Thursday, September 16, 2010

The SoCOAL Network

Coal power sucks. Have you ever really looked at an urban photograph from 100+ years ago? Those black clouds aren't rain.

And yet coal — an industrial era technology — continues to be a major source of energy around the world. The US leads the dirty charge, with 45% of its electricity coming from coal.

While regulators have a role to play, so do consumers. And that's why Greenpeace has decided to use the power of social media to try to shame Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg into using sustainable energy to power his network.

According to Greenpeace's Executive Director, Kumi Naidoo:

A company such as Facebook, which now has 500 million users world-wide, can have both a direct and indirect effect on this reality. Direct because the company can reduce its own greenhouse gas emissions by phasing coal out of its electricity use. Indirect in that a true display of leadership will set a high bar for the rest of the industry and help catalyze a clean energy transformation.

Here's the vid:

Pretty amusing stuff. And timely, given that "The Social Network" is about to premiere. Can it work? That's up to us...


  1. Very funny, but it won't help -- insisting on only wind power might make FB look good and feel better about itself, but others on the grid will just end up using a bigger proportion of the remaining coal power.

    What *will* work is raising electricity prices enough (maybe 3-5x current rates) that consumption drops to the point the US no longer needs the coal plants. As long as our governments keep subsidizing electricity with absurdly cheap rates, we're going to keep using too much of it.

  2. Shaming facebook for the use of coal as a source of electricity wouldn't bring any major changes. The focus should be on discovering and improvising the production of electricity through other renewable sources.

  3. You both make a valid point. However, I think you are also missing part of the picture.

    This isn't just about Facebook's energy use. That is the obvious motive, but I doubt Greenpeace aims that low when it comes to cause marketing.

    they are trying to shame Facebook into taking a *public position* on sustainable energy. As the biggest brand is social media, they carry a lot of influence. And aiming campaigns at influencers is a a standard way to persuade their fans.