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Greenpeace criticizes Apple for carbon footprint of iPad cloud

post #1 of 148
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Because the iPad will further the growing market for cloud computing, international environmental advocacy group has criticized Apple's newest hardware for having "a much larger carbon footprint than previously estimated."

The new report from Greenpeace issued this week claims that "quintessential cloud computing devices," like Apple's iPad, raise questions about how the Internet is powered. Specifically, the nongovernmental organization said increase demand for online services will also result in a larger demand for "dirty coal power."

"To be clear: We are not picking on Apple," the group said. "We are not dissing the iPad. But maybe someone can come up with an app that calculates the carbon footprint of using different web sites based on their location and energy deals.

"Apple is the master of promotion, and while we marvel at the sleek unpolluted design of the iPad, we need to think about where this is all leading and how like all good surfers we can make sure our environment stays clean and green."

The report, entitled "Make IT Green: Cloud Computing and its Contribution to Climate Change," concludes that connected mobile devices like the iPad will increase the use of online services like social networks and video streaming. The report noted that Facebook recently announced the construction of its own data center in Prineville, Oregon that will primarily run on coal.

The report states that data centers and telecommunication networks will consume about 1,963 billion kilowatt hours of electricity in 2020, which is more than triple their current consumption and over half of the total electricity consumption in America. Devices like the iPad, the environmental group suggests, will only add to global warming pollution.

"As the cloud grows, the IT industry's appetite for energy will only increase, so the industry must become strong advocates for renewable energy solutions and strong laws that cut global warming pollution," said Casey Harrell, Greenpeace International campaigner. "IT companies like Microsoft, Google, and IBM are now in powerful positions at the local, national, and international levels to influence policies that will allow them to grow responsibly in a way that will decouple their economic growth from rising greenhouse gas emissions."



When Apple introduced the iPad in January, it touted the environmental checklist for the construction of the new hardware. The company noted that the device is free of arsenic, brominated flame retardant, mercury, polyvinyl chloride, and is highly recyclable.

Greenpeace's attitude toward Apple has improved significantly over the last few years, with the environmental group ranking the Mac maker the greenest electronics maker earlier this year. The praise was quite a change from just a few years ago, when Greenpeace was targeting Apple over the use of toxic chemicals in its products.

Last Year, Apple co-founder Steve Jobs revealed that Greenpeace's actions played a part in his company eventually promoting its green focus in public. He said the company's tight-lipped approach, particularly on public policy issues, hurt its image with environmental organizations.

Last September, Apple began reporting its hardware carbon emissions, and touting its environmentally friendly hardware. The Cupertino, Calif., company said less than 5 percent of its emissions come from manufacturing facilities, while more than 95 percent of Apple's greenhouse gases are from use of the products they make.
post #2 of 148
(And I don't mean Toshiba!) I'm an avid greeny, but this sort of comment is yet more in the armoury of those who find the movement lacking in credibility. The solution to the world's woes is NOT energy saving (too complicated, impractical and expensive), but in fact to switch to renewable sustainable sources - such as solar, where it doesn't really matter how much we use. The aim should be to source energy that is clean and uncorrupt.

I shall be ordering our iPad and focusing my energies on promoting solar energy as the way forward by using it to update a forthcoming blog and eShop at LifeMachine.com. No plug intended.
post #3 of 148
Oh well. Bothered.
post #4 of 148
I think the right way to look at this is to see the emergence of "the cloud" as a great opportunity to improve the environmental impact of computing relative to a model in which all of the computing power lies with the client. Far easier to influence how power is generated for a single, centrally located server than to influence how power is generated for a million geographically dispersed clients. For example, it's easier to get google to install solar panels on the roof of their giant data center than to get every individual who uses that data center to install solar panels.
post #5 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

I think the right way to look at this is to see the emergence of "the cloud" as a great opportunity to improve the environmental impact of computing relative to a model in which all of the computing power lies with the client. Far easier to influence how power is generated for a single, centrally located server than to influence how power is generated for a million geographically dispersed clients. For example, it's easier to get google to install solar panels on the roof of their giant data center than to get every individual who uses that data center to install solar panels.

