We are failing the planet when it comes to climate change. Four years went by from signing the Paris Agreement, and most of the professionals say global warming will go over the census that was agreed on. This will spell disaster. Not only does this cause climate problems, but climate governance problems, too. We know we have to do something, but how?
Clearly, new structures are required. Blockchain is one tech which has the potential to improve worldwide partnerships on climate action. Blockchain is a data structure that stores information as a series of cryptographically connected blocks distributed at the same time to all who participate on the network. The information kept on a blockchain is resistant to tampering. This is great for having one source of truth for any kind of info.
This tech offers building blocks for decentralized autonomous organizations, which are being considered as possible alternative governance mechanisms at a national level. Yet the advantages of this on global levels can be even bigger.
Think about a decentralized climate NGO, blockchain-based, that allows states, firms and individuals take pare on it and whose interactions are handled by smart contracts. These are parts of a computer code on top of the distributed ledger, which renders them pretty much unstoppable. A normal token, which we can call a green coin, lets climate agreements by states be connected with worldwide climate initiatives and climate action taken on by individuals.
An organization such as this on would assist in the global effort to combat climate change in 3 ways.
1. Stepping up, transparency-wise
Coordinated action to combat climate change calls for better info. One significant task is to make sure that various stakeholders don’t claim carbon credits for the same carbon-offsetting activity, like a couple of firms cashing out for the planting of the same forest.
To steer clear of this double-counting, a publicly viewable blockchain of carbon credits, like the one proposed now by the Pacific Alliance countries, could provide a more cost-effective answer than a central agency settling transfers of carbon credits.
Even harder would be veryfying that carbon-offsetting acrtivities hapened. Distributed ledger tech, in combo with information feeds like internet-of-things gadgets, could spur new sources of info.
In the meantime, smart contracts provide a good way for rewarding critical tasks such as the verification of emission reductions and adapting measures on local levels.
2. Strengthen obligations
Climate change saw a lot of promises that were broken. An example that pops into mind is the one of Donald Trump and his decision for the USA to withdraw from the Paris Agreement. In other nations, there are growing worries that the coronavirus will substantially lessen the fight against climate change that was previously agreed upon.
Distributed leverage tech could solve backsliding risks via smart contracts, if states put in a monetary deposit along with a guarantee of commitment. If states were not to fulfill their emissions reduction aims, the deposit would be then taken and allocated as greencoins for those who abated carbon emissions, via tree-planting, for instance.
Better enforcement of obligations via smart contracts can be done when resources were staked upon agreements. Another advantage of reducing risk is causing better climate commitments from those who don’t want to be taken advantage of by those in power.
3. Growing desire
A non-centralized climate organization would pave the way for progressive international entities to ‘purchase’ pro-climate transformation in nations that are slow to make a move.
For instance, international corporations like Apple, Google, Shell, Walmart, etc., actually criticized removing the USA from the Paris Agreement. In a non-centralized organization, they could have had smart contracts providing compensation to employers in exchange for better government commitment towards economy decarbonization.
A similar advantage to this method would be being more transparent, which would assist those with less power hold big companies responsible. For instance, Microsoft said they want to invest one billion dollars to transform into a carbon-negative company. Great idea, but maybe nothing comes out of it. If the company made a contracted agreement with a stake, they would have to stick to the promise, wit big advantages for all of those whose wealth is dependent on a firm like this respecting their obligation.
A non-centralized climate organization would gather billions in money and bring together lots of those wanting to fight changing conditions on the planet. Any person on a distributed leverage network hooked on the system would be in the position to get greencoins by tree-planting (like BTC mining). This would bring profit since greencoins have worth in reality – they would be connected to itnernational agreements made by nations which staked money on them.
People would be able to buy greencoins in support of the fight, too. By better exchange worth of greencoins, they would offer bonuses for faster planting of trees. Blockchain tech is great for settling such transfers in an automated way, if there are good verification and bonus systems underlying effective non-centralized verification.
Distributed-leverage-based climate governance has advantages that cannot be denied, but these are not easily realized.
Although distributed leverage means the once-recorded data becomes invulnerable to manipulation, nothing can be done to guarantee that the data put onto the distributed leverage can be trusted. Start-ups such as Chainlink have suggested non-centralized information feed networks as a potential answer to the issue, but viable implementations are difficult to locate for some applications.
A distributed-leverage-founded climate organization may never be if people are not keen on joining in. Big nations and firms could be vary of playing a part in a system that requires such transparency and that has automated punishment procedures. But if there is enough traction, maybe they would be more willing to jump onboard.
A virtual body for governing climate change would also ask of people to accept algorithm-governance. This is the hardest task to fulfill.