Former US Senator Daniel P Moynihan once quipped:
‘Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but not to his own facts.’
As I wrote about two weeks ago, the problem these days is everyone thinks their own opinion is a fact, while opposing views are spin or outright lies.
There’s no room for objectivity in our hyper-partisan world.
Take the raid on former President Trump’s Mar-O-Lago residence last week…
Are we looking at the same thing?
An unprecedented witch hunt?
Or a positive sign that no one — not even an ex-president — is above the law?
Your position probably depends on your politics and who you believe.
Trump was famous for coining the term ‘fake news’, and he’s never been a fan of the mainstream media.
And while part of me thinks that that’s a convenient projection for someone who, let’s face it, is a serial liar, it does have a grain of truth.
Which is why the slur stuck.
Mainstream media outlets, whether on the left or right, are mostly pushing an agenda.
This tweet probably best sums up my own position:
And they’re rarely ‘truth seekers’ when it comes to complex problems.
For example, check out two reactions to nuclear power as an option to be considered as part of our green energy mix.
Here’s the right-wing Sky News:
And here’s left-wing rag, The Guardian:
Source: Market Watch
Two strong viewpoints — both claiming ‘the science’ is on their side.
But when you dive deep into either article, you can tell neither ‘journalist’ is an honest broker on this.
They’re mostly making political arguments.
Which brings me to today’s topic…
Energy is the ‘fake news’ battlefield
I’m continuing on from last week’s discussion on energy and why global targets aren’t in line with reality.
If you remember, I discussed how we’d need a monumental boom in the supply of certain key battery minerals by 2030 if we were to have even a slim chance of reaching global targets.
[Editor’s note: By the way, my colleague Callum Newman thinks he has found several small-cap mining stocks that could be set to benefit from this surging spike in demand. Check out what he’s tipping here…]
I was/am sceptical this will happen in time.
So the follow-up question I’m posing today is this:
If neither renewables nor nuclear are going to come online as fast as we hope, and you believe we need urgent action, shouldn’t all options be on the table?
I’m sure most rational people would say yes.
Which brings me to a much-attacked industry.
Google ‘Bitcoin mining and climate change’, and you’ll get a sea of articles on why it’s terrible for the environment.
But these articles are mostly the very definition of fake news.
They’re rarely based on independent facts and are often from those who hate Bitcoin [BTC] because it’s a form of money they can’t control.
For example, clothes dryers use more energy than Bitcoin mining.
Should we ban the dryers?!?!
Like all good big lies, the truth is diametrically opposed to the lie.
Bitcoin is not only good for the environment but actually good for the sustainability of the energy grid too.
There’s an interesting article you can read about that from international management consultants Roland Berger (not some crypto YouTuber!) if you’re interested.
But I’m not going too deep into that topic today.
Instead, I want to focus on one very specific use case of Bitcoin mining.
And how it could be the short-term answer the world needs to manage our transition to a greener energy mix…
Methane is the low-hanging fruit of greenhouse gases
A new study has just shown that methane is four times more sensitive to global warming than previously thought.
‘The growth of this greenhouse gas — which over a 20 year timespan is more than 80 times as potent than carbon dioxide — had been slowing since the turn of the millennium but since 2007 has undergone a rapid rise, with measurements from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration recording it passing 1,900 parts a billion last year, nearly triple pre-industrial levels.’
Check out the chart:
Source: Vespene Energy
Make no mistake, methane — and not carbon dioxide — is the biggest short-term challenge with regard to greenhouse gases.
Even the UN recently said:
‘Methane is the strongest lever we have to slow climate change over the next 25 years.’
Now, about 40% of methane comes from natural sources such as wetlands, with 60% coming from industries such as cattle, mining, and landfill.
So what can we do?
Enter Bitcoin mining…
In case you didn’t know, Bitcoin mining is a process that helps keep the Bitcoin network secure and decentralised.
It’s a crucial piece of what gives bitcoin value by making miners incur real-world costs for ‘mining’ bitcoin and in turn earning newly minted bitcoin.
You can’t just will bitcoin into existence like you can, well, our current fiat money!
Another unique thing about Bitcoin mining is that it’s not location-dependent.
In other words, you can mine from anywhere there’s access to cheap electricity. You don’t need to be connected to the grid.
Now here’s the thing…
Bitcoin mining to the rescue!
Bitcoin miners located at landfill sites could set up operations to capture and burn excess methane to generate electricity and power Bitcoin mining machines to earn bitcoin.
It would turn the much more harmful methane into the 80-times less-toxic carbon dioxide!
In fact, a recent study (you should read this) suggests Bitcoin mining of methane could reduce global warming by a massive 0.15°C!
It seems a no-brainer…and if it wasn’t for all the false narratives around Bitcoin, I’m sure we’d be singing it from the rooftops.
Smart solutions like this give us enough time to adapt and for the other CO2 reduction methods we have at our disposal to kick in.
Attacking methane now is crucial from everything I’ve seen from the data.
Now…not in five years!
The good news is, it’s actually starting to happen.
For example, a company called Vespene Energy just raised US$4.3 million to target methane mining operations.
‘Our goal is to mitigate a major source of greenhouse gas emissions and help fuel the transition to a renewable energy future by using bitcoin mining to turn landfill methane streams into revenue streams for our customers.’
And here’s a nice video of an Irish farmer using animal waste to mine bitcoin, which again helps reduce harmful methane emissions.
These pioneers are quiet heroes actually doing something practical and achievable to help the environment.
But they have to put up with constant attacks from a media that has decided bitcoin is ‘bad’, no matter the truth of the matter.
Prepare yourself with facts
You’ll likely hear a lot of attacks on Bitcoin mining over the next year or two.
I want to prepare you for that in advance.
But if you hear someone claiming to be ‘green’ that doesn’t at least entertain the viability of solutions such as the above, you can pretty much bet they’re not honest critics.
They’re simply pushing an agenda.
You have to do your own research and keep an open mind when it comes to both bitcoin and energy policy.
Because when it comes to energy and money — as large parts of the world are finding out right now — facts matter.
So think carefully…
Editor, Money Morning