Greenpeace Calls Apple’s iCloud Dirty, Unsustainable



As Tim Cook put it at this morning’s event, Apple’s iCloud “just works” and 100 million customers love the lofty storage service.

Greenpeace, however, says Apple’s iCloud is an unsustainable coal-fueled mess and that the just-announced movie service will only make it worse.

“Apple is about innovation, but buying coal at really cheap source is not innovative,” Greenpeace senior policy analyst Gary Cook told Cult of Mac. “Those data centers [supporting iCloud] are fueled by about 60 percent coal.”

So every time you enjoy “Star Wars” (insert your favorite movie available on iTunes here) from the cloud, you are essentially “watching a movie knowing it’s destroying the Appalachians and using dirty energy,” he added.

Cloud-based storage and computing shift data to energy-intensive computer farms, or data centers, are growing at an unprecedented rate, Greenpeace noted in a statement.

The global environmental organization wants Apple to explore using renewable energy like solar or wind to power data centers. Cook says he hopes that Apple will clean up its cloud act.

“Companies like Facebook, Yahoo and Google are doing much better in terms of a cleaner grid, we hope to see Apple do the same.”

Or, it could continue to lag behind the rest of the industry by sticking with coal, “a 19th-century technology that poisons communities and the climate.”

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  • Bob Roebling

    Greenpeace would really hate me…how I love me some instant streaming iCloud goodness!

  • FriarNurgle

    Greenpeace is not very green itself. 

  • Brandon Rodriguez

    I’ve never heard a thing about Google, Adobe or Yahoo saying that they use green renewable energy for their plants. And none of them have a section on there website about each product they have saying how green it is. Now, back to instant streaming Contagion.

  • Len Williams

    Didn’t I read just a few days ago how Apple is planning and building a huge new solar and wind farm to power its data center? Isn’t this already in the works? Seems a strange time for Greenpeace to be braying again. I’m all for doing the right thing ecologically, but it seems like Apple is getting far more than its share of bashes from Greenpeace.

    I found it: Back in November 2011 Apple applied for permits to build a solar farm on 171 acres in North Carolina near their data center. Here’s the link:

  • Aaron

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but isn’t Apple already building a large solar farm for this facility?

  • Jordan Clay

    Ohh my god, COAL!  how could they? Apple is just a big nasty corporation and only wants to make money.  

    They should go solar,  and only allow us to use it between the hours of 8am-7pm EST.  But they they would have to cut down trees.  So, maybe they should go Nuclear, and store the waste for a couple million years.  So, maybe wind…but those things are ugly and kill birds and bats. So, Maybe there isn’t an answer and various technologies have to work together including Coal, nuclear, solar and wind as Apple is doing now.

  • Bob Roebling

    The only reason Greenpeace is attacking Apple is because Apple stated they are trying to go green.  I’ll give them an A for effort, hey Greenpeace, see who uses more energy between Apple, Google, Microsoft, and Adobe, then start making your obnoxious liberal slanders.

  • infin1023

    Greenpeace didn’t receive the invitation for yesterday, so they get mad ! 

  • pengwing

    First, isn’t Apple already building like a solar farm? Also, I don’t buy into this go green protect the earth bull. We’ve been here for 6,000 years (some say it’s been like millions) and we don’t start worrying about te environment until now? That’s crazy! The enviornment is fine! Now I’m not saying we should all just litter and rip up our neighbor’s lawns, but you get my point. Also, how could Apple fall behind? I read they have more money than the government! Also, no one cares about how it works. They just want it to work.

  • Len Williams

    If you do a search for “Apple Solar Farm” you’ll find lots of articles even from last year about Apple applying for solar farm permits, yet Greenpeace seems to know nothing about this. Apple has had this plan running since November 2011 yet Greenpeace is grandstanding again about how bad Apple is, and isn’t doing any of its homework.

  • ClickMe

    Apple’s not about innovation. They’re about selling hardware. 

  • CruxFiveTen

    Greenpeace, You can kiss my…. *momma* 

  • Intersil Juniper

    Does Greenpeace realize how much less paper will be used in future. 

