The campaign says: "Switching to a low-energy protocol has proven effective and uses a fraction of the energy. Ethereum is changing its code. Many others use less energy. Why isn't Bitcoin?"
Greenpeace is spearheading a new campaign that calls on Bitcoin to abandon its Proof-of-Work blockchain and move to a more environmentally friendly consensus mechanism.
The "Change the Code, Not the Climate" campaign claims adapting Bitcoin's software code would reduce the amount of energy that the network uses by 99.9%, adding:
"Switching to a low-energy protocol has proven effective and uses a fraction of the energy. Ethereum is changing its code. Many others use less energy. Why isn't Bitcoin?"
It also claims that it would take just 30 people to agree on switching to a low-energy protocol — insisting "key miners, exchanges and core developers who build and contribute to Bitcoin's code" have the power to stop harming the planet.
The movement says high-profile Bitcoiners such as Tesla's Elon Musk and Block's Jack Dorsey — along with the likes of BlackRock, Goldman Sachs and PayPal — "have a responsibility to help Clean Up Bitcoin," adding:
"We know who wields influence over the crypto community, from big tech to big banks."
'Bitcoin Will Drive Devastating Climate Impacts'
The exact impact that Bitcoin mining has on the environment is difficult to quantify — but the campaign cites statistics from the University of Cambridge that indicates this blockchain already uses more energy than the whole of Sweden, warning:
"Unless its price is decoupled from its energy use, Bitcoin will drive devastating climate impacts."
And pointing to how some miners have started purchasing U.S. coal plants to further their operations, Change The Code, Not The Climate alleges that Bitcoin "is resurrecting fossil fuels" and could single-handedly be responsible for helping to warm the planet by more than two degrees.
Change The Code, Not The Climate acknowledged that it's making a big ask and many key stakeholders may be reluctant to heed its calls, writing:
"We know Bitcoin stakeholders are incentivized not to change. Changing Bitcoin would render a whole lot of expensive infrastructure worthless, meaning Bitcoin stakeholders will need to walk away from sunk costs — or find other creative solutions."
The Ethereum blockchain is currently in the process of transitioning to a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism — an ambitious and high-risk project that has been in the works for several years.
PoS will effectively make miners obsolete. Instead, those who have staked ETH to run their own nodes will be responsible for validating transactions — and they'll receive rewards for doing so.
Critics of Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanisms claim they cause a greater degree of centralization — meaning block rewards would be dominated by those who have staked the most tokens.