The United Arab Emirates has taken a significant step in its environmental initiatives by launching a new blockchain-powered carbon tracking and trading platform. This development, announced by an Abu Dhabi government-affiliated research center, aligns with the UAE’s broader efforts to reduce emissions and achieve net-zero goals.
Unveiled at the latest United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28) on December 5, the platform is designed to facilitate the international trade of carbon tokens. These tokens are linked to investments in green projects like forestation and carbon capture, representing a novel approach to environmental sustainability.
The Technology Innovation Institute’s (TII) Cryptographic Research Center, part of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council, developed the platform. TII’s announcement on December 5 outlined that blockchain technology can register carbon emissions from any public or private organization worldwide, enhancing transparency and accountability in emissions tracking.
The TII, a key player in the UAE’s “Vision 2021” initiative aimed at economic strengthening and sustainable living, highlighted the user-friendly nature of the platform. It allows users to create tokens representing a specific quantity of carbon dioxide removal, which can be tracked through its entire supply chain journey.
The blockchain is anticipated to be utilized for various applications, including peer-to-peer energy trading, waste disposal tracking, recycling activities, and forestry management. To ensure the integrity and security of the platform, auditors will be involved in its operations.
In line with the global push for more sustainable and energy-efficient technologies, the TII emphasized that the blockchain adopted for this platform is lightweight and efficient, designed to avoid computational wastefulness. This ensures that trading can be conducted with minimal or no cost, making it accessible and practical for widespread use.
Ray O. Johnson, CEO of TII, remarked on the launch:
“We are proud to announce this digitized tracking and trading platform at COP28, representing the UAE’s drive to become a technology and innovation powerhouse and its commitment to leading the world’s climate action agenda.”
This initiative is part of a growing trend in which blockchain technology is increasingly employed to create and manage carbon credits. Efforts to reduce energy usage in blockchain networks are also gaining momentum. For instance, the Solana Foundation has introduced a real-time carbon emissions tracker for its network. Ethereum’s transition to a proof-of-stake model in September 2022 drastically reduced its energy consumption by over 99.9%. Bitcoin miners, too, are turning to renewable energy sources to diminish emissions.
Blockchain-based projects like Power Ledger and Energy Web also work on decarbonization solutions. The COP28 conference, which commenced on November 30 in Dubai, serves as a global platform for these groundbreaking environmental initiatives and is set to conclude on December 12.