While moving to proof-of-stake (PoS) contributes to changing the narrative of blockchains being harmful to the environment, there are still many things that the Web3 ecosystem can do to tackle climate change, according to Marek Olszewski, CEO of Celo — an Ethereum layer-2 scaling solution.
Cointelegraph editor Zhiyuan Sun spoke with Olszewski about the threat of climate change, the benefit of using blockchain-based systems for carbon offsets, and various ways that projects can offset their carbon footprint.
According to Olszewski, as climate change remains a threat to humanity, companies and projects are steering toward becoming carbon neutral. He said:
“Climate change is still a systemic threat to our species. I think as a society, we kind of owe it to ourselves to do anything that we can. And I suspect that every project and every company in the next 10 years will probably move to be carbon neutral.”
The Celo executive believes that the broader Web3 ecosystem has been making “really good strides” in terms of being able to change the narrative around blockchain’s impact on the environment. Last year, the community celebrated the Ethereum Merge, the blockchain’s shift from the energy-intensive proof-of-work (PoW) consensus to the more environmentally friendly PoS mechanism.
Olszewski believes that the Merge as well as the move by various teams within Web3 to offset or commit to offsetting their carbon footprints help the space in two ways. Firstly, it attracts people who were previously put off by those who argue that blockchains are not good for the environment. Secondly, the executive highlighted that this leaves room for innovation within the regenerative finance (ReFi) ecosystem.
“At the very least, I think we’ve started to shift the narrative, which I think is both really good for the crypto industry because I think it pulls more people in […] and it’s created a safe space to innovate within the ReFi ecosystem,” Olszewski said.
Related: How blockchains can solve greenwashing and contribute to climate action
Apart from these, the executive also mentioned some benefits of having an on-chain carbon offset system compared to traditional methods. Olszewski said that traditional carbon credit systems are plagued by a lack of transparency. The executive noted that with blockchain, there can be real-time transparency and verification that the carbon offsets are still valid. He said:
“Being able to tie satellite data through an oracle on-chain, you can bring that information and see with certainty that the carbon offsets are doing what they claim they would do.”
When asked about carbon credits and how blockchain-based projects can offset their carbon footprint, the executive gave several examples. According to Olszewski, apart from planting trees, which is the most common way to offset carbon emissions, the executive mentioned restoring habitat for species, direct air capture sequestration and the use of biochar as some of the other ways to offset carbon emissions.
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