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Help us get Facebook to unfriend coal

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Page - April 29, 2010
Have you heard about Facebook's coal problem? More than 600,000 people have joined our campaign calling Mark Zuckerberg and his company to go green. Please sign up here to join the campaign, and receive Greenpeace email updates.

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Basically, we are campaigning to get Facebook to drop coal and commit to 100 percent renewable energy, cutting its carbon footprint and helping in the struggle to prevent catastrophic climate change.

Facebook's relationship to coal

Facebook announced in February that it will build a massive data centre in Oregon, U.S., packed full of the latest energy efficient computers to serve the hundreds of millions of friends connecting on their near-addictive social networking website. But the company plans to run the place on electricity made by burning coal--Yes, the dirtiest source of energy and largest single source of global warming pollution in the world. Read more...

Facebook can control where it builds its infrastructure; the power purchasing agreements it enters into; and how it uses its brand's power to advocate for strong policies that promote clean energy. Given all of the control Facebook does have, it can make a commitment to phase out coal and show the rest of the IT sector that it can be done.

Our IT sector climate campaign

Greenpeace has been working in the IT industry for half a decade to get companies to be greener. Facebook's coal problem is representative of the IT sector's growing demand for energy. At current growth rates data centers and telecommunication networks, the two key components of the cloud Facebook depends on, will consume about 1,963 billion kilowatts hours of electricity in 2020. That's more than triple their current consumption and more than the current electricity consumption of France, Germany, Canada and Brazil combined.

This list outlines the steps Facebook needs to take:

  1. Commit to stop using polluting coal power,
  2. Use its purchasing power to choose only clean, renewable sources of electricity,
  3. Advocate for strong climate and energy policy changes at the local, national and international level to ensure that as the IT industry's energy demand increases, so does the supply of renewable energy,
  4. Share this information publicly on its website so its millions of users know the company is a climate leader.

This is our check list for all leading IT companies to show true climate leadership. Facebook needs to set a strong policy in these areas, including a commitment to locate its datacenters (owned and rented) where it can increase demand for renewable energy.

Facebook needs to own up to the fact that it has chosen the most polluting form of power -- coal. Without a strong policy statement on these issues any claims Facebook makes about how very green its new datacenter is will ring hollow.

Facebook responds to public pressure. We can get facebook to unfriend coal, and show the rest of the IT sector what we're made of.

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