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Facebook to Power New Data Center With 100% Wind Energy
Facebook announced today that it will power a new data center in Texas with 100 percent wind energy. Facebook has also committed to setting a new goal of powering its operations with 50 percent renewable energy by the end of 2018.
"Thanks to our continued focus on efficiency and our investments in renewables in recent years, the carbon impact of one person’s use of Facebook for an entire year is the same as the carbon impact of a medium latte," according to Tom Furlong, vice president of infrastructure at Facebook.
“Facebook’s new goal of using 50 percent renewable energy and commitment to powering its Texas data center with clean wind power demonstrates the kind of transparency needed to show that it is making steady progress toward its goal of using 100 percent renewable energy," said David Pomerantz, Greenpeace senior climate and energy campaigner.
Facebook is not the only leader in transitioning its data centers to cleaner, greener energy sources. Google plans to build a data center powered by 100 percent renewables at the soon-to-be closed coal-fired plant in Alabama. Amazon announced last month that it will build an 80 megawatt solar farm in Accomack County on the eastern shore of Virginia. However, as Greenpeace points out, Amazon has failed to be announce how they will power other new data centers coming online.
“Facebook’s announcement draws a sharp contrast to Amazon Web Services, which has failed to explain how it will power its newly announced data centers in Ohio and India, despite the company’s commitment to use 100% renewable energy,” said Pomerantz.
According to Greenpeace: Amazon recently announced new data center facilities in Ohio and India, but did not provide details showing how those facilities would be powered by renewable energy. American Electric Power, the utility providing service to the region where Amazon’s Ohio data center facilities are planned, generates 83 percent of its electricity from coal. Amazon purchased 150 megawatts of wind power from Indiana, presumably to apply to its Ohio data center, but a Greenpeace investigation shows how AWS will demand significantly more power than that in Ohio.
Greenpeace’s most recent report, “Clicking Clean: A Guide to Building the Green Internet,” found that Amazon has failed to provide transparency about how it will keep its commitment to use 100 percent renewable energy, particularly as it expands its data center operations in coal-heavy regions like Ohio and Virginia.
Facebook's announcement today helps underscore The Solutions Project's 50-state plan that ditches fossil fuels and transitions America to relying on 100 percent renewable energy by 2050.
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Tensions are continuing to rise in Canada over a controversial pipeline project as protesters enter their 12th day blockading railways, demonstrating on streets and highways, and paralyzing the nation's rail system
Colorado River Has Lost 1.5 Billion Tons of Water to the Climate Crisis, 'Severe Water Shortages' May Follow
California is headed toward drought conditions as February, typically the state's wettest month, passes without a drop of rain. The lack of rainfall could lead to early fire conditions. With no rain predicted for the next week, it looks as if this month will be only the second time in 170 years that San Francisco has not had a drop of rain in February, according to The Weather Channel.
The last time San Francisco did not record a drop of rain in February was in 1864 as the Civil War raged.
"This hasn't happened in 150 years or more," said Daniel Swain, a climate scientist at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and Sustainability to The Guardian. "There have even been a couple [of] wildfires – which is definitely not something you typically hear about in the middle of winter."
While the Pacific Northwest has flooded from heavy rains, the southern part of the West Coast has seen one storm after another pass by. Last week, the U.S. Drought Monitor said more Californians are in drought conditions than at any time during 2019, as The Weather Channel reported.
The dry winter has included areas that have seen devastating fires recently, including Sonoma, Napa, Lake and Mendocino counties. If the dry conditions continue, those areas will once again have dangerously high fire conditions, according to The Mercury News.
"Given what we've seen so far this year and the forecast for the next few weeks, I do think it's pretty likely we'll end up in some degree of drought by this summer," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported.
Another alarming sign of an impending drought is the decreased snowpack in the Sierra Nevada Mountain range. The National Weather Service posted to Twitter a side-by-side comparison of snowpack from February 2019 and from this year, illustrating the puny snowpack this year. The snow accumulated in the Sierra Nevadas provides water to roughly 30 percent of the state, according to NBC Los Angeles.
Right now, the snowpack is at 53 percent of its normal volume after two warm and dry months to start the year. It is a remarkable decline, considering that the snowpack started 2020 at 90 percent of its historical average, as The Guardian reported.
"Those numbers are going to continue to go down," said Swain. "I would guess that the 1 March number is going to be less than 50 percent."
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Climate Prediction Center forecast that the drier-than-average conditions may last through April.
NOAA said Northern California will continue deeper into drought through the end of April, citing that the "persistent high pressure over the North Pacific Ocean is expected to continue, diverting storm systems to the north and south and away from California and parts of the Southwest," as The Weather Channel reported.
As the climate crisis escalates and the world continues to heat up, California should expect to see water drawn out of its ecosystem, making the state warmer and drier. Increased heat will lead to further loss of snow, both as less falls and as more of it melts quickly, according to The Guardian.
"We aren't going to necessarily see less rain, it's just that that rain goes less far. That's a future where the flood risk extends, with bigger wetter storms in a warming world," said Swain, as The Guardian reported.
The Guardian noted that while California's reservoirs are currently near capacity, the more immediate impact of the warm, dry winter will be how it raises the fire danger as trees and grasslands dry out.
"The plants and the forests don't benefit from the water storage reservoirs," said Swain, as The Mercury News reported. "If conditions remain very dry heading into summer, the landscape and vegetation is definitely going to feel it this year. From a wildfire perspective, the dry years do tend to be the bad fire years, especially in Northern California."
- Is California heading for another drought? - Los Angeles Times ›
- CA wildfire season: Will rain, snow weather forecast end risk? | The ... ›
- California Fires Now Rage All Year as Drought Creates Tinderbox ... ›
- California weather stays dry as rain and snow come up short | The ... ›
- California Emerged From Drought and Is Still Catching Fire - The ... ›
A warm day in winter used to be a rare and uplifting relief.
Now such days are routine reminders of climate change – all the more foreboding when they coincide with news stories about unprecedented wildfires, record-breaking "rain bombs," or the accelerated melting of polar ice sheets.
Where, then, can one turn for hope in these dark months of the year?