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Apple: Greenpeace's Cloud Critique Driven By Bogus Numbers 188

Posted by samzenpus
from the check-the-figures dept.
miller60 writes "Apple says Greenpeace has wildly overestimated the amount of power it uses in its data center in North Carolina, and used that bad math to give the company a low grade on sustainability. Apple says it uses 20 megawatts of power at its iDataCenter, a fraction of Greenpeace's estimate of 100 megawatts in a new report on energy use by cloud computing providers. Apple says that its huge solar array and biogas-powered fuel cell will supply 60 percent of the facility's power, not the 10 percent claimed by Greenpeace."
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Apple: Greenpeace's Cloud Critique Driven By Bogus Numbers

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:32PM (#39725659)

    No, wait...

  • by mekkab (133181) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:33PM (#39725673) Homepage Journal
    This was a subtle ploy by data center competitors to use Greenpeace to get Apple to reveal their power consumption strategies... And it worked!
    • Re:Excellent... (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:45PM (#39725871)

      Greenpeace lied about Apple to get attention? No way! That's never happened before [roughlydrafted.com].

      • Re:Excellent... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Turken (139591) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:00PM (#39726111)

        too true. What would be really shocking news is if we found that for once greenpeace was NOT lying to get attention. And it's not just Apple. Basic M.O. for these schmucks is to simply pick whatever company is big in the news at the moment and then give that company a bad "rating" based on some imaginary numbers on some arbitrary scale.

        For several years in a row when the Wii was at it's popularity peak, the greenpeace "report card" gave Nintendo a failing grade -- for the sole reason that Nintendo had the common sense to ignore them, and refused to give any detailed information about their business operations. Thus, in the mind of the eco-nuts the company *had* to be hiding something horrible, and thus was *clearly* an eco-failure.

        • Re:Excellent... (Score:4, Informative)

          by xaxa (988988) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:32PM (#39727465)

          For several years in a row when the Wii was at it's popularity peak, the greenpeace "report card" gave Nintendo a failing grade

          Do you own a Wii and a power consumption meter? I do (my electricity supplier gave me the meter, the government required it. It's supposed to help people reduce consumption).

          Anyway, the Wii uses about 10-15W while on standby (I can't remember how much exactly). That's a huge amount, compared to almost everything else in the house. My bedroom is lit with less power!

          • by xaxa (988988)

            (Hmm... before anyone thinks I'm an idiot, I meant to write, "That's a huge amount while on standby, compared to almost everything else in the house".

          • by geekoid (135745)

            no, it's not huge. that's a kw in 80 or so hours.

          • Hmm thats curious. I should check it out on my Wii. Is that with WiiConnect on or off?

            My solution? Smart power board.
            One of the ones that has a master plug and a number of slave plugs. The slave don't get power unless the Master is drawing power.
            Turn TV on, Wii, speakers, DVD, etc... all turn on. Turn TV off they all turn off.

            • by xaxa (988988)

              I that that would be with the Connect service on, but we unplug it when it's not being used anyway, especially since it's probably only used every month or so anyway.

              Over a year, it would cost me between £11 and £16 if left on standby all the time.

              The rest of the appliances around the TV are new enough that they have EU-mandated actual power buttons, but a smart power board is a good (sometimes better) alternative.

          • Re:Excellent... (Score:5, Informative)

            by canajin56 (660655) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:23PM (#39728103)
            It should be about 10W, and that's because you have it in Connect24 standby (orange light). Turn off Connect24 (which keeps USB and Wifi powered and connected to Nintendo's servers so you can get Nintendo messages, data updates for the weather channel and other apps like that, and messages from friends). Consumer reports found it uses ~10W in this mode, which is more than the 2-3W that other consoles use when "off". But if you disable it (can tell you did it right because the light goes red instead of orange when it turns off) it drops to 1.3W. On the other hand, the Wii uses 15-18W when on and playing games, compared to the 155-200W drawn by a PS3 or a 360.
        • Re:Excellent... (Score:5, Insightful)

          by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @07:45PM (#39729677) Journal

          What is sad is that all these groups..PETA, Greenpeace, MAD, all started out with good intentions and goals, Greenpeace to stop whalers and those breaking treaties and polluting our oceans, MAD to stop drunk driving, PETA to insure the ethical treatment of food animals, but somewhere along the way the batshit fringes took over and frankly they are all loony tunes, PETA with the "sea kittens", the new head of MAD saying their goal is now prohibition (like we haven't seen what a failure THAT was) and Greenpeace with the constant lies.

