Guest post by Vincenzo Caccioppoli, consultant expert in economics and marketing and journalist for Affari Italiani.
The connection between climate change and pollution seems to be an incontrovertible fact. Can blockchain technology be a solution?
So, what has been done and what more can be done to find solutions to this critical issue? Until now, apart from conferences and initial measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions into the atmosphere, very little progress has been made. Why then, in order to make progress, don’t we rely on what technology has to offer, such as artificial intelligence and blockchain?
Blockchain, for example, could be a major ally in the difficult task of reducing air pollutants. Its peer-to-peer system reduces costs and increases trust and security in transactions.
This is also being noticed by the United Nations, considering that recently its United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change stated that it would support a blockchain platform to make use of its great potential, precisely in order to achieve better control and reduction of emissions of harmful substances into the atmosphere and increase the search for funds to finance environmental projects.
One of the major problems of climate change is precisely that of finding funds to finance sustainable and environmentalist campaigns. According to the Paris climate agreements, 100 million dollars a year would be needed to finance the poorest countries precisely through actions aimed at limiting the damage caused by climate change.
In reality, only $10 million is the figure that is being disbursed. This is mainly due to bureaucratic difficulties in securing funding. Blockchain, as already seen on several occasions, could be a very useful tool to increase the speed and security of financial transactions that are directed towards the intended purposes.
“Smart contracts could automate payment of grants, making it easier for smaller-scale projects to receive funding and more cost-effective, and less risky for investors,” said at a recent international conference Alastair Marke, general manager of the BCI, who specialises in projects in Africa.
Blockchain technology as a decentralised system allows avoiding a series of intermediate steps that slow down the processes both for financing and for decision making.
In this sense, for example, blockchain could help countries to keep their harmful gas emission targets under control, making them easily traceable and allowing the monitoring to be open to all.
The same goes for the exchange on site of energy produced from renewable sources, which thanks to the blockchain could be direct and without the need for intervention of energy companies, which inevitably slow down the process and also make it rather hazy and opaque.
It is also important not to underestimate what the blockchain can do for the traceability of the agricultural supply chain in the food sector, reducing a whole series of uncertain steps that do not allow the optimisation of the entire lengthy process that goes from production to the final consumer.
An initiative called Plastic Bank, for example, is also trying to create blockchain-based tokens that can be earned by collecting plastic waste to help impoverished communities – first in Haiti and now in several countries around the world. The tokens can be converted into cash, fuel for cooking or education vouchers, among other things.
The same can be said for EarthBi, which is working to eliminate plastic pollution thanks to a new biodegradable material.