Greenpeace slams cloud computing, Facebook, Apple for using dirty power

Relying on electricity from coal-fueled power plants expands environmental damage, report says

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Cloud computing, by concentrating vast compute power in data centers that are a lot more power-efficient than thousands of small server farms, should actually reduce overall power use.

Greenpeace actually saved its big artillery for IT vendors, including Apple, Facebook, IBM, Google, HP, Twitter and Yahoo – all of which have more celebrity name appeal than "cloud."

Apple gets special focus from Greenpeace's evil eye for relying on coal-powered sources of electricity for 54 percent of its power.

That could rise even higher if it goes ahead with a $1 billion new data center in North Carolina, which gets 61 percent of its power from coal-fired plants.

That's bad enough, especially for a company whose image is the most nature-issue-friendly of any of the big IT vendors. Apple will do its greatest environmental damage not by building a data center in North Carolina, however, but by its proposed name: iDataCenter.

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