The World Economic Forum recently released a lengthy report on blockchain technology’s ability to improve our current methods to combat environmental protection issues, as well as create entirely new ones. The report highlights the six major areas of the environment that humans are causing harm and eight broad features of blockchain technology that are beneficial for the issues at hand. Within those six key areas, they found 65 unique use cases.
Six “Global Challenge Areas”
Climate Change - precipitation changes, extreme storms, sea level inconsistencies, coastal inundation and unprecedented heatwaves are causing drastic problems in people’s security, economic well-being and health.
Biodiversity and Conservation - deforestation rates in the Amazon Basin may lead to an 8% drop in regional rainfall by 2050. This could trigger a “savannah state” where Earth’s atmospheric circulatory systems are completely altered.
Healthy Oceans - roughly 8 million tons of plastic are expected to enter the oceans each year. This accumulates in the food chain and find their way into humans, an estimated 6,400 microplastics per year are ingested by the average European shellfish consumer.
Water Security - water scarcity is a reality for 1.9 billion people, and that number is expected to rise to 3 billion by 2050. Microplastics were found in 83% of tap water samples around the world and more than 90% of bottled water.
Clean Air - about 7 million people die annually from exposure to air pollution, which comes to one death out of every eight globally.
Weather and Disaster Resilience - weather events caused about $330 billion in damages last year, and most is not covered by insurance. 23 million people were displaced in these events.
Fourth Industrial Revolution
These challenges are paramount for the continued improvement to quality of life around the globe. Their onset also coincides with an era of unprecedented innovation, technical change and global connectivity, which the report refers to as the Fourth Industrial Revolution.
“This industrial revolution, unlike previous ones, is underpinned by the established digital economy and is based on rapid advances in technologies such as blockchain, artificial intelligence, the Internet of Things, robotics, autonomous vehicles, biotechnology, nanotechnology and nascent quantum computing among others. It is also characterized by the way in which the combination of these technologies increasingly merges the digital, physical and biological realms, and collectively increases the speed, intelligence and efficiency of business and societal processes.”
8 Blockchain Features For Change
This new phase could allow unforeseen blockchain-enabled innovation through its computational architecture and wide range of potential uses. The report identifies eight “game changers” that could disrupt, or substantially optimize, the systems that addressing many environmental challenges.
““See-through” supply chains”: Transparency creates an opportunity to increase efficiency of supply and demand, build resilience to changes and enable more sustainable production of food, logistics and consumer choice.
“Decentralized and sustainable resource management”: blockchain platforms could collate distributed data on resources such as household-level water and energy data from smart sensors. Further, decentralized decision-making could facilitate peer-to-peer transactions, dynamic pricing and optimal demand-supply balancing.
“Raising the trillions” – finance platforms could allow retail-level investment in green infrastructure projects with a blend of finance and charitable donations for developing countries.
“Incentivizing circular economies”: the way that raw materials and natural resources are valued and traded could be overhauled to incentivize individuals, companies and governments to unlock financial value from things that are currently wasted, discarded or treated as economically invaluable.
“Transforming carbon (and other environmental) markets”: cryptographic tokens with a tradable value could optimize existing market platforms for carbon and new carbon credit transactions.
“Next-gen sustainability monitoring, reporting and verification”: a new wave of accountability and action would be built into blockchain systems for a more complete picture for managing risk and reward regarding the environment.
“Automatic disaster preparedness and humanitarian relief”: an interoperable decentralized system would facilitate rapid automated transactions with smart contracts to improve efficiencies in the immediate aftermath of disasters.
“Earth-management platforms”: value-based transactions could monitor, manage and enable market mechanisms that protect the global environmental conditions.
By: BGN Editorial Staff