I totally agree. It should be much more easy to power a large data centre by 'green energy' as for example powering cars - probably a much worse pollutant than the iPad. Maybe doing some things on the go using the internet prevents people from using their car and go somewhere to do it ...?
post #6 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oflife View Post

(And I don't mean Toshiba!) I'm an avid greeny, but this sort of comment is yet more in the armoury of those who find the movement lacking in credibility. The solution to the world's woes is NOT energy saving (too complicated, impractical and expensive), but in fact to switch to renewable sustainable sources - such as solar, where it doesn't really matter how much we use. The aim should be to source energy that is clean and uncorrupt.

Hmm... I almost agree with you. I think the problem with groups like Greenpeace is that they appear to be suggesting that they would prefer that economic growth be halted or reversed. Whenever they complain about any specific economic activity, it always sounds like they just want the activity stopped, not that they want it to be done more efficiently or using greener energy sources. That line of argument is anti-progress, anti-human, and isn't going to convince anyone.

But I don't agree that making efforts to save energy are too complicated, expensive, or impractical. In fact, in many cases, saving energy is less complicated, less expensive, and more practical than alternative energy sources. For example, there are a lot of drafty houses out there that could save a lot of energy through adding better windows or insulation. I'm all for alternative energy sources, but energy efficiency is also important and useful.
post #7 of 148
Because the iPad will further the growing market for cloud computing, international environmental advocacy group has criticized Apple's newest hardware for having "a much larger carbon footprint than previously estimated."

The new report from Greenpeace issued this week claims that "quintessential cloud computing devices," like Apple's iPad, raise questions about how the Internet is powered. Specifically, the nongovernmental organization said increase demand for online services will also result in a larger demand for "dirty coal power."


So Apple's products are green enough, but look what Apple started??
post #8 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by MacApfel View Post

I totally agree. It should be much more easy to power a large data centre by 'green energy' as for example powering cars - probably a much worse pollutant than the iPad. Maybe doing some things on the go using the internet prevents people from using their car and go somewhere to do it ...?

Perhaps a more likely substitute is a big screen TV. What uses more power -- me sitting on the couch watching my 50" plasma or me sitting on the couch surfing the web, reading a book, etc on an iPad? Even if you add in the (relatively tiny) power consumption on the server-end, I bet the iPad scenario uses less energy than the plasma TV scenario.

And actually, i wonder how using an iPad compares to reading a book. Sure, the book doesn't have a battery, but the book had to be physically shipped around the country rather than digitally transmitted, and the book requires paper. I bet that the marginal cost of another book on the iPad is far less than the marginal cost of buying another book from a store.

I definitely think the mistake that Greenpeace is making here is the mistake of focusing on one big thing that is actually smaller than the summation of all the little things that it replaces. Kind of like how people get all bent out of shape about the big container ships --- yes, they pollute a lot, but not nearly as much as alternative forms of shipping. They're just more visible than those alternatives because they're bigger.
post #9 of 148
Yes!

Which is more efficient and has less impact on the ecosystem:

50 people watching movies, reading books or shopping on their iPads

or

50 people jumping in 50 cars, driving 3 miles and back to a theater, library or market.

I suspect that cloud computing results in an overall positive impact rather than a negative one.

Why not study that, Greenpeace?

*

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post #10 of 148
Do they have a solution on how to power the server farms with solar panels? I didn't think so. The tec just isn't there yet.

And what about nuclear energy that big hush hush by all parties involved, that's pretty clean?!?!?! Right?

How about these big plasma screens, consuming in a week, what the ipad will consume probably in all it's life cycle of use.

This is a mess of statement by greenpeace, it's utter garbage actually, if they wan't to be taken seriously they got to do better than that...
post #11 of 148
Some very good posts above. Greenpeace has totally lost it here. They understand neither basic economics nor how to measure the impact of carbon footprints.

