Innovation for a better future: Can blockchain help fight climate change?

Published on 13 July 2023 by in Research

How can blockchain help combat climate change


Droughts, wildfires, flooding, extreme weather – these are just a few of the impacts climate change has on our planet. Our excessive burning of fossil fuels from the Industrial Revolution onward is disturbing the atmosphere and is warming the planet at a faster rate than both humans and nature can adapt to. With the UN warning us that we likely only have 10 to 12 years to truly turn around this crisis, it has become a race against time. Yet, many efforts and policies to tackle climate change and reduce emissions take a long time before implementation and are plagued by endless political discussions and resistance from the public and industries. 

Still, people are developing new methods and technologies that can help us to combat climate change. The field of blockchain technology is a relatively new sector that might have promising solutions to offer in our fight to cut back emissions. Because we at Masternode want to help create a better world, we’d like to highlight how blockchain technology could help in mitigating climate change, for example by making emissions more traceable, managing carbon credits, and promoting the decentralized peer-to-peer sale of renewable energy.

About climate change

Before we dive into blockchain technology, it is helpful to have a brief overview of what climate change is and what its main causes are, so that we can understand how blockchain technology can target these causes.

What is climate change?

Climate change refers to the long-term changes in the earth’s climate patterns, specifically due to human activities that release enormous amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. These gases trap heat from the sun within the atmosphere, causing the planet to warm up. As the planet warms, sea levels rise due to melting ice, extreme weather events become more frequent due to unstable atmospheric conditions, ecosystems are being disrupted because nature cannot keep up with the environmental changes, and global climate patterns change, potentially disrupting agriculture and living conditions in many regions. 

What are greenhouse gases?

Greenhouse gases are at the core of the climate change problem. Greenhouse gases are gases that can trap heat from the sun, contributing to a greenhouse effect that leads to global warming. This warming effect is essential for supporting life on Earth, but human activities have rapidly increased the concentration of these gases, causing the planet to warm more than it should naturally. The rate at which this happens is also up to several hundred times higher than it is in the natural cycle of warm and cold periods. 

The main greenhouse gases are carbon dioxide (CO2), methane (CH4), and nitrous oxide (N2O). The largest source of these gases are human activities, mainly the burning of fossil fuels for transportation, industry and heating, and emissions from agricultural activities such as livestock farming.

Because us humans are the source of these excess emissions, we are also one of the key factors in turning global warming around.

So how can blockchain technology help against climate change?

In recent years, blockchain technology has emerged as a potential tool to help address climate change and the mitigation of this. Blockchain offers new and innovative solutions that can help in decreasing our emissions. In this section, we will highlight a few of the opportunities that blockchain technology provides us in our combat against global warming. 

Monitoring of emissions

In order to effectively cut back emissions, it is helpful to know what the biggest sources of emissions are, both on a global scale and more locally. Blockchain technology offers a promising tool for the monitoring and reporting of emissions. It provides a transparent and immutable system for tracking emissions across sectors and borders. By leveraging the decentralized and tamper-resistant nature of blockchain, the monitoring and reporting process can become more reliable, efficient, and trustworthy.

Traditionally, the measurement and reporting of emissions have relied on centralized systems that are susceptible to human error, data manipulation, and lack of transparency. Blockchain technology addresses these challenges by creating a decentralized ledger where emission data can be securely recorded, verified, and shared among stakeholders. With real-time data availability, regulators, auditors, and other relevant parties can access accurate and up-to-date information on emissions. This can help in more effective decision-making and policy implementation.

Furthermore, blockchain-based systems can facilitate greater accountability and transparency in emission reporting. As data is recorded on the blockchain, it becomes traceable throughout the entire lifecycle, from generation to consumption. This transparency helps reduce the risk of false reporting, fraud, and data manipulation. It will help to keep the largest polluters accountable.

Managing carbon credits

Another way in which blockchain can help combat climate change is by providing a robust way to create and manage carbon credits. Carbon credits are a concept used to encourage and incentivize the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The basic idea is that businesses and organizations can buy carbon credits, which permits the holder to have a certain amount of emissions. If a company has lower emissions than it has credits, it can sell the excess credits to other companies that wants or needs to have more emissions than they have credits. The purpose of carbon credits is to create a financial mechanism that encourages and rewards emission reductions. After all, reducing emissions leads to income from selling the left over carbon credits. 

Blockchain technology can play a large role in managing the trade of carbon credits. It provides a decentralized and transparent platform to record and verify carbon credit transactions, that is resistant to change and fraud. Blockchain technology can also be used to trace the origin of emission reductions by creating a transparent record of the entire supply chain. This enables the verification of emission reduction projects and ensures that the claimed reductions are genuine and accurately represented. Furthermore, blockchain-based platforms can facilitate the trading of carbon credits in a more efficient and decentralized manner, especially across borders.

Peer-to-peer trade of renewable energy

Many view renewable, sustainable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, as one of the best solutions to reduce our emissions from fossil fuels. The decentralized infrastructure of blockchains can provide a platform on which people and organizations can trade renewable energy peer-to-peer, without the need for a central party such as a utility company. With more and more people having solar panels on their houses, this application of blockchain technology is especially promising. In times that someone’s solar panels generate more electricity than that person or household uses, the excess electricity could be sold to people whose solar panels do not generate enough energy at that moment. This peer-to-peer energy trading reduces reliance on centralized energy grids and promotes the use of renewable sources, facilitating a more sustainable and efficient energy ecosystem. 

Through this application, blockchain technology can also stimulate the further adoption of renewable energy sources by people, as they can directly profit from the energy they generate. 

Another way in which blockchain technology can stimulate the use of renewable energy is by introducing tokenized systems. Such a system rewards participants with digital tokens or credits if they generate or consume renewable energy.

Transparency of the supply chain

If consumers want to choose the more sustainable option, it is important that they have access to correct and reliable information about the environmental footprint of products. However, due to the complex and often cross-border supply chains of many products today, it is often unclear whether the sustainability claims companies make are true. Blockchain can improve the transparency and traceability of the supply chain of products. By recording and verifying supply chain transactions on the blockchain, it becomes easier to trace the origin and environmental impact of products. Not only can this help consumers make the right choice, it can also help in identifying inefficiencies, reduce waste, and promote sustainable practices throughout the supply chain.

More transparency in funding climate mitigation efforts

Finally, another major way in which blockchain technology can play a role in combating climate change is by providing a transparent way to finance climate mitigation efforts. By using blockchain, it becomes easier to track and verify the allocation of funds for climate change projects, such as renewable energy installations, reforestation initiatives, or adaptation programs. This enhances accountability and encourages the flow of funds towards projects that have a positive environmental impact.


In the race against time to combat climate change, blockchain technology offers numerous promising applications that might help us in our efforts. Blockchain’s unique features such as transparency, immutability, and decentralization offer innovative solutions to address the causes and impacts of climate change. It could help in areas such as the management of carbon credits, trading renewable energy, and improving supply chain management and transparency. 

Despite recurring limitations, such as the scalability challenge, blockchains can play a large role in helping us work together towards a greener, more sustainable future for generations to come.