December 15, 2011
"Greenpeace and Facebook will now work together to encourage major energy producers to move away from coal and instead invest in renewable energy. This move sets an example for the industry to follow," said Tzeporah Berman, co-director of Greenpeace’s International Climate and Energy Program. "This shift to clean, safe energy choices will help fight global warming and ensure a stronger economy and healthier communities."
Almost two years ago, Greenpeace started the Unfriend Coal Campaign on Facebook. Ultimately the campaign drew 700,000 supporters applying pressure on the social media giant. Facebook's new policy includes a preference for renewable energy, research into energy efficiency, and engaging other large energy users and producers to move toward clean energy.
"Building on our leadership in energy efficiency (through the Open Compute Project), we are working in partnership with Greenpeace and others to create a world that is highly efficient and powered by clean and renewable energy," the company says in a press release.
For its part, Greenpeace is supporting Facebook's Open Commute Project, which is working to create better energy efficiency for data centers.
Coal fired energy is the among the world's most carbon intensive energy sources. In fact, two 2009 reports in Nature found that if the world wants to stay within 'safe levels' of climate change, i.e. average temperature not rising 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, then coal must be abandoned altogether unless carbon capture and storage (CCS) proves effective. Currently, about half the power in the US stems from coal.
Other impacts from coal include mercury pollution, which has linked to a number of health problems, and the destruction of ecosystems for mining.
"Facebook’s commitment to renewable energy raises the bar for other IT and cloud computing companies such as Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and Twitter," said Casey Harrell, senior IT analyst for Greenpeace International.
Media campaign says mercury pollution a pro-life issue
(12/14/2011) While pro-life activists usually target abortion, a new campaign is working to broaden the pro-life message. A $250,000 media campaign in the U.S., including TV spots and radio ads in eight states, hopes to pressure conservative senators to protect unborn children by supporting the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) regulations on mercury emissions from coal-fired plants.
Top 20 banks that finance big coal
(11/30/2011) A new report from civil and environmental organizations highlights the top 20 banks that spend the most money on coal, the world's most carbon-intensive fossil fuel. Released as officials from around the world meet for the 17th UN Summit on Climate Change in Durban, South Africa, the report investigated the funding practices of 93 major private banks, finding that the top five funders of big coal are (in order): JPMorgan Chase, Citi, Bank of America, Morgan Stanley, and Barclay's.
IEA warns: five years to slash emissions or face dangerous climate change
(11/13/2011) Not known for alarmism and sometimes criticized for being too optimistic, the International Energy Agency (IEA) has warned that without bold action in the next five years the world will lock itself into high-emissions energy sources that will push climate change beyond the 2 degrees Celsius considered relatively 'safe' by many scientists and officials.