Greenpeace Asks Facebook: As You Grow Toward a Billion Users, Will You Disclose Your Energy Plan?

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Daniel Kessler, Greenpeace US, 1-510-501-1779;
Gary Cook, Greenpeace International, 1-202-297-2370

Greenpeace Asks Facebook: As You Grow Toward a Billion Users, Will You Disclose Your Energy Plan?

SAN FRANCISCO - Facebook announced yesterday
that it has a population larger than the United States, Mexico, and
Canada, combined, but it remains unknown what the popular social
networking site will do in regard to its carbon footprint as it
continues to expand. Greenpeace has challenged Facebook to commit to
going coal free, but its new data center is powered by coal power, the
United States' biggest source of greenhouse gases.

In
January, Facebook announced that it will build a massive data center in
Prineville, Oregon, that will run on coal. Almost 400,000 people have
joined a Facebook group calling on Facebook to move away from increasing
both the demand and use of coal. (1)

Data
centers are huge consumers of electricity, and with the shift to "cloud
computing" platforms like Facebook just beginning to change how the
internet works, energy demand will continue to grow. (2) Companies that
run their data center on power from burning coal are supporting the
biggest source of man-made CO2 emissions in the world.

Facebook,
which is rumored to have created a new energy policy, confronts the same
choices and challenges that other large "cloud computing" companies
have in building their data centers. While other companies have chosen
Oregon as a good choice given the abundant hydropower, it is expected to
become more expensive by the time Facebook's data center is online.
Facebook has chosen instead to go with PacifiCorp, a power company that
gets the majority of its power from coal-fired power stations.

"The
only truly green data center are the types that don't use coal," said
Gary Cook, Greenpeace International policy analyst. "Yahoo, for
instance, built a data center near Buffalo, New York, that is powered by
hydroelectric power, decreasing the data center's carbon footprint. (3)
"Facebook and all IT companies must use their power and influence to
site their data centers where renewable power is available and continue
to push for policies that will move the US past coal." (4)

A
Greenpeace report found that at current growth rates, data centers and
telecommunication networks, which bring information to mobile devices
like the iPad, will consume about 1,963 billion kilowatts hours of
electricity in 2020, more than triple their current consumption and over
half the current electricity consumption of the United States -- or
more than France, Germany, Canada and Brazil -- combined. (5)

Facebook
has responded to criticism over its decision by pointing to its highly
energy efficient design standards and equipment specification. But
Greenpeace says that given the massive amounts of electricity even
energy efficient data centers consume to run computers, backup power,
and related cooling equipment, "the last thing we need for them to be
doing is building them in places where they are increasing demand for
dirty coal fired power. If your Facebook page is being powered by coal,
then it's contributing to climate change," said Cook.

Greenpeace
is pressuring information technology and communication companies through
its Cool IT campaign to play an important role in the fight to save our
climate by using their influence to change government policies to
dramatically increase the supply of renewable electricity being put in
grid and to create solutions for economy-wide greenhouse gas emission
reductions. (6)

Notes to Editor

1. http://www.greenpeace.org/coalfacebook

2. www.smart2020.com

3. http://www.buffalonews.com/145/story/762383.html

4. Greenpeace is calling on Facebook to change its power purchase
agreement with PacifiCorp and pushing for strong clean energy and
climate policies to ensure that as it grows the supply of renewable
energy also increases.

5. Make IT Green: http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/reports/make-it-green-cloud-computing/

6. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/campaigns/climate-change/cool-it-challenge

###

Independent campaigning organization that uses non-violent, creative confrontation to expose global environmental problems, and to force solutions that are essential to a green and peaceful future.

Share This Article

More in: