Apple’s climate change efforts might be based on misguided idealism

“Under the leadership of Tim Cook, Apple has been a vocal advocate for certain policies, including what the company calls ‘climate change,'” Jim Lynch writes for CIO. “While some have applauded Apple’s commitment to battle global warming, I’m forced to wonder if the company’s efforts aren’t simply misguided.”

“Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s great that Apple is paying attention to the environment and that it’s aware of its own impact on it. But I think that Apple’s climate change efforts might be based on misguided idealism,” Lynch writes. “Before I offer my thoughts about Apple and global warming, here’s a recent story at The Verge that sums up the company’s perspective on the issue: ‘Apple is continuing to take a strong stance against climate change, writing in its newly released 2015 Environmental Responsibility Report, ‘We don’t want to debate climate change. We want to stop it.””

“I think it’s worth considering if Apple’s take on climate change or global warming or whatever you want to call it is a worthwhile expenditure of the company’s resources,” Lynch writes. “I think the company means well, and I’m glad they care about the environment. But I also think they are contributing to the unnecessarily alarmist misinformation that gets pushed on the public by the media… As with the global cooling farce that happened in the 70s, I think we will eventually see that global warming is just as much of an overhyped bit of nonsense. When that finally happens, I think Apple will unfortunately end up with egg on its face if the company doesn’t promptly tone down its rhetoric on the issue.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Forget about “climate change” and just look at the dollars and cents: Apple is reportedly making money on these projects over the long term while also reaping positive feelings about their brand right now. See, everybody, “Apple cares.”

Regardless of whether “global warming/cooling/whatever” turns out to be a sham or a significant long-term event that humans can affect or over which humans have little or no control, or something else entirely, Apple won’t have egg on its face for generating electricity from the sun rather than from other, less environmentally-friendly, less healthy means.

That said, it wouldn’t hurt Apple in the least to tone done the absolutist rhetoric (i.e. “the time for talk is over” and “we don’t want to debate”) as that sort of imperiousness just irks unnecessarily while setting the company up for potential ridicule regardless of how you calculate the odds.

Related articles:
Apple invests in China solar project – April 16, 2015
How Apple is making money off of its landmark $850 million solar deal – March 27, 2015
Apple’s $850 million solar plant investment rockets it to first place among U.S. corporations – February 12, 2015
Apple to build new solar farm, and some greens hate it – February 11, 2015
Tim Cook: Apple to build $850 million solar farm; Apple Watch will surprise everyone – February 10, 2015

132 Comments

  1. The VAST majority of scientists who know anything about the topic say climate change is happening and the huge and rapid spike is human caused.

    But lucky for us a pluck band of billionaires and oil company executives are setting the record straight.

    (The same sort of fighting has happened with every deadly product — DDT, tobacco, red dye #whatever, a gazillion toxic chemicals sprayed onto our food. “Oh no, don’t worry. The jury is out on tobacco. Two percent of scientists say it’s totally fine. The rest are all part of an anti-billionaire plot.” Yehhhh, that’s plausible.)

    1. And then, once is a while, a genius like Newton or Einstein comes along and makes idiots of the VAST majority of scientists.

      There is no “huge and rapid spike” in anything but wild claims of the sky is falling.

      1. In his book, “The Structure of Scientific Revolutions”, Thomas Kuhn basically asserts that true scientific revolutions — on the order of Kepler’s view of the solar system, Newton’s gravity, and Einstein’s relativity — can only gain full traction after all those who learned the previous “world view” died.

        But it is worth noting that the science analyzing climate & ocean warming is not revolutionary. This science employs standard methodology: hypothesis generation, hypothesis testing against various data sets utilizing statistical methods, describing & testing possible cause-and-effect scenarios (eg, the greenhouse effect caused by CO2), ruling out other possible factors, rinse & repeat with additional data sets. This science is akin to how science figured out cigarettes caused cancer, stroke, & heart disease (plus a lot of other bad stuff, like COPD, etc.).

        Regarding climate & ocean change, we are basically at the point science has figured out cigarettes are bad for people, though it will take time for most people to accept it. (Judging from how many people still smoke, many still do not understand the “big bag of hurt” caused by smoking. Some people still do not get it.)

  2. …Still people denying human’s responsibility in climate change?
    Hey! Stop with your aging believes and get it straight with the reality: Pollution IS a game changer and consumerists should face it and move from their blind habits.

  3. There is no such thing as “settled science” and to continue to say that “experts” all agree that humans are causing the media buzzword of the day, whether it be “global warming” or “Climate Change”.

