The Dernogalizer

February 24, 2010

Greenpeace takes on Facebook over Coal Powered Data Center

Filed under: Energy/Climate — Matt Dernoga @ 5:06 pm
Tags: , ,

I had a post last week about Facebook’s new data center being powered with coal.  Greenpeace jumped on Facebook not long after, and I’m sharing some parts of a recent blog post Greenpeace has made on the issue.

“How the internet is powered is an issue not just for Facebook but for the entire IT industry. The industry holds many of the keys to reaching our climate goals by innovating internet based solutions to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and increase energy efficiency. Technologies that enable smart grids, zero emissions buildings, and more efficient transport systems are central to efforts to combat climate change.

However, the IT industry’s global environmental footprint is still growing — in fact, it’s set to double by 2020. In 2008, The Climate Group and the Global e-Sustainability Initiative (GeSI) issued SMART 2020: Enabling the low carbon economy in the information age. The study showed the incredible efficiencies IT can create, but it also highlighted the massive footprint of the IT industry and predicted that because of the rapid economic expansion in places like India and China, among other causes, demand for IT services will quadruple by 2020.”

“Moreover, burning coal contributes the largest share of CO2 emissions globally, as well as contributing to increased asthma, acid rain, and mortality from other pollutants. Facebook’s decision to choose a company primarily powered by coal over other cleaner sources of energy is a missed opportunity to strike a blow against this dirty fuel and drive a clean energy economy. We expect more from a company that was recently named the most innovative by Fast Companymagazine.

In fact, other data center operators are realizing that efficiency is only part of the equation in dealing with company footprint. Yahoosimilarly chose a cooler climate in Buffalo, NY for a data center in order to reduce the need for energy intensive cooling systems, but it chose its location based on access to lower carbon hydropower.Google has established Google Energy, which was recently granted its application to become a wholesale electricity buyer and seller. Google will hopefully use this standing to drive more renewable energy powered data centers.”

“We want Facebook users to tell the company that you love using Facebook, but you want them to dump coal. You can get involved by joining one of the numerous Facebook groups that have sprung up to raise awareness about Facebook’s choice of coal power for its Prineville data center. You can also use your networks and creativity to spread the word on other online social networks about the campaign. The internet is one of the greatest inventions& ever for creating social change. Let’s use it.”

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