The current administration tried to bury a report by thirteen governmental agencies noting that we could lose 10 percent of our GDP in the next century due to the wide range of damage coming down the road. A government that’s cutting down on regulations, opening up public lands for drilling, promoting coal as a “clean” energy source, and all the other nightmares currently being implemented as policy is certainly going to try to avoid news like this:
The report puts the most precise price tags to date on the cost to the United States economy of projected climate impacts: $141 billion from heat-related deaths, $118 billion from sea level rise and $32 billion from infrastructure damage by the end of the century, among others.
This follows a similarly harrowing report issued by the UN in September. Right after that report, I talked with Evan Caron, co-founder and managing director of Swytch, about their efforts at tracking carbon emissions with blockchain. He explained his B2B approach at that time:
We partner with cities that have a desire to be more sustainable and more renewable and really understand the levels of renewable, sustainable targets, and make sure that they’re achievable. Then we work with corporations that generate energy from fossil fuels as well as multinational companies that have a mandate for sustainable investment strategies.
Swytch announced that they’ve taken another step toward moving their tracking technology on-chain, following a successful pilot program in Germany that included 3.5 Gw of solar, wind, biogas, and hydro power—enough energy to power a half-million homes. Business Insider covered this historic event, writing,
Reliable energy data is required to orchestrate the grid, design efficient markets and inform effective policy and investment decisions. As the Swytch platform is built with blockchain technology, it frees the data from a centralized governance structure in favor of a distributed approach. The distributed nature of blockchain provides an unprecedented level of trust and transparency.
Currently, solutions to our climate crisis will not come from the top-down given the administration’s economic incentive to maintain the status quo, regardless of how damaging it is to everyone on this planet. As Vox journalist Dave Roberts, who has been covering climate change for some time, recently mentioned on Pod Save America, no amount of reason or logic is going to persuade those who “don’t believe” in climate change. The only effective road ahead is the acquisition of political and economic power. Regulations are necessary for widespread change. Until we reach that point, the status quo wins.
That doesn’t mean we can’t all fight, however. As Swytch is showing, good policy and good economics can go hand-in-hand. As more blockchain projects launch on proof-of-stake platforms—proof-of-work being counter to positive energy usage, unfortunately—we can at least start to show why moving records on-chain makes sense economically. As it goes, we all know politicians follow the money, so let’s lead them in the right direction.