          Man its just a shame that you can't have an org that does good things hardly anymore without the batshit coming along and mucking everything up. All three originally had goals we could all stand behind, I mean nobody wants to see animals tortured, our oceans destroyed, or drunks plowing down families on the highway, but having sensible goals looks to be a thing of the past, its all loony tunes all the way down and i think that's a damned shame.

          • by jaca44 (2557600)
            The problem in most small movements (IMHO) is that, over time, as goals are not obtained and the organization becomes more radical. I believe historical/sociological studies (if done) should confirm this. Frustration leads to radicalism!
            • Re:Excellent... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Thursday April 19, 2012 @10:00AM (#39733431) Journal

              But then they become worse than nothing! the guys from South Park nailed it when they had the Klan who wanted to keep the SP flag come out against the flag because the knee jerk reaction would be to automatically vote the opposite of what the Klan wanted. in this case they have gone so far out of mainstream when anybody sees their name they think "total whackos" and this automatically gains sympathy for the ones they are against!

              Frankly PETA, MAD, and Greenpeace would be more helpful to their causes if they didn't exist at all because they have pissed away any credibility they once had. damned shame as all three were originally worthy causes but now I'd probably buy any product made by a company opposed by them simply because i see them as self righteous whackjobs that just like on SP if they are against it then its probably something I'd support simply because they are so far from mainstream anymore. I mean you have blatant lies, Sea kittens (look it up if you haven't I swear its not a parody, they honestly think at PETA calling all fish sea kittens will keep people from eating fish) and prohibition...yep I'd buy anything they're against.

  • by wbr1 (2538558) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:33PM (#39725675)
    Greenpeace: blah blah blah blah bad bad bad

    Apple: blah blah blah blah good good good

    The truth? Probably somewhere in the middle.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:38PM (#39725749)

      Greenpeace is more than happy to distort the truth for propaganda purposes. They've said in the past that the whole reason they single out Apple is because it makes good news. And they are right.

      • by msobkow (48369) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:41PM (#39725793) Homepage Journal

        "Distort" the truth? Hell, they just made up some numbers and went with that as the "reasoning" for their rant.

        But as usual with Greenpeace, it's 99% bullshit believed by no one except the Greenpeace faithful.

        And from what I see, the Greenpeace faithful do definitely qualify as a cult, complete with wingnut behaviour.

        • by Tharsman (1364603) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:52PM (#39725991)

          I love the Greenpeace "response to the response" where they doubt the numbers Apple bring forth:

          While Apple is well known for making more expensive consumer products, if Apple’s plans for the $ 1Billion investment only generates 20MW in power demand, that would be taking the “Apple premium” to a whole new level.

          So first "we want them to stop cutting corners and spend money to make green energy"

          Now: "darn, these fools seem to be spending too much money to save up energy, must mean they are lying!"

          • by beelsebob (529313)

            Well, everyone knows that building giant solar arrays is free –so that can't be what's costing them a huge chunk of that $1bn.

          • Just for the record: According to this source [windustry.org], wind turbines cost around 1.2-2.6 million USD per MW. Assuming a (I think conservative?) capacity factor of 25%, that's 4.8-10.4 million USD per produced MW, so for 1 billion USD you should be able to buy 96-208 MW.

            • by Tharsman (1364603)

              A lot of the money goes towards minimizing the need of energy in the first place, not just to generate the needed energy.

