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Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should 288

Posted by timothy
from the not-enough-greenwashing dept.
Jason Koebler (3528235) writes "The biggest thing that sets the Amazon Fire Phone apart from its Android and Apple competitors probably isn't the clean interface or the unlimited photo storage—it's the dirty power behind it. When Fire users upload their photos and data to Amazon's cloud, they'll be creating a lot more pollution than iPhone owners, Greenpeace says. Apple has made a commitment to running its iCloud on 100 percent clean energy. Amazon, meanwhile, operates the dirtiest servers of any major tech giant that operates its own servers—only 15 percent of its energy comes from clean sources, which is about the default national average." Greenpeace's jaundiced eye is on Amazon more generally; the company's new phone is just an example. Maybe Amazon or some other provider could take a page from some local utilities and let users signal their own preferences with a (surcharged) "clean energy" option.
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Greenpeace: Amazon Fire Burns More Coal and Gas Than It Should

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  • It's funny because "fire" and "coal". /sarcasm

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2014 @11:27AM (#47538709)

    This whole "I buy my energy from green sources" crap is hipsterism at its finest. It's even more hipster than goddamn "walled garden" cell phones with unusable flat UIs, glasses with no lenses, and fedora hats.

    It represents everything that's fucked up about hipsters and their toxic attitude:

    1) They think they're "making a difference" without actually doing anything beneficial at all.

    2) They brag about how they're "making a difference", when they obviously aren't.

    3) They feel good about how they're "making a difference", when they haven't done a goddamn thing.

    4) They think they care about the environment, when they clearly don't.

    5) They subject the rest of us to their "environmental justice" and "social justice" crap without end.

    These hipsters make me sick. Give me back the hippies of the 1960s, or the real environmentalists of the 1970s! As obnoxious as they often were, at least they weren't filthy hypocrites like today's hipsters are. They actually managed to practice what they preached, even if they were out of touch with reality. Hipsters today are totally out of touch, and can't even be assed to live by how they say everyone should should be living.

    • by CastrTroy (595695) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @11:42AM (#47538797) Homepage
      What would be even more green is having a phone with an SD card slot so that you wouldn't need to be connected to "the cloud" to have a reasonable amount of content stored on it.
      • As someone who has been intensely studying sneakernet/internet parallelism i can tell you SD cards are not a great panacea. The best replacement for 3rd party clouds is PERSONAL clouds running a server at your house, over SSL. I like having the option of SD, dont get me wrong, but im not running banks of SD cards like i thought i would.
    • I don't know, building your datacenter near a hydro-electric dam or a wind farm, or in a cool place so it doesn't need as much cooling, seems like it actually does make a difference.
      • by Sqr(twg) (2126054)

        The main way to make datacenters environmentally friendly is to build them near windfarms, and to build more capacity than you need. Then process data in the center where electricity is the cheapest, i.e. where there is an excess of wind at the moment. This increases the profitability of windfarms and leads to more investment.

    • by jez9999 (618189) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @12:39PM (#47539073) Homepage Journal

      And they tend to oppose nucelar power which is our best way of actually getting enough "clean energy" for modern society.

    • It's a shame (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2014 @12:44PM (#47539107)

      Give me back the hippies of the 1960s, or the real environmentalists of the 1970s! As obnoxious as they often were, ....

      It's a shame with all this hostility towards environmentalists.

      They were the ones who pushed for cleaner air and water. They were the ones who helped get lead out of gasoline.

      If it weren't for them, we'd have the environment of China because businesses do not care. Pollution is the tradgedy of the commons - folks pollute and the rest of society pays for the costs.

      During the Summer here in coal powered Metro Atlanta, air quality gets so bad that it kills suseptable young children and the elderly.

      But use cleaner and more expensive energy?! Fuck no!

      Gotta power all those Chinese made electronic gadgets - especially the big screen TV plugged into the overpriced cable because we gotta have our sports!

      And of course there are the gas guzzling SUVs and "manly" pickup trucks - many driven by "No-noes" (folks who drive a truck just to be manly and NEVER actually use it to haul anything). Oh no! Cannot look like a fag driving something a bit more sensible and perfectly adequate with 4 cyclinders.

      But I actually walk the walk - and I save a shit load of money.

      That's right. Living "green" is CHEAP!

      Cheaper cars, lower fuel expenses, no cable bill, no expensive cell phone bills because I don't have a smart phone, cheaper electricity because I don't have a TV in every room or any other energy sucking toys.

      I walk to local stores - they're less than half a mile away. See, being "green" also saves money on exercise. Why pay hundreds of dollars and get locked into a shitty gym contract when walking and carrying packages is great exercise?

