Greenpeace International Executive Director Calls on Facebook CEO to quit coal

Press release - 1 September, 2010
Amsterdam, 1 September 2010 -- Greenpeace International Executive Director Kumi Naidoo today sent a letter to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg asking him to commit his company to a plan to phase out the use of dirty coal-fired electricity. The letter further calls on Zuckerberg to use his companies considerable influence to become a champion for action on climate change.

Facebook recently chose to operate its first data centre, located in Prineville, Oregon, US, with energy from Pacific Power, a utility that is fueled primarily by coal. (1) As part of its Cool IT campaign, Greenpeace is calling on Information Technology giants to become climate champions.

“Greenpeace regularly uses Facebook to engage its supporters and their friends to hold corporations accountable for their environmental impact,” Naidoo wrote. “Facebook is uniquely positioned to be a truly visible and influential leader to drive the deployment of clean energy.”   

The full text of Nadioo’s letter is available at www.greenpeace.org/coolit/blog.

Over 500,000 Facebook users have joined with Greenpeace to call on Zuckerberg and Facebook to quit coal. (2) Burning coal contributes the largest share of CO2 emissions globally, as well as contributing to increased asthma, acid rain and mortality from other pollutants.

A recent Greenpeace report calculated that at current growth rates, data centres and telecommunication networks 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. (4)

“Facebook can control where it locates its infrastructure, the power purchasing agreements it enters into, and how it uses its brand power to call for strong policies that lead the way towards a clean energy future. Given all of this power, Facebook should make a commitment to phase out coal,” said Greenpeace climate campaigner Melanie Francis.  

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Contact: Daniel Kessler, Greenpeace International Communications, +31 64 61 77537

Notes to the editor:

1. http://www.pacificpower.net/ya/po/otou/fsei.html
2. www.greenpeace.org/coalfacebook
3. http://www.greenpeace.org/international/en/publications/reports/make-it-green-cloud-computing/