      • by Idbar (1034346)

        Greenpeace is more than happy to distort the truth

        And here I thought that was patented by Apple [wikipedia.org].

        Kidding, but I guess the same as other said above. Greenpeace said one thing, Apple another... And reality is somewhere else.

      • "Distort the Truth" you mean flat out lie. Steve Jobs reality distortion field, didn't wasn't a lie, he showed how things worked and how easy it was to do them, he just left out what you can't do.

        • by Nerdfest (867930)

          Well no, he did actually flat out lie on several occasions, even during some of the iPhone release love-ins.

      • by idontgno (624372)

        I like the symmetry. Apple is more than happy to distort reality for marketing purposes.

        OTOH, if simple symmetry were enough, standing with one foot in liquid nitrogen and the other foot in an oven set to "self-clean", I should be comfortable because the average of those is room temperature.

        Sometimes the average between two sets of conflicting lies is just different lies.

    • by Dutch Gun (899105) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:48PM (#39725925)

      No, actually, Greenpeace can pull numbers out of their ass all day long, and few people challenge them on it, because "it's for a good cause", and "they're just trying to save the planet", etc. The whole "somewhere in the middle" has more relevance when you're talking about arguments with lots of grey areas. We're talking about simple numbers here. Greenpeace made a bunch of guesses on the numbers involved, and they've been called out on their very bad estimates and incorrect assumptions.

      Apple has all the number they need for a very accurate reading on power usage. Unless you're going to accuse Apple of out and out falsifying those numbers (it would be an incredibly stupid thing to do, as one whistleblower would blow the lid on this), then I'm going to have to side with Apple here as being closer to "the truth".

    • by FridgeFreezer (1352537) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:51PM (#39725963)
      Most environmentalists != scientists, it's about time journalists & politicians realised this before bending over to support whatever they dream up this week. How many times have Greenpeace bullied the world into things only to change their minds? Biofuel was the last one that springs to mind - "It's the future, we should all do it!" then just as the world starts to do it "It's destroying the rainforests, don't do it!" Unfortunately they will just shrug and play their "get out of jail free" card that lying about stuff is justified by "drawing attention to the issue". The sad thing is all this just gets in the way of people understanding/caring about/acting on the real issues which might actually benefit the planet.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        And there are a good many scientists that have become environmentalists and left science behind. HOWEVER, because they were scientists once in the past many people figure they can be trusted as accurate in the present. But then again there are scientists who have admitted they made extreme and/or incorrect statements to get their papers accepted by the IPCC and keep their funding so I say to heck with the lot of them when it comes to climate/environment/et al.

        Just accept that humanity is just another anim

    • The truth? Probably somewhere in the middle.

      What makes you think the truth would be somewhere in the middle? That would mean there are two liars. We know there is one liar, but what evidence do you have that there are two?

    • ...who really gives a shit about what Greenpeace thinks?

    • The truth? Probably somewhere in the middle.

      I used to think that too, about a lot of media stories. But I've come to discover that typically they are both lying about a completely irrelevant issue to distract you from the real truth, which is not in the middle, but somewhere way out in left field from the view of the two "sides".

    • Companies like Greenpeace give environmentalism a bad name. They are more about self promotion then about actually saving the environment.
      Oh Look a big data center that does a lot of extra processing so a low powered mobile device can give the features and performance of a higher powered device. And Apple tries to make much of their energy in a green method anyways so overall it is even better.

    • by canajin56 (660655)
      Classic false equivalence, "all statements must be equal, so if one is a lie, all other statements are lies of the exact same magnitude". "The sky is red" "The sky is blue". The principles of democracy and fairness indicate that the sky must therefore be purple!
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:41PM (#39725797)

    I know my experience with meeting Greenpace activists in
    Toronto in the 1980's -- all excited by Fuel Cell Technology
    could not comprehend that the Hydrogen Economy relied
    on having abundant Nuclear Energy. They were not the
    brightest lot on the block.

