Cardano Carbon Footprint update

We have now worked for more than 6 month on the Cardano Carbon Footprint project and not published anything here.

This is due to many reasons, including the launch of the CNC Ala ISPO that we have been project managing since the beginning of the year with our Climate Neutral Cardano Community. The ISPO just launched on the 21st of November alongside the Cardano Summit and is a project heavily focussed on drawing down carbon, protecting the forests and helping people in Madagascar. As one of the co-founding Active Stake Pools of the Climate Neutral Cardano Alliance, this will benefit all our delegators and more about that will be published in another post.

However, our carbon footprinting project work has indeed progressed. The first few month of the project was based on research and meetings with our partner organisation, the Pond Foundation, and the community.

The driver

The most important driver for me was to ensure we have a standardised approach for blockchain carbon accounting. By standardised I mean transparent and with a clear methodology that describes what is included, how and what is not included.

This transparency is important to be able to improve the accounting over time, build trust and allow others to build on it.

A carbon footprint will always be an approximation as the blockchain is a complex evolving structure and data on locations of servers, hardware, electricity consumption and type, working hours etc will never be fully available. Much will need to be approximated. The question is also what parameters are actually available that we can use AND more importantly how can we make sure that all the emissions are captured in some form.

The Scope

One of the first questions that was always on my mind was the scope of the blockchain carbon accounting. What to include and how. We learned about blockchain layers and so far we have written up some reasoning to only include 1 layer into our initial accounting of the so called Scope 1 & 2 emissions, while everything upstream and downstream is to go into Scope 3 accounting. The reasoning wasn’t initially obvious, and more importantly it does include some emissions often forgotten in other blockchain carbon accountings. We do now have a draft paper that describes the reasoning on what to include and breaking it down into categories used internationally for carbon emissions accounting. This work is currently under discussion with the Pond Foundation and their network.

The methodology

The methodology of how to calculate the carbon emissions and what data we can and should be building on was a second topic we and our partners, the Pond Foundation, are working on. By that we mean the data we have available, its quality and how it is actually calculated to get us a carbon footprint.

We are currently reviewing the initial feedback we received on the available data of the Cardano energy consumption, hardware used, working hours put in and how how that can be translated into carbon emissions. Another special concern of ourselves was that we felt strongly that the working hours of the community Stake Pools need including into Scope 1 and 2 emissions. This is something often forgotten or excluded when looking at other blockchains, but we do find that the generally low energy consumption of the server infrastructure means that direct emissions from heating of operators offices (or homes) or travel can become a significant emissions element.

Carbon accounting is fairly well standardised for centralised companies, as outlined in the GHG Protocol, however there is no such clear protocol for decentralised worldwide networks of computers and their operators.

We hope some of our ideas and the methodology will help provide an initial path to a standardised and transparent blockchain carbon accounting.

The importance can not be overstated. In itself it will enable us to consider our energy consumption and allow us (developers) to keep the code energy efficient. The carbon footprint will also take into account if our node run on renewable energy and will enable everybody to see their impact when using blockchain. Finally and importantly it also enable us to offset our emissions with carbon capture or tree planting projects similar to our CNC Ala ISPO mentioned above.

Finally, it will allow Cardano to go carbon positive and proof it is.


We are aiming to complete and publish an initial methodology and carbon accounting within the next 6 month. And while the work continues we will publish more reports here and our social media channels.

We are also looking to build a discussion group for the methodology development and would welcome others to join us. We have some great connections already and with time, this will help us and the community to further improve our initial work.

Please get in touch with us on our Telegram channel here or join our Climate Neutral Cardano Discord server through this link and look for @Chris_Shift.

Thank you.

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