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Wednesday, April 18, 2012, 07:05 am PT (10:05 am ET)

Greepeace stages protest on roof of Apple's European HQ in Ireland

Protesters with the environmental organization Greenpeace staged an hourlong demonstration atop Apple's European headquarters in Ireland on Wednesday, opposing the use of coal-powered electricity to power the iCloud service.

The demonstrators scaled the top of the Apple building in Cork about 7 a.m. local time and voluntarily came down after about an hour, according to the Irish Examiner. Local police and firefighters arrived on the scene after the protest began, and Greenpeace members passed out pamphlets to Apple employees at the company's European headquarters.

The protestors placed signs on the building with letters spelling out the words "clean our cloud." Strangely, though, Greenpeace praised Apple's energy policy in Ireland, where the protest was staged, noting that the iPhone maker's Cork headquarters relies on renewable energy sources.

Similar demonstrations were also said to have been staged at Apple-run facilities in Turkey and Luxembourg. The protests were coordinated to bring attention to a study released by Greenpeace on Tuesday entitled "How Clean is Your Cloud?," which panned Apple's iCloud service and massive data center in Maiden, N.C., for relying largely on coal-based power.

But Apple was quick to refute those claims only hours after the Greenpeace report was made public. For its part, Apple said that renewable energy will provide 50 percent more of the power needs of its North Carolina data center than Greenpeace projected.

"Our data center in North Carolina will draw about 20 megawatts at full capacity, and we are on track to supply more than 60 percent of that power on-site from renewable sources including a solar farm and fuel cell installation which will each be the largest of their kind in the country," spokeswoman Kristin Huguet said. " We believe this industry leading project will make Maiden the greenest data center ever built, and it will be joined next year by our new facility in Oregon running on 100 percent renewable energy."

Greenpeace

Protestors displayed signs at Apple's building in Ireland, via Corkipedia.


Wednesday's demonstrations are only the latest by members of Greenpeace against Apple. The Cupertino, Calif., company has pushed the environmentally friendly aspects of its products for years, following a dispute that began in August of 2006, when Greenpeace condemned Apple for the use of toxic chemicals in its devices.

Previous publicity generating demonstrations by Greenpeace include a "Green My Apple" campaign conducted at the MacExpo show in London in October of 2006, where the environmental advocacy group was forced to shut down its booth. Members of Greenpeace also took part in a "greening" of Apple's Fifth Avenue store in New York City in January of 2007, where protestors shone green floodlights into the locations 32-foot glass cube.