    They also did not seem to understand that Wind Turbines
    are great bird whackers and kill more birds per year than
    lit up skyscrappers in Toronto.

    They also did not understand that the fabrication of solar
    cells required extremely toxic chemicals such as Selinium
    and also required large tracts of land (thus cut down the trees
    or plow under farmland) to power entire cities.

    From these people I met, if they were representative, I would
    be surprised that they could calculate any energy efficiencies.
    Like I said, they were not the brightest lot on the block.

    LoL

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:45PM (#39725889)

      Absolutely true. The real intelligent green thinkers are working with the system to make things better in baby steps - the only way things can change. We don't generally notice these people, but they do make a difference.

      Greenpeace is anti-system and falls into tired false extremist eco groupthink, which obviously isn't very productive.

    • by mekkab (133181) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:57PM (#39726061) Homepage Journal
      Why did I join Greenpeace in college? well, it's the same reason why I joined the vegetarian club in college. And the same reason I participated in the Occupy Wall Street protests.

      To meet girls with "evolved" morality. Who would let me touch them, without clothing. Basically, for tail.
    • by cheesecake23 (1110663) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:50PM (#39727665)

      Who modded this clown up? Almost every statement he makes is plain wrong.

      I know my experience with meeting Greenpace activists in
      Toronto in the 1980's -- all excited by Fuel Cell Technology
      could not comprehend that the Hydrogen Economy relied
      on having abundant Nuclear Energy. They were not the
      brightest lot on the block.

      The activists were right, you were wrong. The hydrogen economy doesn't require nuclear. Renewables would do equally well. Electrolyzers aren't very expensive per kilowatt and can run on intermittent electricity. Hydrogen is often pushed as a possible way of solving the whole intermittency issue for solar and wind power.

      They also did not seem to understand that Wind Turbines
      are great bird whackers and kill more birds per year than
      lit up skyscrappers in Toronto.

      I don't know about Toronto but here are the stats for Denmark, which gets 25% of its electricity from wind power. They have about 30,000 annual bird deaths from wind turbines, 1 million from cars, 2 million from window collisions, and 5 million from cats.

      the fabrication of solar
      cells required extremely toxic chemicals such as Selinium
      and also required large tracts of land

      Yes, some types of solar cells use toxic chemicals, but so do lots of other industries. As long as they get recycled there's no huge problem with this. But other solar cell types only use silicon, which is 100% harmless. Land requirements are large compared to nuclear, but tiny compared to bioenergy. Solar cells on just a few percent of the world's deserts could supply all the energy we need, but they could also be distributed over other "dead" surfaces like rooftops, parking lots, roadsides, etc.

      From these people I met, if they were representative, I would
      be surprised that they could calculate any energy efficiencies.

      I'm an energy system researcher with no connection to Greenpeace, but the research reports they produce are very good. Did you hear about the recent IPCC "scandal" where some highlighted scenarios originated from a Greenpeace study? That wasn't because the IPCC is partisan, but that at least some parts of Greenpeace do impressive work that gets cited in academic studies.

      Like I said, they were not the brightest lot on the block. LoL

      ... naw, too easy.

      • I'm an energy system researcher with no connection to Greenpeace, but the research reports they produce are very good.

        Except when they flat-out make shit up. I wouldn't trust a Greenpeace report demonstrating that the sky was blue.

  • by SirWinston (54399) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:50PM (#39725951)
    These Greenpeace types are the same people who've prevented us from developing and deploying newer, safer nuclear power plants to replace the less safe older ones which are forced to keep running--and which could replace polluting coal plants and help us immensely in the transition away from the fossil fuels they themselves also decry. They're the same folks who stirred up opposition to Yucca Mountain, yet use the lack of such a facility as a talking point against nuclear. They're the same folks who also fight hydro and anything else with "environmental impact" (i.e., changing anything at all about a local environment). Until they're willing to back some realistic alternatives to current power generation--other than living like Luddite hippies--I tune these idiots out. Solar and wind currently supply only about 1% of our national power generation needs, and there's no chance they'll ever supply it all. Until the Greenpeace types back something useful to our situation, they're the same ones keeping us stuck on fossil fuels. Fuck 'em.
    • Excellent points. But did you know that Greenpeace is opposed to fusion research? In their own words [greenpeace.org]:

      Fusion energy - if it would ever operate - would create a serious waste problem, would emit large amounts of radioactive material and could be used to produce materials for nuclear weapons. A whole new set of nuclear risks would thus be created.