Moreover, few companies are more on top of their carbon footprint and in efforts to manage it than Apple is.
post #12 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

But I don't agree that making efforts to save energy are too complicated, expensive, or impractical. In fact, in many cases, saving energy is less complicated, less expensive, and more practical than alternative energy sources. For example, there are a lot of drafty houses out there that could save a lot of energy through adding better windows or insulation. I'm all for alternative energy sources, but energy efficiency is also important and useful.

Totally agreed here. The university campus where I work routinely leaves hundreds of computers idling away in un-occupied classrooms and labs, oftentimes with the lights on in the room as well.
In this specific example, a little conservation and efficiency could go a long way. I'm sure I could easily run my entire house with the energy wasted here (and then some).
post #13 of 148
actualy, google campus is already 20% powered by a green device called a BloomBox. greenpeace is worried about the cloud, they should look at what the BIGGEST internet search site has already done. idiots.
post #14 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dick Applebaum View Post


Why not study that, Greenpeace?

*

Because Greenpeace needs large entities to be the enemy to a) generate headlines and b) not blame the average Joe, whose donations they live off of.
post #15 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by swtchdtomak View Post

Because Greenpeace needs large entities to be the enemy to a) generate headlines and b) not blame the average Joe, whose donations they live off of.

very true
post #16 of 148
Greenpeace just needed to get a press release out into the public, so that they can continue to believe that most people even take them seriously.
post #17 of 148
This is just silly. How much power does the iTunes data centre use compared to the CD, DVD and book printing factories it replaces? As someone else mentioned, how much power does a 10 minute movie download use compared to driving to the video store and back?
post #18 of 148
They always find something to pic apart! I can't believe I used to back such an organization... Good fight Greenpeace. L0l.
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post #19 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by ascii View Post

This is just silly. How much power does the iTunes data centre use compared to the CD, DVD and book printing factories it replaces? As someone else mentioned, how much power does a 10 minute download use compared to driving to the video store and back?

I am laughing in real life right now! This isn't an "Lol" on the web laugh, it's for real! Thank you for the comment.
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post #20 of 148
Greenpeace will not be happy as long as people inhabit the planet.

Also, gotta wonder what their carbon footprint looks like.
post #21 of 148
I think the largest carbon footprint is all of Greenpeace's hot air. Idiots
post #22 of 148
Grrr...
Just slow down on the breeding you complete morons!
A couple dozen children will probably use more CO2 in their lifetimes than all the iPads Apple will ever sell.
post #23 of 148
This is a freakin joke. These people need to get a real job.
post #24 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by swtchdtomak View Post

Because Greenpeace needs large entities to be the enemy to a) generate headlines and b) not blame the average Joe, whose donations they live off of.

that may very well be how they think, but man, you'd think that by now they'd realize how they've damaged their credibility over the years with this kind of an approach. People look for any excuse they can do discredit the message of greater energy efficiency and groups like Greenpeace serve up those excuses by the container ship load.
post #25 of 148
That's it. No more internets for me.
post #26 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oflife View Post

(And I don't mean Toshiba!) I'm an avid greeny, but this sort of comment is yet more in the armoury of those who find the movement lacking in credibility. The solution to the world's woes is NOT energy saving (too complicated, impractical and expensive), but in fact to switch to renewable sustainable sources - such as solar, where it doesn't really matter how much we use. The aim should be to source energy that is clean and uncorrupt.

I shall be ordering our iPad and focusing my energies on promoting solar energy as the way forward by using it to update a forthcoming blog and eShop at LifeMachine.com. No plug intended.

I don't mean to be attacking you but the "greenies" -- Greenpeace folks are NUTS!

