Climatecoin: tackling climate change with Ethereum

dennisdennis Member Posts: 3
Climate change is the world's biggest public goods problem. It occurred to me that Bitcoin invented a purely voluntary solution to its own public goods problem: voluntary donation of computation to secure the ledger.

So I've come up with an ethereum subcurrency I'm calling Climatecoin, which mints coins to anyone who donates to offset carbon emissions.

The basic idea is to pay approved carbon offsetters with ether, upon which the contract awards new climatecoins. Coins are denominated in tonnes carbon, total coins minted are equal to total emissions, total coins awarded per tonne of purchased offset is equal to (total emissions)/(total climatecoin offsets), so early adopters get larger rewards.

A rough-draft initial implementation is here:

I've submitted a writeup to ClimateColab, an MIT project crowdsourcing solutions to climate change:

This goes into the rationale and various details. I'm very interested in any suggestions regarding the writeup, currency design, or code.

I've made it into the semi-finalist round, and per the judges' suggestion I'm making modifications so the writeup will be more friendly to people unfamiliar with cryptocurrency. I have seven days to do that, then the judges will pick finalists. From the finalists, winners will be chosen by judges and popular vote.

Winners will present their ideas at a conference at MIT. I've actually pulled this off several times before:

To make this work we'd need at least one carbon offsetter accepting ether donations. This could be either an existing offsetter, or a new organization which accepts ether, converts to cash, and purchases offsets from existing organizations.

To make a significant impact, we'd need to be able to scale up the subcurrency to a very large number of users and transactions. I'm interested in opinions on how feasible this would be, and the best way to go about it. Right now I'm using the basic subcurrency code from samples.


  • dennisdennis Member Posts: 3
    I've made significant changes to the climatecolab writeup, following the judges' suggestions.
  • johnranfordjohnranford Member Posts: 2
    Hi Dennis

    I've not got any experience in coding but I think this is serious and well thought through proposal.

    I am currently working on a project called The Open Pledge which is being incubated with the help of a consortium of international NGOs spanning fields of scientific research, academia, technology, and grass-roots global poverty reduction.

    I would welcome working with you because I believe both our projects would benefit. But first, may I suggest a variation?

    Using high rewards for early adopters to incentivise and grow the market to reach the critical mass may be contentious, particularly among the Sustainability community with egalitarian values. Instead could we would use the large databases of partnering NGOs to facilitate growth? This is the basis of my project, and through my partners I have access to some millions of registered members/activists.

    So I suggest this adaptation:

    As you explain, a crypto-currency is issued on the basis of ‘work done’. The ‘work done’ could be changed to be ‘the act of proving that carbon emissions have been reduced’. For instance if they gain evidence that 1 tonne of carbon emissions has been eliminated - they will receive one coin.

    In this case, the miners could be rewarded with coins if they:
    - eliminate carbon emissions themselves, and gain the proof,
    - prove that someone else (eg a company) has eliminated carbon emissions.
    - persuade a company, for instance, to buy a CarbonCoin to offset their emissions.

    Many people will say that you cannot prove a reduction in carbon emissions. However, the Open Pledge will set out to ensure the highest level of proof through multiple verifications. This could use Ethereum.

    The key tool will be a mobile app available to activists, the public and companies that makes verification of positive impacts easy. The app will be promoted initially by NGOs to activists in their networks.

    My partners aim help me build a business plan to put to international funders at the end of September. I'd really like your input.

    It would be great to be in touch and discuss. I was going to post a separate project, but being new and without any technical expertise I have held back.

    [email protected]

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