      Contrast this with Fusion.org's FAQ [archive.org] (or consult your physics book):

      The major conclusions reached by the SEAFP team in 1995 were that fusion has very good inherent saf

    • by WebCowboy (196209)

      Until they're willing to back some realistic alternatives to current power generation--other than living like Luddite hippies--I tune these idiots out.

      You DO know that fighting environmental causes is a means to a different end right? Greenpeace will fight ANY method of large scale energy supply. If we end up developing totally safe fusion energy on a large scale that would supply us all with abundant power with no CO2 produced, no dangerous wastes, etc they will fight it tooth an nail--even if they have to completely trump up some reason to do so.

      Greenpeace are made up of "luddite hippies" who want to force all the world to live like "luddite hippies".

  • To be fair, at least greenpeace and apple arrive at the same numbers for the power generated by the wind and solar power plants.
    10%*100MW = 10MW = 60%*20MW.
    So the only difference is the total power consumption, which you have to guess anyway if you are not Apple.
  • by concealment (2447304) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @02:55PM (#39726039) Homepage Journal

    Apple's servers may or may not use an excess amount of power, but this seems to me like environmentalists attacking a detail when they should be attacking the bigger picture. How about laptops we throw out every three years? The ten billion trees that business kills each year in paperwork? All the land consumed by urban blight, that could be open forest? Compared to that, some data center is not really a big deal.

    • by Zironic (1112127)

      While I'm loathe to defend Greenpeace, they wern't attacking anything. They made a comparison between all the cloud providers so that cloud consumers could make informed choices based on their enviremental impact.

      Now since their numbers were off it wasn't very useful.

    • Apple will recycle your laptop for free (postage included).

      If it's worth anything they'll even give you a gift card for a new product.

      Though at only three years old I would sell an Apple laptop, as it would still be worth quite a lot.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:01PM (#39726119) Journal
    Unless somebody is sitting on something as clever as it is secret, it seems highly unlikely that Apple's efficiency per unit data crunched is all that different from any of the other large cloud types. There are certainly better and worse designs, but anybody who doesn't want to bleed money is likely to be in roughly the same ballpark, and using the same silicon, and bound by the same basic energy conversion efficiency constraints.

    Given that, it seems unlikely that there could be a fivefold disagreement about how much power is being used, unless somebody is deeply incompetent, or there are two markedly different estimates of how big Apple's operation is.
    • Greenpeace "assumed" that there was a rule of thumb power-used/cost-of-facility metric. Which they probably made up, but they came up with 1MW/$15 million. (Full report PDF here [greenpeace.org]) Now, not only is that number kinda smelly in and of itself, but they also include the entire $1 billion Apple is spending, which seems to include the cost of their big solar array and fuel cell farm. There could be all kinds of overhead costs in there that don't compare to other facilities, like putting in roads, plans for ex
    • All the frothing against environmentalists in this thread aside, GP does have an interesting response to Apple's denial... [greenpeaceblogs.com]

      While it is good to see Apple acknowledge it should reveal more details of the energy consumption of its data centers, the information they released today does not add up with what they have reported to be the size of the investment and physical size of the data center. When Apple announced they were building a data center in North Carolina, they announced a commitment to invest $1 Billion (USD) over 10 years. For a number of the facilities in the “How Clean is Your Cloud?” report, we made estimates of power demand using fairly conservative industry benchmarks for data center investments: 1MW of power demand from servers for every $15 million, though the number is often closer to $8 Million for many companies. Thus, a $1B investment should net Apple 66MW of computer power demand. Assuming a fairly standard energy efficiency factor for new data centers for non-computer energy demand of 50% gives you a 100MW data center. While Apple is well known for making more expensive consumer products, if Apple’s plans for the $ 1Billion investment only generates 20MW in power demand, that would be taking the “Apple premium” to a whole new level.

