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Menopausal Mother Nature

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Opinion | Bitcoin’s Effect on Global Warming – The New York Times

To the Editor:

Re “Battle Brewing Over Regulating Cryptocurrency” (front page, May 10):

Cryptocurrency’s race ahead of regulation exemplifies the pace at which the technologically feasible becomes the inexorable.

While lobbyists for Ripple Labs and other cryptocurrency purveyors are busy fending off oversight by the Securities and Exchange Commission here in the United States, too little attention is being given to the industry’s astounding impact on our global environment.

As Bill Gates told The New York Times, “Bitcoin uses more electricity per transaction than any other method known to mankind.” The power consumed by that company alone exceeds the total electric demand of many countries.

But how can the global warming impacts of cryptocurrency be responsibly managed? With computer networks around the world churning out the necessary data, country-by-country regulations will fall woefully short of controlling the greenhouse gas emissions generated by cryptocurrency.

Imposing a global carbon tax on cryptocurrency would be a formidable challenge, but there may be no other way to monetize the pollution caused by this energy juggernaut.

Philip Warburg
Newton, Mass.
The writer is a senior fellow at Boston University’s Institute for Sustainable Energy.

To the Editor:

Re “Teenage Girl Killed by Officer in Columbus Ached to Go Home” (front page, May 9):

One intervention that might have saved Ma’Khia Bryant would have been to provide adequate housing and services to keep her together with her grandmother.

I was myself at age 13 removed from my grandmother’s house and placed into foster care, a trauma from which I spent most of my adult life recovering. Whatever the problems in my grandmother’s house, it was my home and my family.

Shoring up a family already in place would serve children’s needs more effectively — and more economically — than forcing them into disorganized and poorly funded foster care systems. And it would obviate the need for scapegoating individuals when those systems fail.

Francine Cournos
Bronx
The writer is a professor of clinical psychiatry at Columbia University and the author of “City of One: a Memoir.”

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