This afternoon at COP27, the world's largest gathering on climate action, a group of Web3 companies convened by ConsenSys and Allinfra, joined civil society leaders and the UNFCCC Climate Innovation Hub, to announce the creation of the Ethereum Climate Platform (ECP).
Its mission is to incentivize and fund the development of real-world projects that will mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and deliver positive environmental and social impact long into the future. Founding members of the Platform launch team include AAVE, Art Blocks, Celo, CodeGreen.Org, Enterprise Ethereum Alliance (EEA), ERM, Filecoin Green, Gitcoin, Global Blockchain Business Council (GBBC), Huobi Global, Laser Digital (Nomura), Microsoft, Polygon, The Climate Collective, UPC Capital Ventures, and W3bcloud, in collaboration with Gold Standard.
The commitment of the Platform is to redress and counteract the Ethereum-based carbon footprint dating back to the network’s launch in 2015. It will invest in ongoing science-based climate projects which promise to mitigate in excess of Ethereum's past emissions by leveraging Web3 native technologies, infrastructure, funding mechanisms and governance protocols.
In addition to financing and otherwise supporting projects which deliver decarbonization at scale, the ECP will support new and innovative solutions in need of market validation, ensuring they will achieve tangible impact. These projects could range from nature-based carbon opportunities to green hydrogen, zero carbon power, heating, cooling and other utilities, to carbon removal projects, technologies and ecosystem services.
It is intended that the Platform’s climate mitigation strategy will be guided by a formal advisory process with leading players in the global environment space. Designees of aligned Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) and Intergovernmental Organizations (IGOs), plus representatives of regional and international climate organizations such as the Climate Collective, and other expert entities like sustainability consultancy ERM, are some of the stakeholders being engaged.
The announcement is being hosted at the UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub at COP27. The Global Innovation Hub, launched in November 2021, aims to promote transformative innovations for a low-emission and climate-resilient future. The Hub facilitates climate solutions aligned with the UN’s SDGs.
Hosted by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the Innovation Hub leverages the convening power and climate leadership of the UN with the dynamism of the private sector. The Hub will provide a global cross-disciplinary community of practice with an opportunity to share ideas and design climate solutions in a spirit of radical collaboration.
Counteracting Ethereum's past carbon footprint
This announcement comes only two months after the Merge, the ambitious re-architecture of the world’s largest open programmable blockchain that also represents the largest known decarbonization event of any industry in history.
After seven years of development, the transition to Proof of Stake made Ethereum become the first global collective climate action to shed, through innovation, more than 99.992% of its carbon footprint, according to the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute (CCRI).
While this shift represents a significant environmental step forward, the technology leaves behind an estimated carbon debt in the tens of millions of metric tons. One of the first projects to be undertaken by the Platform’s launch partners will be to underwrite a study to attain the most accurate estimate with respect to these past emissions.
"The Merge set a new and extremely high bar for climate mitigation across the entire business and financial sector. It demonstrated that through sheer force of collective will, we can successfully drive technological decisions that massively reduce carbon output. But the climate crisis requires more radical change. This is why we are excited to come together with collaborators from among the most prominent actors from Web2 and Web3, as well as civil society leaders to accelerate climate innovations through the Ethereum Climate Platform," said Joseph Lubin, Founder and CEO of ConsenSys, CoFounder of Ethereum.
"Funding high-quality green projects is critical in the fight to mitigate human-driven climate change," added Bill Kentrup, co-founder at Allinfra.
Yet, historically, the process of deploying capital to the right projects and assessing their real impact has lacked transparency, efficiency and timeliness. We are pleased to have the opportunity to design and launch a better Web3-enabled climate finance platform and we acknowledge the outstanding advice and counsel of the UN Climate Change Global Innovation Hub over the past months in the draft design of this novel approach. We look forward to the opportunity for the Platform to further engage with strategic leaders across climate and Web3 in collaborative efforts over the coming years.
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The platform is being built for and by the Ethereum ecosystem but the intention is to serve as a model to the global tech and business community to offset their own historic carbon footprint.
"We’re delighted to bring Microsoft’s history of leadership and experience with science-based sustainability approaches to this broader effort," said Yorke Rhodes III, board member of the EEA and cofounder of blockchain at Microsoft. “Core to our collaboration on this initiative is to assist the Ethereum community to chart an informed path forward.”
“With The Merge, Web3 showcased two of its core traits, innovation and speed. Both are critical to delivering climate solutions in our current crisis," added Sandeep Nailwal Co-Founder of Polygon. "We are excited to join forces with Consensys and our colleagues from web2 and web3 to tackle one of the most pressing challenges we face as citizens of the global community. The Ethereum Climate Platform is an important cross-collaborative initiative to tackle the climate crisis. By working together, we will strive to affect real and lasting change that will provide a better reality for all."
How to join the initiative
The ECP invites stakeholders from the Web3 space, climate technology and carbon market companies entering Web3, committed to decarbonization and global organizations seeking to eradicate their own historic carbon debt, to join the initiative by completing this form. In addition, civil society organizations are invited to put their extensive experience in climate action projects at the service of the Platform.
Editor's Note: This article was contributed by Samuel Akpan, PR manager at ConsenSys, a leading Ethereum software company.