UN Sees Possible Role for Blockchain in Advancing Paris Climate Accord

Wolfie Zhao
Jun 23, 2017 at 16:20 UTC
Updated Jun 23, 2017 at 16:21 UTC

The United Nations is eyeing blockchain as part of its fight against climate change.

During a recent UN meeting in Germany, an official with the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) discussed how the tech could provide benefits as the world moves to adopt the Paris Climate Change Agreement, an accord struck last year aimed at reducing global carbon emissions.

A recent blog post detailing discussions at the UN meeting in May remarks that the organization could use the tech to create a transparent and efficient system that can monitor, for example, carbon emissions and clean energy trading, fund allocation. Blockchain could also be leveraged to ensure the accuracy of carbon emission reduction data.

Alexandre Gellert Paris, who serves as associate programme officer at the UNFCCC, said at the May meeting:

“As countries, regions, cities and businesses work to rapidly implement the Paris Climate Change Agreement, they need to make use of all innovative and cutting-edge technologies available. 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.”

As the post details, however, the organization did not specify a concrete timeline for use in this area, only saying it’s currently at the early research stage.

Yet it nonetheless highlights another possible use case for the UN, which has utilized the tech to advance its anti-poverty and humanitarian aid missions.

The idea of applying blockchain to the problem of carbon emissions has seen traction in the private sector as well.

As CoinDesk reported late last year, IBM has been working with a China-based firm to develop a prototype to track and monitor carbon assets trading among high energy-consuming companies in the country, which produces about a quarter of the world’s carbon emissions.

United Nations image via Shutterstock