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Crypto and climate change: Can blockchain tech stop global warming? – Yahoo News

Watch: Crypto and climate change: Can blockchain tech stop global warming? | The Crypto Mile

Blockchain technology has been hailed as the future of global finance, but now a new subsection of the cryptocurrency ecosystem, called Regenerative Finance, claims it will solve the imminent threat of global warming.

In mid-November, heads of state met at Cop 27 in Egypt to discuss a framework for dealing with the immediate threat of global warming.

However, the commitment from nation-states to tackle what could become an existential threat to humanity still remains vague and irresolute.

Environmental and political activist George Monbiot gave a damning assessment of what was achieved at Cop 27 and said: “Our leaders had a final chance to halt climate breakdown. They failed each and every one of us.”

Read more: Bitcoin and ethereum are not securities, Belgium declares

At this late hour, can blockchain-based industries intercede and offer a more effective and efficient alternative to the prevailing ‘greenwashing’ that has stalled attempts to mitigate climate change?

This week’s episode of The Crypto Mile checks in with Paul Gambill, CEO of carbon-removal marketplace Nori, to find out about Regenerative Finance, or ReFi, which aims to use the innovations of blockchain technology to help the world transition to a low carbon economy.

What is ReFi?

Yahoo Finance asked Gambill to provide a definition of Regenerative Finance, or ReFI, he said:

“It really started to take off in 2021 with the idea that we can utilise blockchain and crypto tools to create platforms… that help solve climate change and other environmental problems.”

Loudi Lokoriyeng' from the Turkana pastoralist community affected by the worsening drought due to failed rain seasons, watches while his goats drink water as Tina Ekiro collects water from an open well dug on a dry riverbed in Loyoro village of Kalokol in Turkana, Kenya September 28, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Farmers across Africa have endured many years of drought. Photo: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters

The UN’s IPCC report on climate change

According to a recent UN report on climate change report, global temperatures have already risen 1.1ºC above the pre-industrial level and by 2030 an estimated 700 million people will be at risk of displacement by drought alone.

The report explains how the world is on a “fast track” to disaster unless actions are enacted to reduce the amount of CO2 in the atmosphere.

UN Secretary-General António Guterres has warned that it is “now or never” for the world to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees.

The UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said that reductions in the amount of carbon in the atmosphere can be achieved through scalable changes such as the electrification of transport in and enhanced carbon uptake and storage using nature.

Read more: Sam Bankman-Fried ‘to break his silence’ over catastrophic FTX collapse

One way to incentivise industry to lower its carbon footprint is to put a price on carbon and create “carbon markets” were companies can pay for CO2 removal to offset their emissions.

Paul Gambill argues that the challenges faced by the carbon market can be solved “elegantly” with blockchain technology.

Speaking to Yahoo Finance he said: “In 2015 when I was first researching this space I was looking at how big the market was.

“I was reading analyst reports to try and understand how much money were people paying for carbon and how many tons of CO2 were being paid for.

“What I discovered is that there are both primary and secondary sales of CO2.

“Why would you sell a ton of CO2 more than once? When the action is done, the CO2 is voided, it has been removed and the benefit to the planet has been done. Why would you have a secondary market after that?

“So, if we want to have real significant impact we need to redesign the carbon market from the ground up using blockchain technology that can transparently show that every dollar spent on carbon results in net new carbon coming out of the atmosphere.”

Read more: Bitcoin and ethereum are not securities, Belgium declares

Nori, a blockchain-based carbon removal solution

Nori is a crypto-platform that links companies that use technology or farming techniques to remove carbon from the atmosphere with companies that want to become carbon neutral, or even carbon negative.

Nori has created a marketplace for carbon removal, starting with regenerative agriculture projects that store carbon in the soil, to help repair the climate of the planet.

Using the Nori method of CO2 sequestration, whenever carbon is removed from the air an asset is created called an NRT, or Nori Removal Ton.

This is actually an NFT that gets sold from the supplier (a farmer that removes a ton of carbon from the atmosphere) to the buyer (a company needing to offset their carbon footprint) it goes into the buyers digital wallet. It is nontransferable and is owned by the buyer forever and is visible so that that company can show their stakeholders that they have been meeting their carbon removal commitments.

