back to article Greenpeace spies soot lining in cloud data centers

Cloud computing may have a silver lining, but it's apparently covered in soot. The silver lining is that public clouds compel companies to share servers, storage, and networks and run fewer machines at higher utilization rates than they would if they bought capacity individually. But for environmental watchdog Greenpeace …


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  1. Mark Gilbert

    If coal is too dirty

    let's go nuclear

  2. Anonymous Coward

    it's good to be open about these things

    sure, it's good to be open. it's definitely good! ...but Jesus Greenpeace get on my nerves sometimes.

    Renewables don't seem to be efficient enough to be highly practical (to my mind, I'm sure someone will disagree).

    I have a (possibly misplaced) belief that the only real way we'll stop pumping rubbish into the atmosphere and generally using up all our resources is through technological advancement- it's about the only good thing the Human race has going for it - I just wish Greenpeace would get behind that idea rather than just pointing fingers all the time.

    1. Elmer Phud


      Slight edit

      I have a (possibly misplaced) belief that the only real way we'll stop pumping rubbish into the atmosphere and generally is by using up all our resources through technological advancement

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      But ...

      "Renewables don't seem to be efficient enough to be highly practical."

      Greenpeace, as far as I can tell, are hoping efficiencies will be improved through the very same "technological advancement" you accuse them of ignoring.

      I think everyone is a touch optimistic about their favourite energy option and its place in our future.

  3. Anonymous Coward


    Aren't they the second largest generator of hot air (behind Al Gore)?

    I'm suprised anyone pays any attention to them any more, they're purely political activists and have been for years.


    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If only there was a way to harness it

      to power our datacenters.

  4. AntiPoser


    Great that we have a watchdog, but all the advances in those Data Centers came from not one ounce of support from Greenpeace....Stop complaining and stand up and help...this article you put together was it done by hand on parchment or a computer which then printed reems of paper etc etc...think you get it...Thanks to Facebook, IBM, Google and all the others - maybe you should check all the patents you would be amazed to find out how many renewable resource patents belong to these computing giants you are attacking, at least they are trying to do it better....

    1. kissingthecarpet


      You bet, if Earth was Golgafrincham, a lot of Facebook/Twitter/other "Social" media sites employees would be on the "evacuation" ship.

      Greenpeace are political activists of course, they always have been from the start. Pointing fingers at things they are against is what they do. Inventing improvements to renewables isn't. Apparently IBM et al have done some good things, therefore they are above criticism, seems to be the thrust of your argument

  5. JWG

    Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.

    Do not worry about your difficulties in Mathematics. I can assure you mine are still greater.- Albert Einstein

    I did some calculating. There is 1 coal fired plant in Oregon, 7 natural gas fired generators,

    3 wind farms, and 18 hydro plants. How anyone can come up with 63% of the energy coming from the one coal plant in Hermiston, with both the John Day and the The Dalles Dams closer to Prineville, is beyond me. The amount the facility would use from coal fired would be much closer 5-6% , not 63%.

    I could be wrong, but most the power generation in Oregon comes from hydro, not coal, natural gas or wind. Every one needs to recheck their math.

  6. Ian Stephenson

    Stuff renewables

    We need sustainables - nuclear or geothermal (there is a great big source of heat which isn't affected by clouds or off for 12 hours a day (average)).

    Nuclear at least has a net positive energy output, geothermal needs more research.

    More nuclear research will make it cheaper and even more safe than it already is (yadda yadda fewer deaths than any other energy generation technology....).

    And yes build a nuke pile in my back garden - as long as you run my radiators for free from the excess hot water. I don't live on a fault line and am near a coast for access to emergency salt laden coolant though I do not believe there has ever been a tidal wave in the North Sea.

    1. amanfromearth

      It's easy to check

      ..and it turns out you are wrong

      Quite a long time ago though...

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Probably time for another then


      2. Ian Stephenson
        Thumb Up

        I still feel fairly safe.

        My house is 68m above sealevel

  7. Richard Jones 1

    Green soot

    And pray how much soot is used to generate greensoot reports and spread them round the world? No improvements are ever what the zealots desire, horses and carts produce a range of noxious emissions and, devoid of paper, on what non industrial output would they all spout their lazy rubbish?

  8. WinHatter

    Did Greenpeace used

    a sootie powered computer or a pedal powered one ???

  9. Kevin Johnston

    Reliable Scientific methods - as if

    This will be the same Greenpeace that caused civil unrest when an oil company planned to sink an old oil platform will it?

