The Merge to Erase 60,000 Tonnes of Polygon’s Carbon Footprint

Polygon Labs
September 6, 2022
Image source: Dribbble

Ethereum’s imminent transition to the proof of stake (PoS) consensus will reverberate throughout the broader ecosystem in a multitude of ways, but it will have a singular impact on the carbon emissions profile of Polygon’s network. Thanks to the work of the Crypto Carbon Ratings Institute (CCRI), we can now share specific numbers on what the Merge will mean for the chain’s CO2 footprint.

Earlier this year, Polygon committed to offsetting its network’s cumulative CO2 debt and becoming carbon negative by the end of 2022. At the time, the core team also commissioned CCRI, an independent research group focused on carbon audit of crypto projects and protocols, to do an in-depth evaluation. This is a summary of the findings and the full report can be viewed online.

Pre-Merge Carbon Footprint 

The Polygon network’s annual carbon emissions through July 2022 stood at 60,953.26 tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent (tCO2e), according to a CCRI estimate. This puts the total emissions for the chain since its inception at 94,782 tCO2e.

Layer 2 protocols like Polygon increase the complexity of calculating carbon footprint as they have to fully account for emissions from their own network as well as activities on the underlying Layer 1, Ethereum. Here is how it breaks down:

CCRI estimates that the majority, or 99.92% of Polygon’s emissions, originate from the chain’s activities on the Ethereum base layer. That leaves 50.13 tCO2e attributable to Polygon’s own PoS network, according to the report. These estimates from CCRI are in line with Polygon’s previous assessments made with the help of KlimaDAO and Offetra.

Read more: Polygon Reaches First Sustainability Milestone by Achieving Network Carbon Neutrality

Post-Merge Carbon Footprint

The Merge is expected to reduce Ethereum’s electricity consumption by 99.99%. Based on this assumption, CCRI estimates Polygon’s post-merge emissions from activities on the underlying Ethereum base layer will be about 6.09 tCO2e, or the equivalent of a round trip from Munich to San Francisco in business class.

The Merge is estimated to cancel out a whopping 99.91% of Polygon’s network carbon emissions, reducing the annual total to just 56.22 tCO2e. That footprint, a fraction of Polygon’s closest competitors, will make the chain one of the greenest in Web3.

Committed to a Green Future 

Polygon released its Green Manifesto in mid-April with a commitment to going carbon negative and a $20 million fund for green projects. Subsequently, the team retired $400,000 of carbon credits representing the entirety of the network’s CO2 debt since inception. In July, Polygon hosted its first Green Blockchain Summit to discuss collective solutions to environmental problems as an industry and is planning a follow-up event later this month. 

Polygon has positioned itself as a climate-friendly startup by going completely remote. To improve our emissions profile, Polygon has further committed to calculating and cutting down Scope 3 emissions, sources of CO2 outside of core network operations like business travel. 

“We believe that operating responsibly is just the starting line,” said Stefan Renton, Polygon’s Sustainability Lead. “We see blockchains and distributed ledger technology supporting and scaling lasting positive impact on the world, helping create a healthier, fairer, thriving planet.” 

You can track our journey to becoming climate positive and tune into our blog for the latest updates from the ecosystem. 

Let’s bring the world to Ethereum while building a better future! 

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