    Alone Vancouver citycouncil mentioned they spend 50 tons less paper in a year time alone after Ipad was integraded.

    On future there is not going to be any paper indursty anymore, nor there is going to be any mailbox outside of the house.

    Save the planet / forest – buy Ipad and stop ordering any papers / magazines offline anymore.

    Icloud centers are going to be driven by solar panels and not coal, even Greenshit should know this allready. Apple has allready ordered for it´s cloudcenters plans for solar energy.

  • ElVox

    And why should people care about what a bunch of ecoterrorists say about anything? F them in the ear with an icepick.

  • ClickMe

    That’s one of the most selfish and arrogant things anyone has ever said.

  • Tim Lanfair

    apple is moving forward on building solar farms for all its facilities,, oh and when there done the utility companies are gonna buy from apple,,, (there excess) green peace should really do some homework before making outlandish statements!!!!!!!

    snark,,,, see i can do it to greanpiece,,, lol

  • Tim Lanfair

    and what is google, dell, hp, verizon, att, etc,,, seriously,, Apple is pushing the envelop far beyond everyone,, they are a tech company,,, with a should,, thanks!

  • stanley334

    We have actually worried about it before, take Easter Island where the population destroyed the ecosystem and therefore itself. We just haven’t worried about it on this scale before because up until the industrial revolution we didn’t have the technology at our disposal to do so much damage. Unless you’ve been stuck at home all day watching (non-environmental disaster) movies on apple TV, you might have noticed the environment is far from fine. I’ve got an Apple TV, an iPhone, iMac, and I care about how all of it works.

  • ex_spy_guy

    Apple needs to move the data enter to Oakland, open up the navy base and get a couple of nuke powered carriers to go pierside next to it and use them to power iCloud.

  • Thomas Earle Moore

    Has anyone totaled up a comparison of 100 million big hard disk desktop PCs versus 100 million iPads using a data center? 

  • David Marshall

    Star Wars isn’t available on iTunes, making Gary Cook’s “every time you enjoy Star Wars from the cloud…” ironic.

  • ClickMe

    There is NOTHING about any product they’ve made in the last 10 years that is innovative.

    I didn’t say it wasn’t the BEST just not the most INNOVATIVE.

  • speedmaster

    1. Who asked them for their opinion?

    2. Do they feel the same way about the Volt?

  • DrM47145

    Dear Mr. Gary Cook;

    Exactly how full of sh*t are you? 

    Following your line of thought, if the same number of people who are actually STREAMING a movie would instead DRIVE to the theater, considering the amount of fuel that would be burnt by all those cars, I guess in your eyes, would that  be an ECOLOGICAL MASSACRE?

    I’m all for ecology, but I think you are exaggerating a little bit. Instead of ludicrously attacking Apple, I would suggest you, as a Senior Policy Analyst (whatever that means), put things in perspective and think twice before you verbalize. Unless, of course, you want to damage Greenpeace’s already damaged reputation.

    With all due respect for the organization you represent, and with no respect for your comments on this article, sincerely,


  • John Lehmkuhl

    Greenpeace dropped the ball on this one – do your homework before you attack Apple. It seems like everybody is on an “Evil Apple” war mongering binge lately…. 

  • pengwing

    You guys are missing my point. And I’m not trying to argue. I’m also not saying that I dont care at all about the enviornment. No, we do need to take care of it, but we do have dominion over it and shouldnt worship it. But when you attack a company because of the way they do a service, that’s going too far.

  • Bob Forsberg

    Nicole…. have you been spending time with the wacky guy on Apple’s board, AL Gore?

  • Andy Murdock

    I was walking through Noe Valley the other day when I witnessed a Greenpeace petitioner casually spit on our sidewalk. Spitting on the sidewalk is a discussing habit, I don’t want to step in your spit. He asked me if I could spare a little time to help save the world, which was funny because I was at that very moment on my way to save the world, which I almost failed in doing due to the lost second spent avoiding the Greenpeace petitioner’s spit.
    Greenpeace, please don’t spit on our sidewalks.

