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Greenpeace pulls a ‘Daisey’

17 April 2012 1,955 views 6 Comments

Blame Mike Daisey and his malignant misadventures with the truth — he went and ruined it for all do gooding liars. The latest self-appointed guardian to fall afoul of the facts in pursuit of Apple-powered publicity is Greenpeace, which is making demonstrably false statements about Apple’s new North Carolina data farm and energy usage.

First off, Greenpeace claims that Apple’s iCloud data farm will use 100MW of power, which is five times more than the 20MW Apple says the facility is expected to consume.

“Our data center in North Carolina will draw about 20 megawatts at full capacity, and we are on track to supply more than 60 percent of that power on-site from renewable sources, including a solar farm and fuel cell installation which will each be the largest of their kind in the country,” Apple spokesperson Kristen Huguet told All Things D. “We believe this industry-leading project will make Maiden the greenest data center ever built, and it will be joined next year by our new facility in Oregon running on 100 percent renewable energy.”

If Greenpeace were off by a few percent or even by half, that would be plausible. A factor of five, however, calls to mind Mike Daisey and his insistence that the word “theater” gives a person the right to ride roughshod over the facts.

Inconvenient truths

Next up, there’s the issue of how much dirty coal energy Apple’s iCloud purportedly will use. Whereas Greenpeace says that Duke Energy, the electric utility that supplies Cupertino’s North Carolina server farm, gets 55 percent of its juice from coal, fresh info in public record indicates the real number is actually 45 percent.

Yes, Greenpeace is quoting public information, too, but newer data (.pdf) doesn’t underscore their point quite as well — call it selective reading, or cherry picking if you prefer, of the available facts.

Or put another way, Greenpeace quotes a number from a US Environmental Protection Agency report that relies on Duke Energy data from 2007. However, Duke has since published data that’s four years younger.

So, what’s all of this about? Exaggerated, falsified and/or misleading claims of how evil the world’s most valuable, profitable and, frankly, best loved company really is — it’s almost as if we’ve seen this bit of theater before…

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