Does Elon Musk really care about this planet?

When Elon Musk announced that Tesla corporation will no longer accept Bitcoin as payment because of the energy consumption associated with Bitcoin mining, many people applauded him. They did so because they thought the billionaire really care about the planet and the issue of climate change.

According to Cambridge Bitcoin Electricity Consumption Index, Bitcoin consumed about 9.09 Terawatt-hour of electricity in June 2022 alone. That is about 9.09 x 109 Kilowatt-hour. The cost of generating electricity varies depending on the source and inflation rate.

Thus, estimating the current cost of generating one Kilowatt-hour of electricity might be a long call as far as this blog is concerned. However, a report published by moneysupermarket estimated that a total of 1173 Kilowatt-hour of electricity is consumed by each Bitcoin transaction, irrespective of the amount involved.

According to their calculation, 1173 Kilowatt-hour of electricity costs about $176. That is the amount burned even when you send 1 satoshi. Ridiculous, you will agree. But there is more to it apart from the cost. The real problem is the effects that electricity generation produces on the climate.

According to the data published by the Center for Global Development in Science Daily, the world's electrical power generation industry produces up to 10 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide yearly. We all know how notorious carbon dioxide is when it comes to global warming.

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Image by NASA HQ PHOTO on flicker

So, is Elon Musk really a hero for not promoting the usage of Bitcoin as a legal tender? Well, he can be applauded for the move on one hand. On the other hand, he can be called a villain when it comes to his space tourism program. Yea, you heard right.

Thanks to Elon Musk's SpaceX project, it is now possible for non-scientists to take a jaunt into space. In actual fact, a couple of trips have been successfully made in this regard. Of course, it bores down to affordability. One must be able to fund his or her hobbies.

While visiting space just for sightseeing is great, the impact that rocket launching has on the planet cannot be said to be the same. Remember, you will need to launch a rocket before standing a chance of visiting space.

Rocket engines require fuels in the form of liquid hydrogen and oxygen. In addition, a boost may be needed in the form of ammonium perchlorate to get the rocket off the ground depending on how heavy the rocket is. Hydrogen peroxide also comes in handy in the case of thrust correction while on the journey.

Particularly, Elon Musk's SpaceX's Falcon 9 uses fossil-based fuel known as RP1 in combination with liquid oxygen. The burning of such fuels has been found to generate a copious number of greenhouse gases, including carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide, and water vapour.

The level of pollution may not be noticeable or of major concern now because trips have been few, far, and in-between. The same might not be said in the nearest future when the rich folks decide to start funding their dreams.

Does Elon Musk know all these about his space project? I am certain he does. Perhaps he just does not care because Mars is waiting to be taken and or the profit is too enticing to stop. I really do not see a negative effect in stopping a few rich folks from destroying the planet for their pleasure.

To me, the Bitcoin announcement is a gimmick to cause the crypto market to react in a particular direction. If he really cares about the planet, he will first put a halt to the inconsequential space jaunts he organizes every now and then.

What do you think?

Posted with STEMGeeks



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