  • Buster
  • Porkbamboo

    This is maybe the smartest thing anyone on here has said.

  • Steven King

    Green peace should practice what it preaches.


  • Kurt Arnlund

    I think Greenpeace is just setting up so they can claim that it was their suggestion when the rest of the world starts to hear about the solar farms.

  • Yossarian829

    I don’t work for Duke Energy but I live in Charlotte. You guys can read for yourselves. Google, Facebook, Apple all have data centers in western NC on Duke’s grid. All 3 are along the Catawaba valley and one can surmise that they absorb a ton of hydro and nuke electrons.

  • morgan3nelson

    Blah, Blah, Blah, Blah.  Greenpeace really produces nothing of value – they are just professional BITCHERs.  Why don’t they put their HUGE BRAINS to work developing sustainable power  instead of bitching about people not using a sustainable power source?

    Thanks Nicole for yet another Martinelli Post about nothing remotely useful.

  • Ed_Kel

    These tree-hugging parasites need to go home already.

  • Ed_Kel


    Dirty. Dirty. Troll.

  • Ed_Kel

    Please elaborate?

    Are you just one of those climate change believers that hates on everyone with a different opinion?

  • welladriansays

    This is a bad move by greenpeace.

    They have shown a fair deal of cynicism in going after a company, mostly on the grounds that it gets a lot of press coverage – and chosen a time of maximum press coverage to do it.

    They have also chosen a company with very good green credentials, in the reduction of packaging, use of recyclable materials and the move to power their buildings with solar.

     – I wonder if in a few months when the news of Apples solar powered facilities reaches the mainstream media, greenpeace will take credit for it?

    i think all they have really achieved is to make themselves look like a bunch of opportunists, more interested in self promotion than facts or results?

    and if i’m not mistaken, they seem to be wearing disposable clothing, which doesn’t seem that environmentally friendly.

  • Len Williams

    Apple’s solar farm plans reached the mainstream media back in November of 2011. Greenpeace didn’t do its homework at all. Instead they should be praising Apple for its responsibility for creating this huge 100+ acre solar farm in North Carolina. The solar farm was also in an article on CoM, Macworld and many other sites, so it’s not new news.

  • CharliK

    Actually they already cut down a ton of trees to build the center so they probably have a nice clear space for solar panels (which is why they are doing them) and wind turbines (which could be a next step). 

    Greenpeace is just doing what everyone does, getting free press by name dropping Apple in a half assed, faulty claim about whatever. If Greenpeace had done their research they would know about the solar farm etc. 

    And I wonder if Greenpeace is still using paper etc for their mailers and do their members still use gas burning cars and on the grid homes with city powered electricity and natural gas. 

  • Scott Duval

    that is true, thay are building solar for the NC facility

  • prof_peabody

    spot on. 

  • CharliK

    We are just worrying now because we didn’t have the tech see the changes before now. 

    We should start now before we end up in a world like what they show on things like the Matrix and Terra Nova and it’s too late. But places like Greenpeace spend way too much time on focusing on what isn’t happening rather than actually assisting in making change start now. And most of the members are hypocrites going home to non solar homes that don’t have their own home garden and a gas powered car in the driveway. So perhaps they should focus on that first. 

  • CharliK

    Nah. Hitting them in the head with an out of warranty iPad is so much better. Especially an iPad 1. Thicker and heavier. 

  • CharliK

    Probably the same actually. Especially if you are looking at it in terms of cost per GB served out. 

    But lets look at how much a data center from say 5 years ago was using compared to now and thanks to more efficient chips, flash storage etc I bet it’s noticeably less. Each unit processor is likely less of a power drain, less power to run the hard drives, less power needed to cool the units because they don’t heat up as much thanks to the reduction in moving parts. and so on. 

    I would wager that a data center running on 100 million headless Mac Minis with SSD drives is probably way more energy efficient than the equal storage in an old X Serve setup or old Mac Pro one.  