    The oil company claimed it was the best solution but Greenpeace claimed it would release untold toxic sludge into the sea and create mutant ninja turtles or whatever. They stirred up their troops to the extent that petrol stations in Europe were vandalised and, in some cases, set alight.

    Shortly after the oil company backed down and brought the platform onshore to break it up Greenpeace came out with the classic line 'oh, maybe you were right and it would have been less polluting to just sink it'.

    Just who are Greenpeace accountable to?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      To put it another way: Greenpeace screwed up their calculations and rather than sweeping it under the carpet and hoping that everyone would forget, they held their hands up and let everyone know they were wrong.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        too little to late

        Nope - they knew all along - just caught out is all

  10. Anonymous Coward

    Greenpeace doth protest too much

    This may make for some great headlines but the big datacentres are being built up in washington and oregon states for the low cost hydro, down in texas for the wind, or near the Tennessee valley forits hydro. Why? Lowest cost power comes when you are based next to the source, and the big hydro and wind plants are some of the best power sources in the US.

    They should do more research

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I think this is a good thing...

    One of the big problems with Cloud based services is the tendancy for people using them to forget that they are reliant on other companies competency. The tendancy is not to think much about security or uptime etc until there is a problem - and this type of problem tends to be well advertised. You really don't think about where the power that is no longer using is being used at the client is coming from. It's good to have a table of who's best, in order that you can make an informed decision.

    I know that I get my leccy from hydro and wind, the datacentres at the company I work for (large UK bank) are powered from hydro. I would have no idea how to find this out for a cloud supplier I was thinking of looking at for a service.

  12. Bluenose

    One side reports

    As only Greenpeace can produce them. The "facts" in this report will be a significant subset of the complete facts and will have been chosed to emphasise Greanpeace's point of view which of course is what all one subject agenda groups are good at.

    The next big growth in electricity consumption which will drive up the use of coal powered power stations will be electric cars which are also portrayed as being "good" for the environment. I await with unbaited breath for Greenpeace's report on that particular subject.

    A big question not answered in this report is to what extent is the development of large cloud data centre's going to reduce the existing inefficient smaller but more plentiful data centres that exist today? Is this reduction plus or negative compared to the increase assumed for the cloud one's?

    Greenpeace need to return to the world we live in and keep having wet dreams about returning to the stone age they are so deparate to return to. If only 2 in 100 Greenpeace members actually became real scientists and worked on solving the technological issues around renewable and newer fuel systems the whole issue of climate change could be quickly resolved and my facts behind this are probably as good as Greenpeace's for supporting wind power as an adequate source of power for the world.

  13. zen1


    We can always use activists to hand crank the generators to power our data centers. And if Greenpeace were that serious, they'd update their navy, as the last time I saw one of their boats up front, it was leaving an oil slick.

  14. x-oterix

    The human Centre-peeved

    Seeing as this is The'UK' could you please be so kind as to change the hideous 'Center' to the wonderfully bohemian 'Centre'?

    As we have found it in our hearts to give you the wonderfull gift of language I would have thought it would be the least you could do.

  15. BozNZ
    Thumb Down

    There's Greenpeace "Science" and real Science.

    They seriously need to get rid of some of these idiots they currently have, without a neutral bias and true weighing up of environmental impacts, real issues will get swamped under the non-substantiated and scare mongering crap.

    Greenpeace science reporting currently rates somewhere between Intelligent Design and Astrology

    I ripped my card up over ten years ago and now keep it quiet I was ever part of it

  16. Wallyb132


    Why do news organizations the world over feel the need to publish the ramblings of an eco-terrorist organization such as greenpeace. It's equivalent to feeding the trolls. if the world over stopped publishing the greenpeace agenda / manifesto, they might just go away and stop terrorizing the world.

    If greenpeace did one ounce of good for every crime they commit, the world would be a cleaner / greener place. hell if they put forth 1/10th of effort spent committing crimes in to making the world greener, they would have one hell of a positive impact on the world.

    When ever i see greenpeace protesting something, which they like to do around here because of the high presence of oil production here, I will go buy a quart of mystery oil and put it in my gas tank to make my engine smoke like a pig in a fire then drive back and forth past them just to piss them off.

  17. Jellied Eel Silver badge

    Greenpeas missed one

    NCAR announced building a new supercomputing centre in Wyoming last year to do climate modelling. Why Wyoming? Cheap power. Coal power. Oh the ironing. They do say their new 3-4MW doomsday machine will have 10% of it's power supplied by windmills, so that's ok. With the new speed, they may be able to complete model runs before the wind drops.

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