After nailing Nestle's chocolate-covered balls to the wall last month for their use of non-renewable palm oil, it seems that environmental advocacy group Greenpeace is turning its sights on Apple, criticizing the company's new iPad handheld device for having "a much larger carbon footprint than previously estimated."
Greenpeace's report, which they issued this week, says that Apple's iPad is going to dramatically increase the demand for "cloud computing," which it says is harmful to the environment since much cloud computing is powered by dirty coal.
Although Greenpeace seemed to be singling Apple out, it quickly backpedaled as the blog post went on, stating that they weren't, in fact, singling Apple out:
"To be clear: We are not picking on Apple. We are not dissing the iPad...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."
So although they're writing an entire blog post about how the Apple iPad is going to increase demand for dirty coal-powered cloud computing, they're not singling Apple out. Got it.
Greenpeace's argument is that devices like the iPad are going to increase the use of social networks, video streaming and all manner of other online services - which is true. They pointed out that Facebook's recently announced Prineville, Oregon datacenter will primarily be running on dirty coal power - which is true. They further go on to state that the estimated power consumption by telecommunication networks and data centers in 2020 will have trebled from its current rate - which is probably true, considering how much more "networked" the entire world is becoming. Greenpeace concludes that handheld devices (of which they only name on - the iPad) will add to the problem of global warming caused by fossil fuel consumption - which is most definitely not true.
Powering an iPad uses considerably less energy than powering your PC - considerably. The average new PC has a 400+ watt power supply, meaning that you burn almost an entire kilowatt hour every two hours that it's turned on, whether you're actually using it or not. Don't believe me? Go feel the heat radiating out of the back of your PC or the bottom of your laptop. That heat is the byproduct of all of the energy your computer is wasting.
Now feel your iPad. Is it hot? Is it kicking out mad BTU's, making your pockets all sweaty? No, it's not - because it's a much cleaner, efficient device than that clunky computer on your desk.
Singling out the iPad is nothing more than an attempt on Greenpeace's part to grab the coattails of the iPad launch this week to draw attention to something completely unrelated - data centers and cloud computing, which are used by countless devices in the world besides Apple's iPad. In fact, Greenpeace has praised Apple in the past for it's environmentally friendly construction of the newer generations of iPhones and now, the iPad, which is created without arsenic, polyvinyl chloride, mercury, brominated flame retardant (whatever the hell that is).
The fact that they've turned so quickly on Apple simply indicates that Greenpeace holds the rest of the world in disdain - they think we don't understand what cloud computing is, and if they don't encouch the issues surrounding carbon emissions caused by cloud computing in something we understand and care about - our shiny new iPads, for example, people won't care. It's exactly that sort of nose-in-the-air attitude that's given Greenpeace such a bad name in the past - a name they're not, apparently, interested in changing.