      Much our polution is because of our insane consumerist culture. Buy, buy, buy! Spend money! Go into debt! Sign away your freedom and enslave ourselves with debt because we gotta have those electronic toys, big trucks, cable TV, etc ...

      If we learned to live simpler and deeper, we'd be much happier as a society and things would clean up on their own because we would spend time doing important things instead of wasting it on shit doing shit.

      • by MrL0G1C (867445)

        I'm an environmentalist, and I agree, there are a lot of people who say they care about the environment but if you suggest any lifestyle changes they immediately dismiss the idea without accepting that supporting the environment might mean some small compromises. Like a person who owned 10ish properties but wouldn't buy an environmentally cleaning product because of the price is a bit more.

        You ask a person with a large SUV is they 'support the environment'.

      • It's a shame with all this hostility towards environmentalists.

        They were the ones who pushed for cleaner air and water. They were the ones who helped get lead out of gasoline.

        The problem is people conflating environmentalists (people who actually give a crap about the environment, learn and understand the problems and try to figure out a sensible way to make our lives cleaner) with "environmentalists" (the likes of Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth who make a lot of noise about saving the planet but don't bother to actually learn about the problems and end up blocking every solution that isn't (in their eyes) perfect, failing to realise that there are no perfect solutions and

      • It's a shame with all this hostility towards environmentalists.

        Greenpeace is not an environmentalist group.

        But use cleaner and more expensive energy?! Fuck no!

        Right there, that's your problem. Better has to come at a cost. It's like a religion, and you have to pay for your sin. We could have nuclear, but nope. We have to convince people to live, as you put it, 'simpler and deeper,' change their lifestyles to match what you find aesthetic, rather than improve the means of production.

        Cheaper cars, lower fuel expenses, no cable bill, no expensive cell phone bills because I don't have a smart phone, cheaper electricity because I don't have a TV in every room or any other energy sucking toys.

        Found that guy. [theonion.com] Okay, you like that, fine, do your own thing. Acknowledge that not everyone wants to live the same way.

        I walk to local stores - they're less than half a mile away. See, being "green" also saves money on exercise. Why pay hundreds of dollars and get locked into a shitty gym contract when walking and carrying packages is great exercise?

        Unless you've b

      • by _Sharp'r_ (649297)

        If it weren't for them, we'd have the environment of China because businesses do not care. Pollution is the tradgedy of the commons - folks pollute and the rest of society pays for the costs.

        The "businesses" in China, in contrast to the environmentally cleaner portions of the world, are essentially part of the government. Chernobyl wasn't exactly a private enterprise either.

        The solution to the tragedy of the commons is private ownership and liability in order to change the incentives, not more government go

        • by zieroh (307208)

          The solution to the tragedy of the commons is private ownership and liability in order to change the incentives, not more government government regulations.

          Just because you say it doesn't make it so. Government regulations on energy production are the only thing that's keeping the US from looking like China.

      • by rubycodez (864176)

        so the environmentalists made the USA cleaner but pushed the pollution generation to China which where the devastation is to much larger land and water areas, and threat to more people. mission accomplished?

    • by LoRdTAW (99712)

      I too thought Apple was "buying" clean energy. But it turns out they have actually built a solar plant at their datacenter along with fuel cell backups.

      http://appleinsider.com/articles/12/05/17/apples_icloud_data_center_to_use_100_renewable_energy_by_end_of_year [appleinsider.com]

      http://www.cleanenergyactionproject.com/CleanEnergyActionProject/CS.Apple_Maiden_iCloud_Data_Center___Hybrid_Renewable_Energy_Systems_Case_Studies.html [cleanenerg...roject.com]

      This article peaked my interest though:
      http://www.imore.com/apple-google-microsoft-come-out-clean-g [imore.com]

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Nice rant about hipsters, but do you have any actual arguments against what Greenpeace is saying?

      I'm actually surprised that Amazon is doing so badly. Most large data centres realized that since energy is one of their biggest costs and they have all that otherwise unused roof space they might as well rake in some solar power. The up-front cost is relatively minimal and the pay off term pretty short for heavy users. Even fairly far north it's worth doing.

      • Nice rant about hipsters, but do you have any actual arguments against what Greenpeace is saying?

        Given he felt he had to invoke the same angry and vague rant five slightly different ways - and even numbered them for some bizarre reason - it's obvious he does not.

    • ... environmental movement in a nutshell!

      Seriously, I think most sane human beings DO care about trying not to trash up the only planet we've got. But that thinking doesn't require big special interest groups pushing agendas! It doesn't even require our schools to waste valuable classroom time teaching recycling and shoving feel good eco/Green stuff down our kid's throats!

