eat, I suspect they’d be sold in the produce section of your local grocery store.
Either way, there was a time and place where people would sell their house to buy particle tulip bulb. Hardly worth it.

Richard Page
Reply to  Gunga Din
October 3, 2022 10:07 am

Tulip mania was a bubble, so is bitcoin. A craze or mania does not a stable currency make. When this particular computer game fad passes and the bubble bursts many people will be left wondering what on earth they did with their lives.

Johne Morton
October 3, 2022 7:04 am

They say that it takes 30 milliseconds for the human brain to process a thought. When asked if I’d give up beef or bitcoins, I made that decision in about 30 nanoseconds…I’ll keep my steak and beef burgers, thanks.

And about cattle and bison grazing on the Great Plains…what else would we use that land for? Growing crops requires water, you know…

Reply to  Johne Morton
October 3, 2022 7:23 am

I understand that a new smallest measurable period of time has been identified, much shorter even than the nanosecond.
Is is called the onosecond, and is the period of time between pressing the key on the computer keyboard and realising that you should not have done so.

AGW is Not Science
Reply to  Johne Morton
October 3, 2022 7:59 am

Further, cattle are “carbon neutral” anyway (not that it matters!). The grass the eat would otherwise die and decay, emitting CO2.

This is just another tentacle of the anti-meat propaganda from the “plant based” zealots.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  AGW is Not Science
October 3, 2022 9:25 am

“Beef” unfairly gets a bad reputation. Cattle, sheep, and goats can take advantage of terrain and climates that are unsuitable for agriculture. They also will take themselves to water, unlike edible plants that require an irrigation infrastructure in climates that might compete with animal husbandry.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
October 4, 2022 12:37 am

The anti animal farming lobby is the second biggest scam after the climate change / global warming scam that is making most of the worlds citizens poorer .
There is no incentive for any scientist to create a study that shows that grass fed beef which is what is produced in New Zealand , Australia and most of Europe has an almost nil carbon footprint .
I can not imagine how CO2 could ever leave a footprint in the sand of time .
All forage consumed by cattle and sheep has absorbed CO2 to grow and flourish .
The tiny amount of methane that is expelled as the animals digest their food breaks down in the upper atmosphere in 8 to 10 years .
The process is a closed cycle.
Cattle being fed on feedlots have the feed carted to them and grown on arable land so that there is more fuel used to grow cart and feed those livestock .
Not that it matters.
If sanity does not return to those in power around the world there will not be enough food for the 8 Billion people in the next few years .
Greenpeace are making a coordinated effort to ban the manufacture of nitrogen fertilizer around the world .
Idiot governments are starting to discourage the manufacturing and the fracking for more natural gas which is essential .
When it is estimated that 4 billion people around the world are fed with the food grown using artificial nitrogen curtailing manufacture should be seen for what it is .
A crime against humanity.
Take note Jacinda Ardern .

Rich Lentz
Reply to  Graham
October 4, 2022 11:20 am

From the time I was able to eat meat till I joined the Navy I helped raise and eat cattle that were grass fed in the spring through fall and then corn, the entire corn stalk, cob and some hay until it ran out. Local butcher paid top price for our beef. Rarely can I find a USDA “Choice” stake as good as our beef unless its Angus, Our cattle are plain old farm auction cattle.

Old Man Winter
Reply to  Johne Morton
October 3, 2022 8:20 am

Plant-based burgers made the right way!

Last edited 1 month ago by Old Man Winter
Reply to  Old Man Winter
October 3, 2022 8:49 am

Maybe I shouldn’t post an image of how pigs make bacon

Richard Page
Reply to  Redge
October 3, 2022 10:10 am

My dad used to keep a few pigs quite some years ago now but, when they’re born, piglets smell just like cooked bacon!

Reply to  Johne Morton
October 3, 2022 2:00 pm

If we did not graze we have the wild fires from hell on our grass lands

AGW is Not Science
October 3, 2022 7:54 am


So once again, much ado about NOTHING.

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
October 3, 2022 8:59 am

but the indirect impact,caused by the doomsayers & the ‘risk analysts’ that want to change the world are bad for everything (including the indirect impact to the environment).

The bitcoin leaches, that are also ‘risk analysts’, touting a need for more govt control, are the worst.

(they know who they are)

Reply to  AGW is Not Science
October 3, 2022 9:13 pm

True: CO2 is not the control knob of the climate.
And the researchers probably used the same Ouija Board to calculate the “damages”
as the fanatics who calculated the social cost of carbon. Neither are believable.

Having said that, coal derived electricity does produce more actual pollutants [such as heavy metals & ash] if not adequately scrubbed. [See China’s air quality issues]. In that respect, using electricity for more useful purposes than mining Bitcoin might be preferable.
But I am biased: cryptocurrencies seem to me to be kin to a Ponzi scheme.