The founder of Nori Paul Gambill said: “Nori has been around a lot longer, before there was anything even called ReFi.

“We started in 2017 and what we are is a carbon removal marketplace.”

“It is an acknowledgement that climate change is a pretty straightforward problem. In fact, there is just way too much carbon dioxide floating up there in the atmosphere.

“Carbon isn’t evil or immoral or anything like that, it is just in the wrong location and we have to move it.

“If we want to get people to move the carbon, we need some sort of incentive to do so.

“What our market place does is that we connect the people who are moving the carbon dioxide from the atmosphere with buyers, who are companies and businesses who are trying to become carbon neutral.

Farmer touching his crop with his hand. Italy. Europe. (Photo by: Daniele Orsi/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group via Getty Images)

Carbon removal schemes can mean that farmers are paid to sequester carbon in their soil by increasing organic matter. Photo: Daniele Orsi/REDA&CO/Universal Images Group/Getty

Carbon removal

Gambill states that there is only one commercially viable and scalable method for removing carbon from the atmosphere at present, and that is and that through “soil organic carbon processes”.

The Nori CEO explained the ‘soil organic carbon’ process and said: “This means farmers changing their farming practices in a way that ends up building up the organic matter in their soil, increasing the quantity of microbes and fungi in the soil. This is called regenerative agriculture which increases the amount of carbon in the soil”

Read more: Coinbase share price hits all-time low but one whale keeps buying

How to use decentralised finance to invest in ReFi initiatives

One way investors can get involved in ReFi is to utilise decentralised finance platform like Cargo Finance and become a liquidity provider for regenerative economy initiatives such as Toucan.

Co-founder of Cargo Finance Jaasir Ali explained: “An investor can deposit Nature Carbon Tonne from tokens from toucan.earth or Moss Carbon Credit tokens from moss.earth and start receiving returns alongside cUSD or Celo starting today.”

In light of the collapse of FTX and subsequent freezing of customer withdrawals on multiple crypto-lending platforms, Ali stressed that users always maintain control over their funds when using DeFi products such as Cargo Finance. Funds always stay on individual wallets and can be withdrawn at anytime.

He added: “ReFi is a growing industry, where circular economies and nature backed assets become realised. There are a number of blockchain projects fostering community development around these ideas such as Celo and ChangeBlock.”

An elephant affected by the worsening drought due to failed rain seasons, stands inside the Mgeno conservancy in Mwatate Sub-County, Taita Taveta County, Kenya November 8, 2022. REUTERS/Thomas Mukoya

Elephants help to sequester carbon by maintaining heathy soil and providing lots of nutritious dung for fungi and insects to feast on. Photo: Thomas Mukoya/Reuters.

Rebalance Earth

Another example of an initiative that is using blockchain technology to “leverage technology and local communities to protect keystone species and support ecosystems” is Rebalance Earth.

Yahoo Finance spoke to crypto-influencer Sang Vu who described Rebalance Earth as one of the more viable blockchain use cases in the ReFi space.

She said: “The aim of Rebalance Earth is to protect African Forest Elephants, which contribute significantly to carbon capture and sequestration, valued at $1.75M per elephant over their lifespan of 60 years by the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

“Given this high value, entities which need to offset their carbon footprint can fund the preservation of the elephants via smart contracts on the blockchain.

“This creates a triple win situation: for the elephants, which are on the critically endangered list, for the local rangers and communities paid to protect the elephants, and for the entities which need to offset their carbon emissions.

“There is also a convergence of Advanced Tech: Blockchain Tokenisation, Internet of Things (IoT) Sensors and AI to track the carbon capture and sequestration process.

“I see that the convergence of such Advanced Tech will be essential in the fight against climate change to create transparent, trackable, traceable systems and processes which incentivise the right behaviours.”

A study published in Nature states that forests where elephants live capture and store 7% more carbon in comparison to forests where they are not present.

In September 2020, the IMF (International Monetary Fund) published a research estimating that each elephant contributes to carbon sequestration services worth more than $1.75M over a lifespan of 60 years.

Watch: Get your money off exchanges’ warns Bitboy Crypto after FTX scandal | The Crypto Mile

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