      If companies see a true FINANCIAL benefit to using clean energy, they'll willingly and even happily switch to it. I'm pretty sure Amazon'

  • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2014 @11:27AM (#47538715)

    It loses all credibility. perhaps its true, but once they make a claim i almost always assume that its another exaggeration or outright lie.

    I don't hate the environment, i just don't believe anything those idealistic eco hippies say.

    • by mdsolar (1045926)
      Maybe you don't know their history. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S... [wikipedia.org]
    • by jones_supa (887896) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @11:51AM (#47538841)
      Greenpeace is like vegetarianism: in principle a great idea but ruined by too many fanatics.
    • Exactly. Greenpeace activism, though well intended, isn't based on solutions. They rely on manufacturing 'bad guys' and the FUD accepting naivety of youth.
    • This was my thought exactly. I thought it was odd that the title makes "Greenpeace" so prominent. Author (or editor) seems to think that adds credibility.

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) * <{ten.3dlrow} {ta} {ojom}> on Saturday July 26, 2014 @12:54PM (#47539175) Homepage

      i just don't believe anything those idealistic eco hippies say.

      Do you realize how stupid that is?

      John Stewart Mill made the point that you should consider every argument, even if only one person in the entire world is making it against the consensus of everyone else, on its merits. The person speaking does not matter, only the merits of the argument.

      Effectively you harm yourself by dismissing things that could be beneficial for you, simply because you dislike the messenger.

      • by Kjella (173770)

        John Stewart Mill made the point that you should consider every argument, even if only one person in the entire world is making it against the consensus of everyone else, on its merits. The person speaking does not matter, only the merits of the argument.

        Knowing that someone has a very warped perception of reality - at least from your point of view - pretty much destroys all their credibility to make arguments about the real world. If the argument had any merit then "normal people" would use it too, it's not worth the effort to track every argument back to the underlying root causes. Very often it boils down to "that's not the way real people act or the real world works" because so many get caught up in an ideology and forget to ground their beliefs in real

      • Do you realize how stupid that is?

        No. Let's just say you have someone who you know lies, and lies often. The last thing the said was a blatant lie, the thing they said before that was also a lie. Now they make a new claim. Do you run out and put time and effort investigating the claim, or just assume that, given the history of falsehoods and deceit, this is also likely a lie. Greenpeace lies. A lot.

        Now, you're right, what they say here could be truthful, they could very well be right, but I see no reason to assume this is anything but

  • Greenpeace... (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2014 @11:28AM (#47538723)

    Greenpeace are those hippies that told us nuclear power is bad, so we should keep using coal and gas power, right?

    • They did anticipate renewable energy making nuclear power uneconomic though. https://will.illinois.edu/nfs/... [illinois.edu]
    • No, they are these hippies that prevented Shell to sink an old oil reservoir deep in the North Sea to take rid of it an minimize pollution. They claimed the reservoir contained toxic heavy metal, they chained themselves to the reservoir to prevent Shell to sink it and eventually the public opinion was on their side and Shell was mandate to dissassemble the reservoir on land to find out there was no toxic heavy metal in it and the operation proven to be way more polluting on land than if they had sunken the

  • by DiamondGeezer (872237) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @11:29AM (#47538725) Homepage

    ...although that sunshine was 100 million years ago which was then coverted into fossil fuels.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Saturday July 26, 2014 @11:46AM (#47538821)

      They use 100% organic whale oil - a fully renewable fuel!

    • They offset it by buying magic unicorn credits

    • by AmiMoJo (196126) *

      Straw man. Greenpeace do not argue that all fossil fuel use is automatically bad and should be avoided, they simply argue that the current massive scale of use is bad.

      I'm really starting to dislike the way every debate about the environment, women, nuclear power, guns and many other topics instantly gets flooded with ad hominem attacks, straw men and other logical fallacies. It's like a tabloid newspaper or low quality TV news channel. I'm sure Slashdot wasn't like this a few years back.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by DiamondGeezer (872237)

        Actually Greenpeace is about the white middle-class telling everyone else that they can't develop because they will cook the planet. And every argument they make about the cooking of the planet is couched in ad hominem attacks against people who disbelieve everything that comes from their mouths.

        What exactly does Greenpeace do running these ships? It ain't useful to the planet that's for sure.

  • Greenpeace is to the ecology roughly what Autism Speaks is to the autistic community, or what Bennett Haselton is to articles that aren't painfully stupid.

    This is not news, and it does not deserve attention or reporting.

  • by the eric conspiracy (20178) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @11:44AM (#47538809)

    No credibility whatsoever. I've caught them in outright lies far too often.