Paul S
October 3, 2022 8:00 am

So just what is the relative damage of beef production ?

Gunga Din
Reply to  Paul S
October 3, 2022 12:03 pm

Back in the ’90s, before CO2 was the boogeyman, I used to mess around on an “AnimalRights/AnimalWelfare” forum.
Those who wanted to shut farms that raised livestock would quote the percent of water required for agriculture. It is large. I countered with how much of that water was returned to the receiving waters using USGS (’90’s USGS) estimates for both.
No real damage with water. No real damage with CO2.

Reply to  Paul S
October 4, 2022 3:15 am

its upsets vegans?

Reply to  Paul S
October 6, 2022 11:55 am

See my post above .
Green activists made this up and introduced this at the Kyoto Accord.
It was accepted without any discussion or intensive research because it was another weapon that the crazy greens and Dumb politicians could use to attack the worlds food supply .
Beef is high quality protein produced from forage that humans could not digest .

October 3, 2022 8:02 am

False dichotomy. We don’t need to give up either of them.

Clyde Spencer
Reply to  Deva
October 3, 2022 9:28 am

However, I would consider Bitcoin and similar inventions to be an illustration of the fundamental irrationality of humans.

October 3, 2022 9:04 am

Texas has a large and growing bitcoin mining operation. In July, when temperatures were hot and the wind wasn’t blowing (e.g. 7/13/2022 when wind produced about 700MW out of 36,000MW installed capacity when demand exceeded 78,000MW) the bitcoin miners shut down to lessen the demand on the grid. The WEF/Davos and our government want to move to digital currency. Without electricity, that will be a nightmare, along with limits on when you can charge your vehicle, have AC and heat, and power. It’s all by design.

James F. Evans
October 3, 2022 9:12 am

This is absurd in so many ways…

Peta of Newark
Reply to  James F. Evans
October 3, 2022 11:19 am

Exactly. They are counting Dancing Angels – which fairly well is what Bitcoins are.

Gary Pearse
October 3, 2022 9:33 am

What worries totalitarians is that bitcoin provides an avenue to do an end run around barriers to getting wealthy and to freedom. The elites have been busy trying to destroy the market for about a year buying and selling short. This article is a sign that they may have exhausted this strategy.

Reply to  Gary Pearse
October 3, 2022 9:55 am

Funny, I was thinking something similar. Not that I know too much about it other than I bought £500 worth about 3 years ago. Two years later it was worth nearly £5,000. Now it’s worth about £700. Still more than I would have made had I deposited it in a savings account with a conventional bank.

Richard Page
Reply to  HotScot
October 3, 2022 10:13 am

You might have done better investing in real commodities like copper.

John Hultquist
Reply to  Richard Page
October 3, 2022 10:48 am

Or Lithium carbonate.Hot Scot wrote:  Not that I know too much about it ..
You ignored one of Warren Buffett’s rules: Invest in what you know.
The Latest: Warren Buffett says invest in what you know | AP News

Reply to  John Hultquist
October 4, 2022 12:08 pm

I made money.

What’s the problem?

Gunga Din
Reply to  Richard Page
October 3, 2022 12:22 pm

There was a time when $20 dollars was the value of an ounce of gold. $1 dollar was the value of an ounce of silver. A penny was made of copper.
The coin (a $20 dollar gold piece was an ounce of gold, a silver dollar was an ounce of silver), the weight of metal in the coin itself had the buying power of the metal itself.
Gold, silver, copper can be used for something in the real world. They have tangible value.
What tangible value does a “Bitcoin” have?
(Yes, I know that a $20 bill today doesn’t have the buying power of a $20 gold piece. Something else that needs to be addressed someday.)

Frank from NoVA
Reply to  Gary Pearse
October 3, 2022 2:10 pm

What worries some totalitarians is that bitcoin provides an avenue around currency controls, although there’s always the issue of discovery upon converting bitcoin into so-cased legal tender.

For me, I consider it a push between watching one’s ‘traditional’ fiat money being debased over time versus waking up one day to find out that your net worth has gone to zero because the power went out in Mongolia or some exchange got hacked.

dodgy geezer
October 3, 2022 9:34 am

Can we give up environmentalism?

Reply to  dodgy geezer
October 3, 2022 9:56 am

Can we give up environmentalism environmentalists?

October 3, 2022 9:39 am

I dunno….ocean acidification and melting of the polar ice caps seems to correlate with the Bittercoins…storms more virulent too.

