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Facebook, Greenpeace call truce over 'dirty data'

December 15, 2011 |  9:56 am

Datacenter
Facebook and Greenpeace have called a truce over so-called dirty data after the environmental organization used the social networking giant's own site to rally for the cause.

Facebook has formed a partnership with Greenpeace to campaign for the use of clean and renewable energy, they said in a joint announcement Thursday.

The announcement was sparse in details but big on public-relations value for Facebook.

"Facebook looks forward to a day when our primary energy sources are clean and renewable, and we are working with Greenpeace and others to help bring that day closer," Marcy Scott Lynn of Facebook's sustainability program said in the statement.

Greenpeace has attacked Facebook for using coal to power its data centers with an Unfriend Coal campaign that drafted 700,000 online activists to call on Facebook to use clean energy instead.

“Greenpeace and Facebook will now work together to encourage major energy producers to move away from coal and instead invest in renewable energy. This move sets an example for the industry to follow,” Tzeporah Berman, co-director of Greenpeace’s International Climate and Energy Program, said in the statement. “This shift to clean, safe energy choices will help fight global warming and ensure a stronger economy and healthier communities.”

Facebook has pledged to use clean and renewable energy in its data centers. Facebook has launched the "Green on Facebook" initiative and the Open Compute Project which aims to build low-cost, highly efficient technology for data centers.

Facebook tipped its hat to Greenpeace's deft use of Facebook.

Last year Facebook opened a data center in Prineville, Ore., that saves energy by taking advantage of the climate there. But Greenpeace protested that Facebook used a power company that generates most of its electricity from coal. It launched a campaign on Facebook to get Facebook to rely on renewable energy. The page has more than 180,000 followers.

Facebook said it would work with the organization to engage users and communities on how to save energy.

Greenpeace said the agreement "raises the bar" for Apple, Microsoft, Twitter and others. IT says that the data centers operated by online services total more than 2% of all U.S. electricity demand.

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— Jessica Guynn

Photo: Engineer Lee Rodriguez monitors huge transformers at the Garland Center that would kick in during a power outage and keep the many computer servers in the building running. Photo credit: Bob Chamberlin / Los Angeles Times 

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