  • CharliK

    Not to mention that most folks are so paranoid that the studios will yank this iTunes in the Cloud system away that they keep a local copy anyway. the ‘in the cloud’ is just in case of hard drive crashes. 

    plus with TWC etc taking us over the coals on bandwidth, who is going to be streaming 1080p movies over and over. Download it and then home share. 

  • CharliK

    I would say that Apple is far from awesome on the green game. But they are constantly trying and that is more than most so it is still worthy of praise not scorn. 

    Have you been in a store lately. You have to ask for a bag, for a paper receipt etc. they are doing it their paperwork all on iPads and emailing you a copy. same with your receipts. Those new shirts were supposedly picked because they hold up better. They encourage can and bottle recycling etc. Supposedly they gave every employee a reusable hot/cold cup as part of their holiday gift to encourage workers to skip the paper and plastic cups at the local starbucks etc. They give employees that want to take the bus free passes to the local service, they give bike riders a stipend for maintenance as well. yes they are little things but they add up. 

  • ratay1

    ((cough)) can you please bestow on us your definition of innovation?

  • joewaylo

    I do see a point as we are going Tablets and Phones more than PCs and Macs. But how is it any different than attacking the humans that drive millions of 15 MPG vehicles a day?

  • macgizmo

     Congratulations, Andy! Your reply made me laugh… something I tend not to do when I read article comments on tech sites due to all the dipshittery that gets posted.

  • ElVox

    And what did that poor iPad do to you for you to abuse it that way? The icepick at least can defend itself! :)

  • ADimensionOfMind

    Shame to see COM giving space to the increasingly irrelevant ramblings of Greenpeace.  I work with rural groups on investigating better power solutions for isolated areas and there’s no perfect option. However it’s good to see people trying, like Apple is trying with its new solar farms.  Perhaps GP should start looking beyond its own navel before passing judgement on others…and did no one at COM ask for their comment on Apple’s solar initiatives rather than letting them talk, well, crap.

  • Bobtrumpet

    1. Are they f-ing serious? What do you (Greenpeace) think recharges all the Volts and Leafs out there? (Not that there are that many . . .)

    2. They should be supporting nuclear (sustainable) power, like one of their founders (Patrick Moore) has been doing.

  • Robert Pruitt

    Who gives a damn what Green Peace thinks?  I think Steve Jobs would ask “What have they ever created?”  The answer… nothing.  They can’t even stop Japanese whalers, they are inept, idiotic and to throw in one more insult that begins with an “i”, infertile!

  • aelfheld

    “Those data centers [supporting iCloud] are fueled by about 60 percent coal.” 

    So are those electric cars the enviro-weenies keep trying to shove us into.

  • Tony Davies

    God damnit, when I read the article, I thought it was and was about to buy it. Is Tim Cook a Star Wars fan? Perhaps he can go on a Jobsian Beatles-esque crusade to Lucas and get him to make another buttload of money.

  • Nicole

     That’s my bad, actually. Wishful thinking inserted as an example (?) that’s why that part isn’t in quotes…

  • Robert Gauthier

     Bet you think the earth is flat too

  • Robert Gauthier

    One, they did not get a press trial iPad
    Two, Greenpeace likes to greenmail people
    Three, anything successful uses energy, and my guess is the power in that part of NC is more likely hydroelectric or nuclear from TVA
    Four, they are making a solar farm and buying fuel cells for generation also, so they are trying way  more than others are.
    I am tired of hating on everything successful.  Good company, good products, good stock and a good corporate citizen. 60 Minutes never talks about media companies with bad records, just other industries. 
    BTW, Tim Cook looked like he was channeling Jobs yesterday, or was i imagining that?

  • HarryTheHatt

    God, could you find someone more elitist than this Nicole Martinelli?  Traveled the world, lived in MILAN, FLORENCE, she writes for the NYT, Newsweek.  Really, does she expect to be taken seriously?

    Greenpeace is a loser’s organization.  The best thing that ever happened was when the Frogs sank that terrorist ship the Rainbow Warrior.  