  • Time to start building more nuke plants as long as they are not.

    SNPP
    chernobyl
    3 mile island
    Fukushima

    they are safe.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by GenaTrius (3644889)
      Did you know 3 Mile Island is still manned, operating, and producing power? Evacuation was not mandatory, there is no exclusion zone, and the surrounding area is still populated. The reactor that melted down isn't in operation, of course, but the safety checks worked and no one died. I am consistently amazed at hoe many people do not know this.
  • Amazon put their infrastructure in place long ago so as to be first into a market they helped pioneer. Projected profits were based on that equipment and how long it was to remain in place.

    Fast forward to today and that legacy commitment is a yoke around their corporate neck that creeps toward a negative aspect.

    Reminds me of how the large telcos want to squeeze every last penny out of all that copper still in the ground.
  • by Just Some Guy (3352) <kirk+slashdot@strauser.com> on Saturday July 26, 2014 @11:55AM (#47538847) Homepage Journal

    I support Apple's initiatives and I'm glad they're setting a good example as an industry leader. However, I could not possibly care less that a given cell phone might be accessing a server that isn't "green". Yes, Amazon Fire will be running "on top of" AWS. This is an absolute given. It will also be leaning on servers from Google, Apple, Rackspace, and Joe's Server Shack.

    Greenpeace, shoo. You're not involved in these discussions and you're not relevant to the task at hand. It's cute that you want to be a part of the conversation, but this is the adult table.

  • Being a geek kid I used part of my allowance for good, such as a Greenpeace membership. But, being a geek kid I had to look into exactly what they were doing with my money and found out there were much better ways to spend if you want to protect the environment. I was 14 at the time IIRC. So, I probably would say it doesn't take a genius to figure Greenpeace out, but I can't be sure. I mean the local Mensa told me I scored the max of the preliminary test (around 140?) so according to them I was some sort of
  • by Mike Greaves (1236) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @12:46PM (#47539121) Homepage

    Last time they ranked Amazon poorly for datacenter power, I checked some numbers and compared with other agencies rankings.

    Amazon got about 27% of it's power from nuclear.
    No CO2, but Greenpeace didn't credit anything for it.

    Dell's datacenters had higher CO2 emissions, only ~7% nuclear, but a little more renewables.
    The anti-nuclear geniuses at Greenpeace gave Dell a cleaner ranking than Amazon.

    They only credit CO2 abatement, if they agree with the method.
    Not only that, they don't even MENTION all CO2 abatements.

    In fact, I found that Amazon's emissions were far better than average.
    I think they had the 2nd lowest fossil generating share of about 10 US datacenter operators compared.

    In addition, Amazon was investing heavily in PSU, rack density, and cooling improvements, and virtualization is a known resource saver across all components. Ever heard of virtualization at Amazon?

    I doubt that anyone at Greenpeace understands any of this.
    Any electrical engineers there? HVAC engineers? POWERPLANT engineers?

    Greenpeace are dishonest, technically ignorant, and thoroughly foolhardy;
    and will destroy your World if you let them.

    TFA shouldn't have even been posted here.

    • by rainer_d (115765)
      Virtualization does not save you anything, once you run a big enough infrastructure.
      In fact, it will just generate useless overhead (unless you use a light-weight "virtualization" like FreeBSD Jails, LXC, Solaris Containers).
      • by rubycodez (864176)

        assertions without proof. Running 30 virtual machines in one physical blade is the norm, virtualization helps over no virtualization.

        Those other solutions are useless to a business that requires a supported OS for there applications.

  • its the cloud-sync that is bad!

  • by Applehu Akbar (2968043) on Saturday July 26, 2014 @02:09PM (#47539541)

    When an environmental issue comes up, I look up the Greenpeace position on it and automatically know that the opposite must be true. For example, the Amazon Fire 'burns coal' because Greenpeace wouldn't let us have nuclear.

    The most pressing environmental issue in my area currently is the impending shortage of water. So I looked up the Greenpeace platform on drought. Presto! Now I know that the ultimate solution to our shortage will de desalination.

  • When you give your spouse one at Christmas, Debbie Downer will be there to remind you of he ecological implications. :-). Out of all seriousness, its not bad to have an interest in efficiency, but, does a phone really consume so much power that it would make much of a differece, You could save a heck of a lot more using a clothesline.

  • If they don't like people burning coal for power, perhaps they should promote an alternative.... like nuclear.
  • Amazon, .... only 15 percent of its energy comes from clean sources, which is about the default national average.

    Well that sucks!
    Are there any 100% nuclear powered DCs out there?

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