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Apple Now Globally Powered by 100% Renewables

Renewable Energy
Apple Now Globally Powered by 100% Renewables
Apple's Cupertino headquarters features a 17-megawatt solar installation. Apple

In its continued efforts to "combat climate change and create a healthier environment," Apple announced Monday that its global facilities are now powered with 100 percent clean energy.

All of the tech giant's retail stores, offices, data centers and co-located facilities in 43 countries use renewable energy sources, upping the ante from 93 percent two years ago.


"We're committed to leaving the world better than we found it. After years of hard work we're proud to have reached this significant milestone," said Apple CEO Tim Cook in a statement.

"We're going to keep pushing the boundaries of what is possible with the materials in our products, the way we recycle them, our facilities and our work with suppliers to establish new creative and forward-looking sources of renewable energy because we know the future depends on it."

To be clear, it's just Apple's own operations that are running on 100 percent renewables. Its entire global supply chain—which makes parts and accessories for Apple's products—is still working on it. However, the company said it has convinced 23 total manufacturing partners to make the transition.

Additionally, it's not like every single Apple Store generates its own green electricity from, say, a solar rooftop. These stores are usually connected to a municipal power grid, and it's not possible to ensure the electricity is entirely free of fossil fuels.

But the tech titan is able to claim its "100 percent renewable" accolade because it purchases Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) from green-energy producers and has built its own renewable energy facilities around the world, totaling 626 megawatts of generation capacity. Last year, 286 megawatts of solar PV generation came online, its most ever in one year.

Apple also has 15 more projects down the line. Once complete, over 1.4 gigawatts of clean renewable energy generation will be spread across 11 countries.

Solar panels mounted high off the ground in China allows yaks to eat the grass growing underneath. Apple

The iPhone maker has also created an energy subsidiary in Delaware called Apple Energy LLC to sell surplus electricity generated by its various renewable energy projects.

"Since 2011, all of Apple's renewable energy projects have reduced greenhouse gas emissions (CO2e) by 54 percent from its facilities worldwide and prevented nearly 2.1 million metric tons of CO2e from entering the atmosphere," the company touted.

A number of IT corporations have taken major strides in reducing their carbon footprint. Last month, Microsoft announced the single largest corporate purchase of solar power ever seen in the U.S. Google also announced last week that toward the end of 2017, it reached its goal to run on 100 percent renewable energy.

Former Vice President Al Gore, a member of Apple's board of directors, celebrated the news.

"Apple is proving the business case for reducing greenhouse emissions and simultaneously reducing energy costs," he tweeted. "All of its facilities are now powered by 100 percent clean energy!"

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An illustration depicts the extinct woolly rhino. Heinrich Harder / Wikimedia Commons

The last Ice Age eliminated some giant mammals, like the woolly rhino. Conventional thinking initially attributed their extinction to hunting. While overhunting may have contributed, a new study pinpointed a different reason for the woolly rhinos' extinction: climate change.

The last of the woolly rhinos went extinct in Siberia nearly 14,000 years ago, just when the Earth's climate began changing from its frozen conditions to something warmer, wetter and less favorable to the large land mammal. DNA tests conducted by scientists on 14 well-preserved rhinos point to rapid warming as the culprit, CNN reported.

"Humans are well known to alter their environment and so the assumption is that if it was a large animal it would have been useful to people as food and that must have caused its demise," says Edana Lord, a graduate student at the Center for Paleogenetics in Stockholm, Sweden, and co-first author of the paper, Smithsonian Magazine reported. "But our findings highlight the role of rapid climate change in the woolly rhino's extinction."

The study, published in Current Biology, notes that the rhino population stayed fairly consistent for tens of thousands of years until 18,500 years ago. That means that people and rhinos lived together in Northern Siberia for roughly 13,000 years before rhinos went extinct, Science News reported.

The findings are an ominous harbinger for large species during the current climate crisis. As EcoWatch reported, nearly 1,000 species are expected to go extinct within the next 100 years due to their inability to adapt to a rapidly changing climate. Tigers, eagles and rhinos are especially vulnerable.

The difference between now and the phenomenon 14,000 years ago is that human activity is directly responsible for the current climate crisis.

To figure out the cause of the woolly rhinos' extinction, scientists examined DNA from different rhinos across Siberia. The tissue, bone and hair samples allowed them to deduce the population size and diversity for tens of thousands of years prior to extinction, CNN reported.

Researchers spent years exploring the Siberian permafrost to find enough samples. Then they had to look for pristine genetic material, Smithsonian Magazine reported.

It turns out the wooly rhinos actually thrived as they lived alongside humans.

"It was initially thought that humans appeared in northeastern Siberia fourteen or fifteen thousand years ago, around when the woolly rhinoceros went extinct. But recently, there have been several discoveries of much older human occupation sites, the most famous of which is around thirty thousand years old," senior author Love Dalén, a professor of evolutionary genetics at the Center for Paleogenetics, said in a press release.

"This paper shows that woolly rhino coexisted with people for millennia without any significant impact on their population," Grant Zazula, a paleontologist for Canada's Yukon territory and Simon Fraser University who was not involved in the research, told Smithsonian Magazine. "Then all of a sudden the climate changed and they went extinct."

A large patch of leaked oil and the vessel MV Wakashio near Blue Bay Marine Park off the coast of southeast Mauritius on Aug. 6, 2020. AFP via Getty Images

The environmental disaster that Mauritius is facing is starting to appear as its pristine waters turn black, its fish wash up dead, and its sea birds are unable to take flight, as they are limp under the weight of the fuel covering them. For all the damage to the centuries-old coral that surrounds the tiny island nation in the Indian Ocean, scientists are realizing that the damage could have been much worse and there are broad lessons for the shipping industry, according to Al Jazeera.

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A quality engineer examines new solar panels in a factory. alvarez / Getty Images

Transitioning to renewable energy can help reduce global warming, and Jennie Stephens of Northeastern University says it can also drive social change.

For example, she says that locally owned businesses can lead the local clean energy economy and create new jobs in underserved communities.

"We really need to think about … connecting climate and energy with other issues that people wake up every day really worried about," she says, "whether it be jobs, housing, transportation, health and well-being."

To maximize that potential, she says the energy sector must have more women and people of color in positions of influence. Research shows that leadership in the solar industry, for example, is currently dominated by white men.

"I think that a more inclusive, diverse leadership is essential to be able to effectively make these connections," Stephens says. "Diversity is not just about who people are and their identity, but the ideas and the priorities and the approaches and the lens that they bring to the world."

So she says by elevating diverse voices, organizations can better connect the climate benefits of clean energy with social and economic transformation.

Reposted with permission from Yale Climate Connections.

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If asked to recall a hurricane, odds are you'd immediately invoke memorable names like Sandy, Katrina or Harvey. You'd probably even remember something specific about the impact of the storm. But if asked to recall a heat wave, a vague recollection that it was hot during your last summer vacation may be about as specific as you can get.

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