    Don’t you just love these lefties?  They pratter on about all manner of concern — and they have their soire’s in SF and NYC, London, MILAN, etc., while the rest of the world labors producing the valuke that funds their effort.  AND WE BURN COAL DOING IT!

    Greenpeace should die an unhappy death.

  • Dilbert A

    Green Peace needs to stick a sock in it.

    They’re a bunch on hypocrites and head cases.

  • Willie

    All you people defending Apple and hating Greenpeace should STOP already, these huge corporations need to be kept in check at all times, they are already getting away will all kinds of things, so let’s think more about our earth and less about our absurd devotion to a brand. Thank you. By the way I am a Apple Fan Boy, but I love the world at large. 

  • sir1jaguar

    Fuck you all APPLE stupids…

    For god sake, will you stop even one day to defend apple.

    Do they gave you money and tell you that they will help you when you have problems, NO…


  • howie_isaacks

    Greenpeace can piss off!  They’re a bunch of anti-business, anti-capitalism enviro-nazis.  Why does anyone pay attention to them?  I’ve deal with these wack jobs before while serving on a nuclear submarine.  They come along side the subs in old smoke spewing boats polluting the air around them while our nice clean submarine doesn’t harm anyone.

  • pollix

    I’m sure Apple is doing their part.  Of course coal is cheaper and it was probably the best thing at the time to get the server farms setup quickly.  No complaints from me.

  • reeshlls

    how bout this, go fuck yourself greenpeace! if it were up to you, we’d all live like russian peasants, pulling up our own potatoes in vacant fields. 

  • chris johnson

    Reasonable of Greenpeace to point it out.  Smart of Apple to invest – Al Gore must see the spin-off.

  • CaptainClarity

    I just find it funny that any of those green-pee people would call anybody else “dirty.”

  • CaptainClarity

    Are you suggesting that you “love the world at large” and others don’t?  My, my, I guess we all owe you and apology your highness.  Please forgive us.   

    You and I both posted our replies with a keyboard… connected to some computer …plugged into a power source (coal maybe?) …transmitted with power across data lines, to some server in some highly powered data center, so I shudder to think how much impact you have made on the environment.  Do you know the power sources of all of those carriers and the data center hosting you opinion (caol maybe)?  Do you feel any guilt for your actions?  Now turn off your computer, turn out the lights, shut off your power, move to the woods and go hug a tree and tell it your sorry.  If you don’t, “someone” might call you a hypocrite.

    Where did you learn that corporations “are already getting away will all kinds of things?” Did you hear this in a drum circle at an OWS rally?  Because this is the kind of solid factual data one would usually expect from an occupye.Newsflash: A lot of Apple employees are greenies.  I can guarantee that Apple has done more to help the environment than you ever will.… 

  • CaptainClarity


  • CaptainClarity

    Well it sounds to me like I would be evil for driving my gas burning car to the theater or watching TV, which is always hosted in data centers and streamed through HUGE cable companies.  I guess I will just have to give up entertainment altogether.  My PC consumes about 750 watts and reading requires good lighting (bulbs sucking power) so I guess I will just go grab some WOOD and light a fire to stare at all night. (cough, cough).

    I think all 7 billion of us should protest power, leave the brightly-lit cities and move to the woods.  I will see you at the CAMP FIRE (cough, cough).

  • CaptainClarity

    Yeah, I wonder of Apple is buying their RECs from Gore?

  • CaptainClarity

    Did you just “will” your opinion to be posted here, or did you post it with a computer or maybe an iPad?  

    Did you confirm the power sources of all of the Internet carriers before your opinion traversed the Internet to get here?  

    Did you confirm the power sources that power the data center where this website is hosted before you posted? 

    Do you realize that every single person who read your post had to use a computer, iPad or some other powered device to access and download your opinion for display on their brightly lit monitor?  

    How many times have you posted your opinion on the Internet?  

    Are you feeling guilty about your actions yet?  

    Are you going to keep doing it? 

