Coal dependence puts Apple at bottom of Greenpeace’s list
Things have not been looking good for the world’s favorite technology company.
They seem green and ethical and liberal and just plain cuddly-cute, but Apple has fallen from the tree and landed in last place on Greenpeace’s “How Dirty is Your Data” table of tech firms. Cloud computing and our increasing reliance on energy intensive data centers are fueling this change in the way we use energy (for information) and the trend is set to rise 4 fold in 10 years time.
From the Guardian:
The report estimated dependence on coal for Apple’s data centres at 54.5%, followed by Facebook at 53.2%, IBM at 51.6%, HP at 49.4%, and Twitter at 42.5%. Top marks in Greenpeace’s clean energy index went to Yahoo, followed by Google and Amazon. Greenpeace is also campaigning for Facebook to “unfriend coal” and use cleaner energy to power its servers.
This is not necessarily an exclusively negative trend. Purchasing products by downloading information is less energy intensive than buying physical products like CDs, which need to be manufactured and shipped as well as sometimes picked up at a shop and taken home. It would be interesting to know how much Apple’s iTunes has saved in energy and emissions vs. how poorly the company it is doing vis-à-vis it’s coal consumption.