updated 08:40 pm EDT, Tue March 30, 2010
Group credits iPad with helping drive emissions
The activist group Greenpeace has publicly blasted the iPad and Dell over different environmental issues. The organization labels the iPad one of many "quintessential cloud computing devices" that are credited with driving the technology industry's demand for dirty coal power.
“As the cloud grows, the IT industry’s appetite for energy will only increase, so the industry must become strong advocates for renewable energy solutions and strong laws that cut global warming pollution,” said Greenpeace campaigner Casey Harrell.
The group's recent "Make IT Green" report claims that current growth rates, data centers, and telecommunication networks will collectively consume approximately 1,963 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity in 2020. If the forecast is accurate, the numbers represent a tripling of current consumption rates and over half the total energy usage by the entire United States.
Despite the focus on Apple's iPad, Greenpeace only calls out Facebook as a direct contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. The social networking site opened its own data center in Prineville, Oregon, a location that allegedly relies on coal-based power from the utility company PacifiCorp.
Dell has been accused of backtracking on its previous promises to eliminate hazardous chemicals from its range of products, while Apple has been lauded for following through with such actions. The computer maker initially claimed it would remove PVC and BFRs by 2009, however the deadline was later pushed to 2011.
"Dell was aspiring to be the greenest tech company on the planet," Greenpeace spokeswoman Iza Kruszewska told The Register. "Apple, HP and even cheapo Acer, which has four lines of notebooks free of PVC and BFRs, have all jumped ahead. Shame on you Dell."
"We have always been committed to eliminating BFR/PVC from our products, and we plan to achieve that goal by the end of 2011 for newly introduced personal computing products," said a Dell spokesman. "This task presents challenges, but we're working closely with our suppliers to find reliable, environmentally preferable alternatives that maintain the performance standards our customers require."
"The company is just a bloody marketing machine," said Kruszewska.
Greenpeace on Monday staged protests outside Dell offices in Bangalore and Amsterdam. The group plans to hold additional protests aimed at bringing attention to the company's broken promises.