, 2022-10-14 18:42:41,
It’s a June morning in 2022, so early that most homes on Seneca Lake in upstate New York are filled with only the murmur of water lapping on the wooded shores. But in Yvonne Taylor’s house, there’s the hum of grassroots organizing to fight one of the biggest new threats to climate.
Tap, tap, tap.
Taylor is reaching out on Facebook to a stranger in Pennsylvania who posted about the cryptocurrency mining industry coming to her town.
“We’d love to talk with you about this,” Taylor writes. “We’re being impacted by Bitcoin mining in our community too, and [we] are forming a national group of people who are experiencing the harmful effects of this industry.”
The harm from certain types of cryptocurrency is that the production of new virtual coins – known as “mining” – requires a shocking amount of electricity consumption. When that power is produced with fossil fuels, it creates a lot of local pollution and climate emissions.
Bitcoin mining is so energy intensive it’s driving demand for new fossil fuel plants or giving old plants a new life.
At Seneca Lake, a private equity firm bought the once-mothballed Greenidge coal plant in 2014 and converted it to a fracked gas plant. In 2020, that firm started a commercial cryptocurrency mining operation by plugging thousands of computers directly into the plant to mine Bitcoin. The move turned out to be a blunder. An industry that had flown below the radar – too novel to regulate – suddenly stepped…
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