October 3, 2022 9:40 am

In El Salvador you buy a juicy steak with bitcoin – it’s legal tender

Gunga Din
Reply to  Strativarius
October 3, 2022 12:26 pm

Can you do the same in Zimbabwe?
I have a $20,000,000,000 bill from Zimbabwe.
What’s the exchange rate in El Salvador? 😎

October 3, 2022 10:17 am

The value of Bitcoin and all other cryptocurrency lies solely in its speculative value. As an actual currency for the regular transactions that billions of people make every day it’s completely useless. It has some utility for an occasional transaction, perhaps where huge sums of money are at stake, but those transactions are already well protected. It grew in value dramatically only because a lot of people have been duped into believing it’s the monetary currency of the future. It’s not. So, yeah, I’ll keep beef for the the win. Giving up a virtually useless monetary system is a no-brainer.

October 3, 2022 10:35 am

That claim is 100% false. There have been many youtubers that show how tiny Bitcoin’s climate impact is. And, no one is doing a real comparison anyway. Bitcoin’s energy usage is a tiny drop in the bucket compared to the energy usage of fiat banking.

Last edited 1 month ago by STRICQ
Gunga Din
Reply to  STRICQ
October 3, 2022 12:40 pm

I didn’t look at your tubes, but, even if I had, what tangible value does a bitcoin have? Can you hold one in your hand?
More importantly, what damage does CO2 do?

Richard Page
Reply to  STRICQ
October 3, 2022 12:55 pm

What backs up bitcoin? We know that currencies are backed by the financial stability (or not) of the country, we know that stocks and shares are ultimately backed by something tangible, a real company, it’s products or a commodity. So what backs up Bitcoin? Nothing and we call that kind of financial irresponsibility a ‘bubble’ and wait for it to burst.

Gunga Din
October 3, 2022 11:25 am

Bottom line, I can own something with a carbon hoofprint or something with an imagery value.
If (when) the bubble burst and nobody wants to buy either my cow or my bitcoin, at least I won’t starve.
(In preparation, it would be wise for me to to buy another cow and a bull.)

The Dark Lord
October 3, 2022 12:43 pm

CO2 is never bad for the “Climate” since it has nothing to do with the “Climate” …

Rhys Jaggar
October 3, 2022 1:51 pm

Plenty of entrepreneurial beef farmers in the UK selling direct to the public – I took a delivery for the winter last week and early testing of the product has been excellent. The beef hub is fairly forthright in their defence of beef rearing and the environment – safe to say they don’t agree with Bill Gates, Extinction Rebellion nor Joe Biden!

Similar situations pertain to pork and lamb – so we will be eating meat through to at least summer 2023!

Unless they start criminalising the rearing of livestock, people can just disintermediate any politicians/supine supermarkets and just buy direct from farmers.

October 3, 2022 1:57 pm

So they want a national digital currency duh

October 3, 2022 2:36 pm

I don’t give a damn about bitcoin or climate grades. But I love rib eye and cheese burgers, yum.

October 3, 2022 2:37 pm

I have read articles that just the “cloud” uses electricity equivalent to 150% of Japans annual usage. There is debate about this but the amounts of energy used are massive.

Reply to  Jock
October 4, 2022 3:28 am

yeah so now you go throw your stored files and pccys out to save the planet
so much for already saving it by NOT using paper and silver and chem to devlop pics that then had lifetimes memories and historical value and access by relatives/descendants/
as the cd was passed by so too will usb and all thats on them too

Dave Andrews
Reply to  Jock
October 4, 2022 6:54 am

What about smartphones? Read that it takes almost as much energy to make one smartphone as it does to make a refrigerator and every year 10 times more smartphones are made than fridges.

October 3, 2022 2:56 pm

See a kangaroo and immediately eat it to Save the Planet!! You know it makes sense.

Richard Page
Reply to  nicholas tesdorf
October 4, 2022 7:00 am

Well you could at least have cooked it first!

October 3, 2022 3:31 pm

Simon Black has a column on crypto today. Interesting!
Check out
Look at the Oct 3 article on the website.

Mike Smith
October 3, 2022 7:58 pm

Darn. I’ve been using BitCoin to buy carbon credits thinking that would solve everything!

October 4, 2022 1:01 am

Personally, I don’t like or want either – but just don’t try to take away my pork!

October 4, 2022 3:10 am

throw in the Eu/worldbank wanting to push ECBC into it to track trace n tax with no holds barred at the same time the minions are after all the other alt coins(seems Banksters fake coinage is carbon free by some miraculous process??)
funny in a twisted way
of course bit ether or ecbc when the eu powers off ALL that funny money will be useless as t*ts on the proverbial bull, that is still there and can be bred from or eaten

Matthew Sykes
October 7, 2022 2:25 am

Rib roast and yorkshire puds, with horseradish….. hhmmmmmm! Bye bye Birtcoin!

October 12, 2022 4:15 am

Let’s hope quantum computing puts an end to that nonsense.

%d bloggers like this: