NFTs recognized as potential tool for climate change mitigation at COP27

December 5, 2022

By Tsering Namgyal and Joe Pan

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are recognized as a potential tool to help mitigate the impacts of climate change at the recently concluded COP27, according to attendees.

On 20 November, the 27th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP27), took place in the Egyptian coastal city of Sharm el-Sheikh.

“It is a big step for NFT community because there are a lot of conversations but there is a lot of uncertainty on what NFTs are and what whole crypto space is, said Irina Karagyaur, Head of Ecosystem Growth and Business Development at Unique Network.

“But for us as NFT and crypto community, this is a big, big step having an institution and organization such as UNESCO looking at this and accepting that this space exists…(which) is really adding value to the society”

Karagyaur, who is also an adviser to the ImpactNFT Alliance, a global network of more than a hundred impact focused project creators, explained the progressed of the industry and the future of impact NFT during a Twitter Space session with members of the impact community on 28 November from Central Europe.

She noted although minting NFTs through Proof-of-Work systems are known to be energy intensive, efficiency are drastically improving because now there other blockchains and NFTs that use Proof-of-Stake with minimal use of energy therefore resulting much less impact on climate.

“There are so many other blockchains using Proof-of-Stake and other meaningful and impactful solutions using blockchain technology and NFTs to support climate action and to support indigenous communities to provide value and traceability and use it for true impact on the ground and local communities have many (such) success stories to share,” she said.

As a result, she said, “It is really very engaging to see how this space has transformed and how the narrative has transformed and how the public perception and institutional perception of NFT space has changed.”

Climate activists are developing digital tools to protect wildlife and to preserve biodiversity and implement NFTs.

“Really the NFT space is developing very quickly and we are seeing many initiatives coming to life,” she said.

NFT arts for climate change are particularly attuned to young people who are looking for more immersive experiences rather than ownership and they feel it is meaningful for them to be part of the climate action community.

For the next year, climate bodies have begun preparing more educational courses and how NFTs can support climate action and how it can be linked to the financial system and how art work can influence education, create awareness, because it is through art work that can help people really connect to such important issues, she said.

It is no longer about the numbers like “carbon offset, carbon emissions and carbon credits,” because art involves feelings and emotions and how people relate to it through feelings.

Unfortunately, the industry is going through a bear market.

In terms of NFT collections for fund raising, there are successful stories and there were failures. It is not easy because “we are in the bear market and sales are not making millions of dollars. Can we improve this? Can we actually utilize other ways of fundraising…considering that gas fees are super low right now,” she asked.

“How can we make this metaverse story sustainable? How can we bring communities and ecosystems sustainable and to build something that lasts?  And build something that has sustainable impact,” she said.

Web3-based decentralized applications has a lot of potential and its power to provide various success stories has been showcased at the COP27, and the current models led by nation states are proving to be antiquated, she said.

“One of the main conclusions of COP27 was that the current centralized nation state-focused governance is ineffective, and COP27 has shown drastically that new solutions are needed,” she said.

One of the main topics was the idea of decentralization.

“We need more localized groups and solutions, community involvement in adaptations in measurements in taking initiatives and in taking that next step forward in building impact beyond the COP and on the way to the next COP,” she said.

Clearly, there is more hope for global collaboration to fight climate crisis and more people are coming to COP not only as negotiators but to work on concrete social and technological solutions to fight climate crisis, she said.

Many of the solutions presented were very concrete initiatives that deal with funding, carbon offset measures, with providing better tools with engaging community with improving governance and finding pathways towards uptake of ecologically sound and socially acceptable technological innovations for effective climate actions, she said.

Climate crisis is huge and “response of national government is not at a scale it should be but there is hope as more and more people are getting engaged on a personal level and more and more communities and organizations are creating awareness and introducing digital innovation,” she said.

It’s heartening to see more businesses getting involved in providing solutions to climate change.

“We as digital innovation community has real opportunity and real impact and real possibility to make a change if we get together,” she said, adding that COP28 would involve a larger group of people.

“Web3 has real use cases around the initiatives that are being successfully executed and let the governments and NGOs know that Web3 exists and it has a scale and has real use cases,” Karagyaur said.

Because a lot of policymakers, NGOs and organizations that provide financing has no idea what exists out there. “We need to pass this message on and we have to make sure and amplify the message and let the world know that Web3 exists and what it does,” she said.

“We need to have conversations today leading to COP28 and start building and use the existing initiatives and showcase what value these initiatives to COP28 especially the host country for the next year will UAE,” she said.

About the author

Tsering Namgyal and Joe Pan are, respectively, chief content officer and contributing editor of

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