Norway’s government is looking at ways to reduce the negative environmental effects of crypto mining. They may also support Swedish suggestions to this end. The European Commission has revealed it is already working to promote a transition to “more sustainable” protocols.
Norway Minister Insists That Extensive Mining Use Of Renewable Energy Is Not Justifiable
Authorities in Norway are mulling over potential policy measures to deal with the effects of crypto mining on the environment, the country’s minister responsible for local government and regional development has indicated. The review will see the Norwegian government examine solutions that were recently presented by Swedish regulators, and consider implementing common European regulations. Speaking to Euronews Next, Minister Bjørn Arild Gram also stated:
While crypto mining and the technology behind it may have some benefits over time, the current high use of renewable energy is not justified.
These countries have become popular places for crypto miners, as has Iceland and another Nordic country. This region has high renewable energy reserves and low electricity rates. Eurostat data from the first half 2021 shows that Norway was the country with the lowest electricity prices for consumers outside of households in the European Economic Area. More than 90% of the energy it uses comes from hydroelectric power.
Bjørn Gram’s statement comes after the directors of Sweden’s financial services and environmental protection agencies called for imposing a ban on proof-of-work mining across the European Union, after a multifold increase of energy usage by bitcoin miners in the country this year. “Sweden needs the renewable energy targeted by crypto asset producers for the climate transition of our essential services, and increased use by miners threatens our ability to meet the Paris Agreement,” the officials warned.
“Overall, we want our renewable energy to be used in a way that creates value and that supports the transition to a climate neutral society,” Minister Gram elaborated. These comments were part of heated discussions in Norway about the potential use of renewable energy for digital coin minting. This is after Oslo granted tax breaks to data centers. The country’s new environment minister, Espen Barth Eide, has in the past expressed concerns over Norway becoming the “world’s Bitcoin mine” at the expense of its own power-intensive industries.
European Commission urges crypto miners to abandon proof-of-work concept
Regional Development Minister Bjørn Gram did not provide any specific details regarding the regulatory policies the Norwegian government is currently considering. If Norway follows in the steps of Sweden it could lead to a crackdown against crypto mining operations which require large amounts of energy.
Meanwhile, the European Commission (EC), which would be responsible for enforcing crypto regulations in the EU, has admitted that it’s already encouraging the crypto mining industry to “migrate applications” from energy-intensive proof-of-work blockchains to less demanding protocols like proof-of-stake and hybrid consensus models, Euronews Next revealed. A spokesperson for the executive body told the publication that the EC is working to promote “more sustainable forms of blockchain technologies.”
The Commission, the representative added, has “ambitious emission reduction targets” and promotes the advancement of less energy-intensive blockchain technologies through funding for startups and direct development of a public sector blockchain network. The official said that although the Paris Climate Agreement is not intended to ban crypto mining as it was referred by Swedish regulators. However, Brussels has been made aware of recent developments in China and will be discussing the issue with EU members.
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