Are the Apple news events so few that that AI, etc. have to give these nuts print space?
post #27 of 148
Anyone cares?
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post #28 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Oflife View Post

(And I don't mean Toshiba!) I'm an avid greeny, but this sort of comment is yet more in the armoury of those who find the movement lacking in credibility. The solution to the world's woes is NOT energy saving (too complicated, impractical and expensive), but in fact to switch to renewable sustainable sources - such as solar, where it doesn't really matter how much we use. The aim should be to source energy that is clean and uncorrupt.

I shall be ordering our iPad and focusing my energies on promoting solar energy as the way forward by using it to update a forthcoming blog and eShop at LifeMachine.com. No plug intended.

Actually cutting consumption is part of the solution - look at the energy consumption of houses in Denmark etc. Public transport in Belgium etc.

Having said that, this is a totally minuscule area to target. Again, greenpeace show they are a bunch of attention seeking morons.
post #29 of 148
As an environmentalist, I am amazed by the lame and wholly counterproductive behavior by the children over at Greenpeace.

Greenpeace could easily be replaced by a more effective, respected environmental lobby. Therefore, Greenpeace is bad for the environment. I can make a diagram.
post #30 of 148
This morning I read this article and shake my head. It is very hard for people like me to take Greenpeace seriously any more when they release statements like these. Does the group's leadership use any logic? Do they expect technology to just stand still? Do they think they have to take a stand on everything? No more money from me.
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post #31 of 148
This is why data-centre design needs to improve. Two points I see:
- reduced energy usage for cooling systems
- 'smart' servers, where components can be shut down when not in use. For example a graphics card or a processor core can be turned off if it is not being used. When the component is needed the system will then start it up.

For the smart servers we need a standard in place, or at least a means of labelling computers that can do this, so the buyer is aware of this option. Charging customers for power usage would also encourage them to looks for more energy conservative machines. I realise there is only so much you can do when the computer is at full demand, but when there is no traffic it should be trying to maintain the lowest power usage possible. Software would also need to be looked at, so that it is not busy using the processor for no reason (think endless 'for' loops waiting for something, instead of using an OS trigger).

For smaller locations, things like "Wake on Demand" could be beneficial since this would mean that a computer can be asleep and only be woken if there is specific traffic for it. This can be done on the Apple side side with the combination of an Apple Airport Extreme and a Mac running Snow Leopard. On the non-Apple side I have not seen solutions in place to allow this, but a more basic version would simply be a router with a IP/MAC address table that wakes up the computer when the IP address is contacted - the Apple implementation does this, but adds a Bonjour based service so the computer can opt-in.

I must admit that I would have used "Wake on Demand" for my computer, but the lack of DynDNS support in the router means I need to leave my computer on.
post #32 of 148
As an educated person with common sense, I'm amazed at the sheer stupidity of the people on this planet, and I'm disgusted by the people who manipulate others into thinking that Carbon Dioxide is bad for the Earth or Humans.

This is the most disgraceful, fraudulent scam, ever wrought on the American people, and the world as a whole. It's truly outrageous and needs to stop.

Al Gore is already exceptionally wealthy, and wants to line his pocets further with your Carbon Taxes. Stop them and him NOW, or basically give up your right to exist freely.
post #33 of 148
Greenpeace is just fishing for press by linking iPad in a press release unrelated to anything tangible.

If they were concerned they wouldn't have sent out a press release in the first place. They would have conserved more energy by not creating, not distributing, and not causing this discussion to happen which as the more I type the larger the load put on the servers...yadda, yadda, yadda
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post #34 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bloodshotrollin'red View Post

Grrr...
Just slow down on the breeding you complete morons!
A couple dozen children will probably use more CO2 in their lifetimes than all the iPads Apple will ever sell.

Thank you for your entirely false and anti-human sentiment, now please go away and don't ever think out loud ever again.
post #35 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Blastdoor View Post

Perhaps a more likely substitute is a big screen TV. What uses more power -- me sitting on the couch watching my 50" plasma or me sitting on the couch surfing the web, reading a book, etc on an iPad? Even if you add in the (relatively tiny) power consumption on the server-end, I bet the iPad scenario uses less energy than the plasma TV scenario.