      Size Matters

      The size of the facility at 500,000 sq foot would also indicate a much larger power demand. Amazon’s chief web engineer recently conservatively estimated that based just on the size of the facility, the iDatacenter would consume at least 78MW, and speculated that it is probably higher.
      We made these estimates because companies like Apple and Amazon have not disclosed details of how much energy data centers use now and will in the future. We provided Apple with our data prior to releasing the “How Clean is Your Cloud?” report, and while they did not agree with our estimate, they declined to provide specific information on their energy demand.

      My short summary of the argument is that in this case Apple is trying to use secrecy to avoid public scrutiny, and Greenpeace has done their due diligence. Frankly, if Apple won't communicate with an enviro group as large as Greenpeace on matters of waste and power consumption, then it is Apple's attitude and business model that I have to question.

      • Greenpeace's power estimation model is:
        * 1MW / $15M

        Apple announces a $1B datacenter investment, with a huge amount of that money spent on on-site solar panels and other energy efficiency improvments. Greenpeace then says: $1B * 1MB / $15M == 67MW of dirty-fossil fuels.

        Literally the only way Apple could win is by not spending *any* money on a datacenter. Even if they made a datacenter which ran on hydroelectric power and literally sucked CO2 out of the air they would still show up on Gr

        • The size of the facility at 500,000 sq foot would also indicate a much larger power demand. Amazon’s chief web engineer recently conservatively estimated that based just on the size of the facility, the iDatacenter would consume at least 78MW, and speculated that it is probably higher.

          Did you even bother to read the response?

          Literally the only way Apple could win is by not spending *any* money on a datacenter.

          Apart from the likelihood that Apple is lying about power consumption, or they are building a completely new type of data center that consumes huge amounts of space and money in return for relatively little computing power, or they discovered a way to make data centers 5X as efficient as the current state of the art. Perhaps the new facility will include an unannounced detail like, say, office space or a shopping mall? Problem is, you don't get away with that kind of

          • Were I Apple I would tell Greenpeace that they are simply using many less servers than the building size would indicate, the remainder of the space being used to store refrigerated coffins.

            Empty coffins.

            Your move, Greenpeace...

          • Apart from the likelihood that Apple is lying about power consumption, or they are building a completely new type of data center that consumes huge amounts of space and money in return for relatively little computing power, or they discovered a way to make data centers 5X as efficient as the current state of the art. Perhaps the new facility will include an unannounced detail like, say, office space or a shopping mall? Problem is, you don't get away with that kind of surprise without the local authorities shutting you down.

            All of this is pure bullshit speculation. If you read what Apple said, they specifically said that Greenpeace did not account that the total cost including the cost of building a solar array which lowers the number of servers that they would purchase. It has nothing to do with Apple having 5X server efficiency, it's about incorrect assumptions made by Greenpeace about what Apple did or did not purchase. While Apple did not reveal detailed numbers, they did let the public know about the solar array. Gree

  • by seniorcoder (586717) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:04PM (#39726155)
    So which one:
    1. 1. I believe Apple, they would never alter the truth to suit their needs.
    2. 2. I believe Greenpeace, they would never alter the truth to suit their needs.
    3. 3. We're all liars when pushed, and some of us need very little pushing.
    • How about:

      4. I trust any company building out a major data center to take electrical efficiency into account when designing the thing, if for no reason less selfish than wanting to save on their electric bill. Greenpeace seems to think Apple wants to run an electric heater and an air conditioner at the same time, with the windows open and all the lights on. Why wouldn't Apple want to operate their facility as cheaply as possible?

