Apple Makes Progress on Path to 100 Percent Renewable Energy
By David Pomerantz
There’s more good news to report from the clean energy revolution that’s spreading like wildfire among the biggest technology companies in the world: Apple released an environmental report Friday showing that it has made real progress in its effort to power the iCloud with renewable energy—not coal.
Apple is growing its facilities that store your music, photos and videos at a rapid pace, and those buildings, called data centers, use massive amounts of electricity. Because of pressure from hundreds of thousands of Greenpeace supporters and Apple customers, Apple committed last year to providing 100 percent of the power to those data centers with renewable energy. Greenpeace released a report in July mapping out the pathway Apple should take to meet its ambitious goals.
Apple’s report disclosed some new details about how it has made real progress in many of the ways that we laid out then:
- Apple has increased the amount of renewable energy it is generating from solar panels and fuel cells at its data center in North Carolina. Apple is now reporting an increase in the percentage of renewable energy from 35 percent to 75 percent over the last three years;
- Apple disclosed more details about its energy policy and the principles guiding its renewable energy efforts, including its belief that its renewable energy should displace coal power from the grid and should bring brand new renewable energy to the grid;
- Perhaps most importantly, Apple disclosed significantly more information about how exactly it’s acquiring renewable energy, which allows its customers to have faith that Apple is meeting its ambitions with real action.
Of course, there’s still plenty of work left for Apple to do. As it keeps growing the cloud, Apple still has major roadblocks to genuinely meeting its 100 percent clean energy commitment in North Carolina, where renewable energy policies are under siege and electric utility Duke Energy is intent on blocking wind and solar energy from entering the grid.
Duke Energy is Apple’s only option for buying electricity in North Carolina, and it makes electricity primarily from dirty sources of energy that cause global warming, like burning coal and gas, as well as dangerous nuclear power plants. Duke has shown no signs of changing, and organizations allied with Duke like the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) are trying to change state laws to make it even harder for forward-thinking companies like Apple to buy clean energy there.
To show how it can help remove those roadblocks in North Carolina, Apple has an opportunity to work together with Google, accepting its challenge to the sector to develop a consortium among IT companies to help green the grid. Apple, Google and Facebook working together in North Carolina would be a potent force in asking Duke Energy and state government officials to help bring more renewable energy on the grid in North Carolina for everyone.
We’ll keep urging Apple to do those things, just as we’ll keep pushing other, slower technology companies like Amazon and Microsoft to follow the good example that companies like Google, Facebook, Salesforce–and now more every day, Apple–are setting by their adoption of renewable energy.
Visit EcoWatch’s RENEWABLES page for more related news on this topic.
Hundreds of endangered sea turtles were stranded on beaches after suffering "cold stunning" in the waters off Cape Cod, Mass. Local rescuers and wildlife rehabilitators stabilized the turtles at the New England Aquarium (NEAQ) and National Marine Life Center and began treatment. Many of the sea turtles were transported by land or air to partner facilities around the Eastern Seaboard for longer-term care to make room for more incoming, cold-stunned animals.
Rehabilitators at The Turtle Hospital in the Florida Keys assess critically endangered, cold-stunned Kemp's ridley sea turtles flown in after rescue in New England. The Turtle Hospital<p>NEAQ and local rescuers begin seeing turtles every fall when water temperatures drop to that 50 degrees F threshold, and typically expect to find them into early January. After that, <a href="https://www.ecowatch.com/sea-turtle-cape-cod-weather-2621527394.html" target="_self">temperatures are so cold that any animals found are usually no longer alive</a>.</p><p>Merigo estimated that this year's cold season "looks very busy" and noted that local rescue efforts had already surpassed 400 turtles.</p><p>"It is a lot of animals. They're still coming in," she told EcoWatch as she surveyed 39 rescued turtles that day and 20 the day prior. "So far, this is a huge year."</p><p>At NEAQ, the turtles are gradually warmed up about five to 10 degrees F a day. More aggressive warming can cause serious damage and the turtle might not survive, Merigo said. Emergency treatments also include providing replacement fluids, balancing electrolytes and addressing pneumonia. Assessments take place for other serious problems too, such as shell or limb fractures, frostbite, emaciation and eye damage.<span></span></p><p>As local aquariums don't have the capacity to care for all the injured turtles, a group of private pilots called <a href="https://www.turtlesflytoo.org/" target="_blank">"Turtles Fly Too"</a> donated planes, fuel and time to transport some to various partner facilities around the country. Other turtles were driven to closer care facilities.</p><p>"We have a huge network of really great partners working with us, so if we can spread out the care, we can give better care to all the animals," Merigo said.</p><p>The 40 Kemp's ridley sea turtles recovering in The Turtle Hospital will continue to be treated and rehabilitated anywhere from 30 days to a year, depending on the severity of injuries, Zirkelbach said.</p><p>The turtle expert noted that while she's treated cold-stunned turtles from the north before, the newest arrivals were the most cold-stunned Kemp's ridleys ever received at one time.</p>
After rescue, cold-stunned sea turtles received immediate emergency care and assessments at the New England Aquarium. Caitlin Cunningham / New England Aquarium<p>In the past decade, the Gulf of Maine, which spans from Cape Cod to Nova Scotia, has warmed 99 percent faster than the rest of the ocean, Zirkelbach said. The warm water encourages turtles that migrate north along the Gulf Stream in warmer months to stay in the bay longer.</p><p>"Turtles that fail to migrate south get stuck in the unique horseshoe-shaped topography of the Cape Cod peninsula, and when temperatures drop, the bay becomes a death trap," she added.</p><p>Before ocean temperatures warmed, the waters of Maine were too cold for many of these sea turtles, Merigo echoed. Now, with warming sea surface temperatures, Maine can reach the high 70s to low 80s, which is "perfect turtle temperature," she said. The potential for more turtles getting trapped in the bay and then cold-stunned is nerve-racking for Merigo.</p><p>In addition to shifting habitats as waters warm, warming global temperatures also disrupt natural gender balance in sea turtles, Merigo warned. Gender is determined by the temperature of eggs in nests, and as the planet warms, it will result in all females at some point, she said.</p><p>"The turtles we work with are all endangered and threatened," Merigo said. "For sea turtles in general, the future is a little grim. Climate change is real; it does impact them."</p>
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