Greenpeace has been putting the heat on Facebook in recent months. Back in 2010 they launched an "Unfriend Coal" campaign with a cute, but somewhat unflattering cartoon protrayal of CEO head Mark Zuckerberg. Now they are asking the social networking giant to pledge to go coal-free by Earth Day 2011.

Computing bemehoths like Google and Facebook use a lot of energy to run their servers, which are capable of routing millions of bits of data per second. Back in the 2000s, Google came under attack for its monster-sized server farms, and the company subsequently rolled out a series of green initiatives — a renewable energy plan coined REcorporate sustainability website that has been tracking the company’s progress.

Facebook has done none of the above, making its chief executive an easy target for public advocacy campaigns by organizations like Greenpeace who are pushing the world’s leaders (both political and corporate) to prevent more dirty coal plants from being built.

Coal power is the largest single contributor to global carbon dioxide emissions, and also leads in a host of other toxic pollutants like mercury, lead and sulfur dioxide.

And what better place than Facebook, the world’s largest social network, to win a campaign against coal power that would both raise public awareness about dirty energy while helping to lead the coolest industry out there — the IT sector — to turn towards renewable source of energy.

Some would point to Facebook’s meteoric growth as reason enough for the company’s lack of a comprehensive energy policy. Just getting enough servers online to keep up with new membership must continue to be a monumental task. But now as the undisputed leader of the free Internet, Facebook has to step it up.

Blogger Jackie Cohen on All Facebook has disclosed an upcoming press conference at Facebook HQ next week. There’s not much to go on other than a green-looking logo (above) and the title “…a behind the scenes look at the latest technology powering Facebook.” But it is anticipated that Facebook will be releasing information about its recent efforts to dramatically increase the the energy efficiency of its server farms.

More details to come. 

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