  • by slashbart (316113) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:06PM (#39726187) Homepage
    My sister used to work as a secretary for Greenpeace Netherlands, some 20 years ago. She was appalled at the spending sprees of the then director who would go fancy dining with friends on the Greenpeace credit card. She quit.
    Greenpeace statements have the same relation to truth as the speeches of Joseph Goebbels or the Pravda newspaper from the Soviet era.
    • Power corrupts. Amazing how people at the top of even charitable organizations start with the nonsense. There was a story a few years back about a national sorority chairman who had a $50K statue of herself commissioned.

  • Imo, they're idiots and the thing is, thinks are becoming more environmentally friendly. There is no need for a group like greenpeace and I think they know it so they have to make up stuff to get attention and hopefully donations.
  • by hawguy (1600213) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @03:33PM (#39726611)

    I think Greenpeace is missing the environmental benifit of the Cloud.

    When I want to deploy my website, I can either purchase a SAN and a half dozen servers plus network gear to run it, or I can deploy to Amazon or some other cloud provider where I'm running on the same shared hardware as many other customers.

    • by Altanar (56809)
      If the energy costs are similar or more, then it doesn't matter. Greenpeace doesn't care about equipment cost or deployment cost. It's 100% energy. Theoretically, the energy cost should be similar between cloud and non-cloud. However, server farms a single point of energy purchase with the potential to greatly reduce the amount of energy coming from fossil fuels. Therefore, focusing on cloud data centers and trying to reduce their fossil fuel intake has a high impact potential over trying to get each tiny c
      • by hawguy (1600213)

        If the energy costs are similar or more, then it doesn't matter. Greenpeace doesn't care about equipment cost or deployment cost. It's 100% energy. Theoretically, the energy cost should be similar between cloud and non-cloud. However, server farms a single point of energy purchase with the potential to greatly reduce the amount of energy coming from fossil fuels. Therefore, focusing on cloud data centers and trying to reduce their fossil fuel intake has a high impact potential over trying to get each tiny company to find alternative sources of energy.

        That's the point - by having Amazon's Cloud service available and cheap, I dramatically cut my energy use. If Greenpeace forces them to use more expensive power, they may not be so cheap anymore.

        My website may need only 3 servers to run it. However, since I don't want any single point of failure to take down my site, if I build out my own server infrastructure, I need 6 servers, 2 firewalls, 2 network switches, 2 load balancers, one SAN storage array (with dual controllers), with at least 5 disks (or maybe

  • If companies don't like estimates by Greenpeace, perhaps they should reveal official numbers backed up by data. A single statement from Apple off-handedly spouting a number doesn't it make it any truer than Greenpeace estimating the cost. Sorry, I just don't believe unverified numbers from the likes of Apple. Google's response: Urs Hoelzle Google’s Senior Vice President for Technical Infrastructure - "The company welcomed the Greenpeace report and believed that it would intensify the industry
    • What, we're supposed to take your single unverified claim otherwise as proof? You need to back that statement up with something.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      So we take Greenpeace non-verified numbers at face value?

      No.

      In fact, Apple has a history of being far more honest the Greenpeace. So I'll take Apples word for it until actual proof is presented.

  • Greenpeace ... lying? No! It can't be! I'm shocked, I tell you - shocked!
  • by dylan_- (1661) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:18PM (#39727229) Homepage

    It's always interesting to see the American reaction to a Greenpeace story. We have comments criticising them for being such a massive organisation, "raking in over a quarter of a billions a year worldwide"! And explaining that it's because of Greenpeace that the nuclear industry in the USA has been stifled.

    I do wonder how it is that an organisation that "rakes in" about 1% *annually* of what Apple raked in last *quarter* is somehow bullying Apple? Poor little Apple.

    And this same organisation, who again pull in less than 0.5% of just Valero's turnover, are dictating US energy policy? How did that happen? Presumably it has something to do with the huge number of Green Party Congressmen you currently have...

    • by geekoid (135745)

      PR. People haven't realized that Greenpeace is now full of liars. So when they here Greenpeace says Apple is "bad" it becomes a PR issue with Apple.

