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Joseph Pallant: Blockchain’s role in climate change

  • Nina Xu
  • |
  • Feb 11, 2019
Joseph Pallant: Blockchain’s role in climate change

Nina Xu is an HBA ’19 and Sustainability Certificate candidate enrolled in Ivey’s Corporations & Society class. She attended Joseph Pallant’s presentation on February 5 and blogged about the experience.

With blockchain becoming widely adopted as a transaction mechanism, Joseph Pallant, Founder of the Blockchain for Climate Foundation (BfCF), has found an application for the technology that supports international efforts in addressing climate change.

Since the Paris Agreement, carbon reduction has become a global priority. An operating market-based solution overseen by the United Nations Framework Convention for Climate Change currently allows emissions trading between countries to incentivize each nation to reduce carbon consumption. Pallant shared his insights on how blockchain can improve the transparency, security, and resiliency of this trading system.

Application of blockchain in emissions trading 

Blockchain would permit any individual, at the government or citizen level, to verify and access information on emissions trade transactions. This feature allows governments to be held accountable for their carbon reduction efforts. With greater transparency, international collaboration becomes more achievable among nations with complex interests.

BfCF has chosen Canada to be the first country to hold a carbon account on the blockchain – an exciting advancement for both the nation’s and the global community’s efforts to reduce carbon output.

Sustainable advancements in blockchain

A concern that Pallant addressed is the sheer volume of electricity required to process transactions in the blockchain. However, Ethereum has shown that a different method for verification, one that ensures security by holding funds in escrow, is equally effective and has low electricity demand. This new discovery is a promising approach to operating BfCF’s emissions trading system in a sustainable way.

In the face of climate change, entrepreneurs on the frontlines of technology and social impact like Pallant are driving some of the world’s most innovative forms of impact. His presentation inspired students to not only seek business applications from new technologies, but also solutions that advance social and environmental outcomes.