Mastercard Is Called on to Reverse a Decision that Will Enable Bitcoin to Continue its Climate Pollution

For immediate release:

Dec 1, 2022


For immediate release:

Dec 1, 2022



CONTACT: Ira Arlook, c:, c: 202 258 5437 

 Mastercard Is Called on to Reverse a Decision that

Will Enable Bitcoin to Continue its Climate Pollution

 Letting Banks Offer Cryptocurrency Trading to Their Clients Will Bring Coal & Gas Plants Back to Life and Worsen the Climate Crisis

 Company’s Move Undermines its Stated Commitment to Reach

Net Zero Carbon Emissions by 2050

 WASHINGTON - A new ad campaign was launched this week by Change the Code, Not the Climate campaign targeting Mastercard for the company’s recent decision to boost bitcoin trading on Wall Street that will further enable the cryptocurrency’s massive contribution to climate pollution. The messages include:

Hey Mastercard: Bitcoin’s Pollution Isn’t Priceless. It could cost us a planet.

Hey Mastercard: There are Some Things in Life Money Can’t Buy. Like a New Planet. Dump Dirty Bitcoin.

Hey Mastercard: You Promised to Protect the Planet. Start by Protecting it From Bitcoin.

Saving the Planet: Priceless. Mastercard Working with a Global Polluter Like Bitcoin: Senseless.

When Mastercard Does Business in Bitcoin, the Whole Planet Pays.

As reported by CNBC, Mastercard will help banks offer cryptocurrency trading: "The payments giant will act as a “bridge” between Paxos, a crypto trading platform already used by PayPal, and banks. Mastercard’s program will handle regulatory compliance and security -- two core reasons banks cite for avoiding the asset class."

 “With this move, Mastercard is adding to the climate crisis problem and throwing its climate commitments into question ” said Rolf Skar, special projects manager at Greenpeace USA. “The company’s decision to help big banks accelerate bitcoin trading will only increase the fossil fuel electricity needed to power those transactions and the carbon pollution that comes with it. Mastercard now has an obligation to help change bitcoin’s code to become more efficient.”

"Cryptocurrencies that rely on Proof of Work are wasteful by design," said Scott Faber, EWG’s senior vice president for government affairs.  "The financial sector should be leading efforts to reduce electricity use and climate pollution, not providing cover for digital assets that will inevitably use more and more electricity and generate more and more greenhouse gas emissions."

Mastercard’s move undermines its stated commitment, made in January 2021, to reach net zero CO2 emissions by 2050:

Mastercard is furthering its commitment to create a more sustainable and inclusive digital economy, with a pledge to reach net zero emissions by 2050. Understanding that economic growth cannot come at the expense of the planet, the company’s global action plan aims to continue to reduce greenhouse gases (GHG) by remaining focused on the decarbonization of its operations and bolstering its efforts to decarbonize its supply chains.

Bitcoin Uses as Much Electricity & Releases as Much CO2 into Earth’s Atmosphere as Some Nations

Change the Code, Not the Climate’s concern is that Bitcoin uses a software code, Proof of Work, that requires the use of massive computer arrays to validate and secure transactions. Based on estimates by the University of Cambridge, these currently use as much energy in a year as Greece, Sweden or the Netherlands. Yet Bitcoin’s energy use is expected to grow – it increases along with its price. Estimates from Cambridge University suggest Bitcoin mining primarily relies on coal-fired power, the single largest source of climate change.