      Apple makes the greenest computers at of pretty much all home computers. Has for a very long while. The Greenpeace comes along and Says apple is the worst.
      Why did they say that? because Apple kept the efforts for cleaner system to them selves and Greenpeace equated not publishing your manufacturing plans with being a bad polluter.
      SO the PR caused Apple to chang

      • by dylan_- (1661)

        Apple makes the greenest computers at of pretty much all home computers. Has for a very long while....Why did [Greenpeace] say that? because Apple kept the efforts for cleaner system to them selves

        Why on earth would they do that? With the amount of money Apple spends on PR, why wouldn't they be publicising what a wonderful job they were doing?

        If the media would stop giving the yahoos the time of day, then they wouldn't be able to bully anyone.

        I say again: poor little Apple. Maybe if they spent less money suing other companies, I'd have some sympathy for the little angels. Or perhaps if they could be bothered paying their Chinese employees a living wage? Oh no; that might cut down their profits a bit!

        • Sorry, but as far as I am concerned Greenpeace is an organization that should be recognized as a collection of extremely unprincipled radicals. And as such anyone whom they attack deserves sympathy because you can bet the attacks are at least highly exaggerated if not outright falsified.

    • I do wonder how it is that an organisation that "rakes in" about 1% *annually* of what Apple raked in last *quarter* is somehow bullying Apple?

      Because it's a lot cheaper to destroy than to build. I can pick up a rock, for free, and throw it through an expensive plate glass window.

  • Even if Apple's cloud facilities use tons of energy, it is still a net win for the environment. Think about networked computing in general. Emails and electronic documents have eliminated the need for tons of paper and the energy used to ship them across the globe. Instead of snail mail to Panama, I can just send off an email. Instead of archiving things and photocopying them, which takes up space and energy to air condition/safeguard, I can just put it on discs or store them on the cloud. Even for the prov

  • by geekoid (135745) <(dadinportland) (at) (yahoo.com)> on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @04:52PM (#39727699) Homepage Journal

    Greenpeace hasn't been trustworthy for over 2 decades. They lie, bully and extort.

  • by Above (100351) on Wednesday April 18, 2012 @05:43PM (#39728357)

    Data centers power and cooling capacity are typically expressed as a number of watts per square foot. Apple has said it's a 20MW data center, and 500,000 square feet. Simple math gives us:

    20MW / 500,000 sq feet is 40 Watts per Square Foot

    That is extraordinarily low for a data center built today. Most data centers built today are in the 150-200 watts/square foot range, with some pushing higher. I personally haven't seen a data center built to less than 100 watts/square foot level since about 2000.

    Apple could be doing any number of things that lead to this low rating. It could be using only a fraction of the floor space inside, and thus the 20MW is current draw of a 150 watts/square foot section occupying 1/3 of the total space. They could be doing something interesting with the cooling that requires some lower density power usage. Also, disk arrays tend to be lower power than servers burning away on compute, so they may have lower usage if it is mostly storage capacity for iCloud.

    Still, I am extremely skeptical that Apple would only use 20MW of power in 500,000 feet. The Greenpeace estimates are in line with what other data centers that size would use, 100MW for a data center that size would not at all be surprising. Given Apple's secrecy there's no way to know for sure.

    • I do wonder what apple are running in their datacenter anyway. They dropped the xserve and are refusing to license their server product for anyone elses hardware. If they are running mac pros that would certainly explain a low power density.

    • If TFA is correct, the floor space is 184,000 square feet, so the power density is 108.7 W / square foot, making Apple's numbers sound pretty realistic, even more if the floor space is not used at full capacity.

  • by Loopy (41728)

    1) Accuse high-visibility company of using HUGE amounts of x resource.
    2) Observe company admitting exactly how much they DO use.
    3) Reveal WAG in original claim and propose new claim that real number is still ludicrously high.
    4) ...
    5) PROFIT!!!

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