Thousands Call on Facebook to Drop Coal

A Message Facebook Can't Ignore

Feature story - April 13, 2011
Tens of thousands of Facebook users around the world are calling for a green Facebook, hopefully setting a new World Record in the process.

UPDATE: 17,230 comments so far

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The challenge: Set a new Guinness World Record for at least 50,000 comments on a single Facebook post in 24 hours. It'll send a message that Facebook simply can't ignore: users around the globe want a Facebook that's powered with renewable energy instead of coal and nuclear power.

The comments will be displayed for Facebook employees on a LED screen placed outside its California office, encouraging the company to meet Greenpeace’s Earth Day challenge to announce a plan that would phase out its use of coal power over the next decade.

“In places as diverse as Cairo and Madison, Wisconsin, Facebook is helping to foster activism and foment reform,” Greenpeace Campaigner Casey Harrell said. “Now Facebook needs to lead a new energy revolution by committing to phase out coal and power its transformative services with clean, safe renewable energy.”

The information technology sector is the fastest growing in the world in terms of electricity use. A Greenpeace report found that at current growth rates, data centers and telecommunication networks, two key components of the cloud that Facebook depends on to deliver its services, will consume in 2020 more than triple their current consumption and over half the current electricity consumption of the United States--more than France, Germany, Canada and Brazil combined.

“By connecting its computing power to dirty energy sources, Facebook is lagging behind other IT companies like Google and Yahoo that are prioritizing the use of renewable energy in their business,” Harrell said. “Greenpeace is calling upon Facebook to commit to a plan by Earth Day that phases out its use of coal over the next decade. It is time to for Facebook to step up and become a clean energy leader.”

Facebook will soon open the first of two new data centers, each of which will use enough electricity to power roughly 40,000 US homes. Greenpeace, along with almost 700,000 Facebook users, has called upon Facebook to “unfriend coal” and transition away from using 19th century technology to power its 21st century services.