And actually, i wonder how using an iPad compares to reading a book. Sure, the book doesn't have a battery, but the book had to be physically shipped around the country rather than digitally transmitted, and the book requires paper. I bet that the marginal cost of another book on the iPad is far less than the marginal cost of buying another book from a store.

I definitely think the mistake that Greenpeace is making here is the mistake of focusing on one big thing that is actually smaller than the summation of all the little things that it replaces. Kind of like how people get all bent out of shape about the big container ships --- yes, they pollute a lot, but not nearly as much as alternative forms of shipping. They're just more visible than those alternatives because they're bigger.

Excellent points, I was about to say something similar. I would only add, also think of all the PCs used to just do e-mail and surf that might well be replaced by an iPad once people see it does everything they need. That will be a massive savings in power too. All those monitors and Dells turned off can only be a good thing
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post #36 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rob55 View Post

Totally agreed here. The university campus where I work routinely leaves hundreds of computers idling away in un-occupied classrooms and labs, oftentimes with the lights on in the room as well.
In this specific example, a little conservation and efficiency could go a long way. I'm sure I could easily run my entire house with the energy wasted here (and then some).

Dont most modern computers go into a low-energy-use sleep mode?

I used to own computer stores and we would leave all our equipment running 24/7 because it was easier on the hardware as opposed to the power surge multiple times a day.

People more knowledgeable have told me that leaving machines on in sleep mode could consume less power than constantly turning them off and on.

The same thing goes for lights, especially fluorescent lights (great power consumption at startup). In addition, lights are often left on for security reasons and so rooms can be monitored with security cameras.

If you want to take this to the extreme, you should not only turn the computers off (at work and at home), but unplug them (and your Stereo, TV, TiVo, Cable Box, etc.) All these devices consume power when off, but plugged in. Don't forget to turn off your wireless kb and mouse (or remove the batteries).

Another consideration is that turning things off does not necessarily result in conservation. Utilitity companies must generate (or acquire) enough power to cover peak usage at different periods of the day-- the power you avoid using could just be dissapated, rather than conserved,



My point is that we need to look at the bigger picture.

If our electrical equipment lasts longer because of continued low-energy-use sleep mode-- would that be better than replacing it with newly-manufactured gear?

Simple questions, like:

What's the carbon footprint of running a Mac in sleep mode for n years

vs

replacing that Mac every n years with a newly manufactured (and delivered) Mac?

*
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post #37 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz View Post

As an educated person with common sense, I'm amazed at the sheer stupidity of the people on this planet, and I'm disgusted by the people who manipulate others into thinking that Carbon Dioxide is bad for the Earth or Humans.

This is the most disgraceful, fraudulent scam, ever wrought on the American people, and the world as a whole. It's truly outrageous and needs to stop.

Al Gore is already exceptionally wealthy, and wants to line his pocets further with your Carbon Taxes. Stop them and him NOW, or basically give up your right to exist freely.

Go back to your tea party and stop injecting you ignorance and politics in an Apple forum please.
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post #38 of 148
This all reeks of April 1st coming early.

Toxic Cloud Computing?
post #39 of 148
Quote:
Originally Posted by pmz

As an educated person with common sense, I'm amazed at the sheer stupidity of the people on this planet, and I'm disgusted by the people who manipulate others into thinking that Carbon Dioxide is bad for the Earth or Humans.

This is the most disgraceful, fraudulent scam, ever wrought on the American people, and the world as a whole. It's truly outrageous and needs to stop.

Al Gore is already exceptionally wealthy, and wants to line his pocets further with your Carbon Taxes. Stop them and him NOW, or basically give up your right to exist freely.

Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post

Go back to your tea party and stop injecting you ignorance and politics in an Apple forum please.

Ummm... IMO, pmz's post added more information related to the thread discussion than yours.

*
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post #40 of 148
Energy is a constant production form of business operation, if you don't use it its just being wasted .... so really, anyone cares?
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