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Adam Minter

What Is Apple Really Doing About Climate Change?

It wouldn't be hard for Apple to meet its own climate change rhetoric by building gadgets in less wasteful ways.
Don't believe the hype.

Don't believe the hype.

Photographer: John Moore/Getty Images

Apple likes to say it's on the cutting edge of the fight against climate change. Over the past two weeks, the company has boasted about the $848 million solar farm it's building to power its new headquarters in Silicon Valley and two new European data centers that will be its "lowest impact" yet.

But projects like this barely scratch the surface of Apple's impact on the environment. Only 2 percent of the company's greenhouse gas emissions have anything to do with facilities like its headquarters and data centers, according to the company's 2014 report on its climate change efforts. The majority of those emissions -- 70 percent, according to the report -- result from its manufacturing of phones, tablets and computers. That manufacturing largely occurs in China where coal is the primary means of generating power.