     Oh WAIT, I think I just heard a tree cry.  Stop it Willie, you’re hurting them!  Stop it already …please.  :-(

  • CaptainClarity

    Hey Willie, I see from your profile that you live in New York, New York. I live out in the hills. Did you see the stars and the moon last night? They were beautiful! Oh WAIT, you can’t see the stars because your city is lit up like a friggin’ Christmas tree! In fact, your quiet, humble little abode consumes so much energy that it can be seen from outer-space.

    You guys in the big cities just bulldozed all signs of life, paved everything, erected steel and concrete monstrosities, ship in your power from the countryside to light up everything all night long in “the city that never sleeps” and then you lecture those of us who live out here producing energy for you.

    I, on the other hand like to just sit out on my patio … under the stars and then go to sleep early so we can wake up early and produce more stuff for you to consume. Most of us out here in fly-over country produce and export, food, grains, fruit and vegetables, livestock, durable goods, oil and gas, cars, trains, buses, books, clothing, housewares, concrete, steel and everything else you in New York need to consume and survive. What do you export? Opinions. Opinion about the rest of us who make your life possible.

    Oh! You’re welcome.

  • DrM47145


    Are you crazy???? NOOOOO!!!! You evil tree killer!!!! 

    Don’t you dare to start a camp fire, don’t you know it releases a humongous amount of CO2?
    If you do that, YOU will be DIRECTLY RESPONSIBLE for GLOBAL WARMING!!!!

    We should all just stay still, breathe shallow and DON’T EVEN FART, because methane ALSO contributes to global warming! That’s what we must do. Don’t even watch movies, just stay still, in the darkness. And by the way, eat bugs and roaches, they have proteins!

  • CaptainClarity

    Well hello “ClickMe” and welcome to Earth.  Where are you from?

  • Ben Graham

    60% coal is not various technologies having to work together. Plus i think killing a tiny amount of birds is better than polluting the atmosphere and killing billions of all kinds of animals, including humans, dont you?

  • Ben Graham

    typical american; has been totally persuaded by the american goverment, owned by the oil companies. we didnt need to worry about it back then before the industrial revolution. population has times by more than 7 in the last 100 years, weve started burning fossil fuels as much as weve been drinking water. And weve started producing hundreds of billions of tons of greenhouse gases (approaching 1 billion) That is why we need to change! 

  • Ben Graham

    the enviroment is not a religion. You cant ignore it, its like ignoring this whole planet. you have to believe in climate change, you wont forgive yourself..

  • Brad Mullins

    Greenpeace cares about nothing!  I’m 29 and the hippies have changed their tune repeatedly.  There used to be a hole in the ozone they preached but it disappeared, there used to be global warming but the world start cooling and NOW they’ve got it figured out with man made climate change.  You job killers make me sick. If you cared any for your own appalachian people/mountains you wouldn’t be thumbing your nose at the only industry they have.  Its time to put your bullshit aside because its time for America to have jobs and to prosper once again.  I’m a liberal myself but these hippies have killed our infrastructure and natural resource industry so in turn we purchase and use MORE oil supplied from our friendly middle eastern allies. 

  • CharliK

    iPads are a lot sturdier than folks think. I actually saw an iPad 2 that was run over by a car and the dang thing was still running. You couldn’t really read the screen cause the glass was shattered but you could see there were still lights on and when it was plugged into a computer it would still back up the data

  • CharliK

    Sorry but no. That comment isn’t any more ironic than rain on your wedding day or a free ride when you already paid. 

    What it is perhaps is a sign of how lazy and uninformed Mr Cook is about things Apple. it would have taken perhaps 30 seconds for him to actually find a movie that is available on iTunes and the same to google and find countless ads about Apple’s solar farm plans. 

  • CharliK

    And of those 3, how many have announced plans to add solar power etc. 

    Heck the new Cupe campus is going to be covered in panels as well and Apple is supposedly already in talks to sell the excess power to Cupertino for local use. 

  • ElVox

    The problem is that you’d fill the iPad with the crap that ecoterrorists use instead of brains.

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