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UN Researches Blockchain for Climate Change with New Coalition

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On the 22nd of January, the UN released a blog post announcing the creation of the Climate Change Coalition (CCC). The CCC’s purpose is to research use cases for blockchain technology and how it can help fight climate change.

The UN believes that blockchain technology can strengthen monitoring, reporting, and verification of the impacts of climate change by improving “transparency, traceability, and cost-effectiveness of climate action.” Blockchain technology can also build trust among climate actors and ensure that even the poorest can access incentive mechanisms for climate action.

The CCC will research blockchain technology and rollout pilot projects to test its viability. The global initiative currently has 32 members and 25 organizations involved in the research and implementation of blockchain technology.

The Climate Chain Coalition and its membership charter

On the 12th of December, 2017 during the One Planet Summit, a multi-stakeholder group of 25 organizations working on blockchain technology, held a meeting and decided to establish a global initiative called the Climate Chain Coalition (CCC).

The CCC’s mission is to, “advance collaboration among members…to help enhance the environmental integrity and results of DLT [distributed ledger technology] applications for the climate.”

Massamba Thioye, a member, leading the UN Climate Change’s blockchain network agreed and stated that “the UN Climate Change secretariat recognizes the potential of blockchain technology to contribute to enhanced climate action and sustainability.” Blockchain technology will, therefore, help mobilize climate finance to increase climate actions.

To move forward, the CCC members agreed on shared principles and values to facilitate and guide activities for networking, research, governance, demonstrations and pilot projects.

Using blockchain technology to tackle climate change

Although the UN recently launched the CCC, the UN had raised the idea of blockchain technology to tackle climate change in June 2017.

The blog post mentioned that blockchain technology could be used to improve carbon emission trading, facilitate clean energy trading, enhance climate finance flows, and improve tracking and reporting of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Alexandre Gellert, Paris Associate Programme Officer at the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), supported this statement as he mentioned that “blockchain could contribute to greater stakeholder involvement, transparency, and engagement and help bring trust and further innovative solutions in the fight against climate change, leading to enhanced climate actions.”

Risks with blockchain technology

The UN previously used the ethereum network to help Syrian refugees in 2017, so the CCC would not be the first use case of blockchain in the UN. Further, a press release in November 2017 announced that the UN had partnered with the World Identity Network (WIN) to develop a blockchain identity pilot aimed to help curb child trafficking.

However, with any new technology and venture, there are risks. Thioye stated that “to fully and promptly mobilize this potential, broad collaboration among stakeholders is needed to direct resources to priority areas, avoid duplication of effort, and avoid the pitfalls of working on a new technology with countless unknowns.”

There are currently 32 members in the Coalition. The initiative remains open and welcomes new members that want to fight climate change.


Image credit: United Nations


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