    Climate has been “changing” since the dawn of time.. To think that humans can have a significant or lasting impact is the height of hubris.. A Volcano could go off tomorrow somewhere in the world and in a matter of hours or days could do more to impact climate than mankind has done in a century or more… And somehow we’ve survived Krakatoa, and other large volcanic events.

    But just like any other energy tech, solar has its environmental impact, its been killing birds (just like wind power) and requires vast acres of land be re-purposed to implement it and it “only” works when the sun shines, then they need to have other generated power just like everyone else.

    Apple can do all it wants to to be green, fine with me, they can spend as many millions or billions on it as they see fit, but the overall impact is insignificant.

    1. Nice post Macinfo (and others too). I think if humans released all their nuclear arsenal at once it would make an impact on the climate. Certainly the ozone hole has demonstrated that the chemicals produced by humans can impact the climate. It’s something to consider especially since humans are the only creatures that produce chemicals that are toxic to themselves and to all human life.

      That being said, you are right about the hubris. Humans could release all of their nuclear arsenal, open the valves on all their pollutants and it would impact the climate, and no doubt lead to the extinction of some species, humans a high probability on that list.

      It would not however wipe out all life, and to think so it to me is one of the peaks of arrogance.

      Thanks for the sentiments.

    2. In all respect, sir…. You may have some “Macinfo” that has some merit somewhere in your head, but you are obviously not informative on this subject.
      Case:
      PV=NrT is “settled science”, for hundreds of years,
      E=Mc^2 is “settled science”, just this century
      I could go on for many tomes about “settled science” but won’t bore you with facts

      and there are “experts” in the area of climate, with proper scientific method and accurate measurement devices, that ALL EXCEPT A FEW *NON PEER REVIEWED* PAPERS AGREE that climate change is being affected by the slow consumption of the buffering carbonate-bicarbonate reaction in the oceans by fossil fuel byproducts and other man made conditions

      We lived through Krakatoa because this balance was not impared as it is now, i shudder to think about the next one to blow and how that will look on the pH scale when the oceans die due to acidification (do some homework if you want to comment on science, please, you just show your ignorance and insignificance and piss off those of us who do know what science is)

      1. E=Mc^2 *was* settled science until relativity came along, then this equation was replaced with the relativistic mass equation.

        The quantum mechanics came along and God decided to place dice with the universe. Even Einstein was wrong on (rare) occasion.

        An now, the “settled science” has been proven wrong once again…

  4. Still, not polluting the world, or consuming every natural resource should be everyone’s goal. The world isn’t just for this generation, we should be counting on the human race existing on Earth for millions of more years.

  5. One article in Newsweek (literally) and that is the evidence that scientists predicting Global Cooling in the seventies. Climate science was in its infancy back then, so much has been learned since then about our planet and the climate and now there is a 98% consensus among climate scientists that climate change is man made. So Tim Cook and Apple are right. The time for debate is over. It’s time for action.

  6. Forgetting anything related to the climate for a minute, in the long term as these technologies mature and improve the cost will come down. Ultimately, free energy from the sun has to be cheaper than digging it up blindly. On top of that, fossil fuels are unpleasant, they do pollute, they’re dirty, people wear masks in big cities, getting rid of that would surely be one of the greatest things we could do even if it’s just to improve our quality of life. If it does prevent catastrophic climate change then even better.

  7. Apple has always been ahead of the curve and this issue is one more proof.

    Yes, we need energy. But why does anyone really care where it comes from? If people were to think of solar & wind power as just 2 more resources to be EXPLOITED — just like oil & coal — would they feel better about it? Jeesh. You would think renewable energy proponents are seeking to overturn the whole established world order or something. I’d be happy to see renewables get the same preferential treatment (and huge tax write-offs) that the fossil-fuel exploiters have gotten over the years.

    Anyway, there is no serious doubt: most who study the issue seriously agree humans have contributed to climate change. It took millions of years to produce the world’s fossil fuels, but mankind is on track to deplete it in the course of 200 or 300 years. Any background planetary climate change may introduce “noise” to the “signal”, but it does not mean the “signal” of human-caused climate change does not exist.

    The real problem is not whether there is enough fossil fuel to last. The real issue is: will we cook the planet before supplies are depleted? Burning fossil fuels produces 3-times the weight of carbon as carbon dioxide, since each carbon molecule combines with 2 oxygen molecules (from the atmosphere) when burned. If you have a 20 gallon gas tank in your car, you produce about 400 pounds of CO2 each fill-up. (A gallon of gas weights about 6 pounds, and produces nearly 20 pounds of CO2 when burned.) CO2 is well known to trap heat. Add up the prodigious amounts of CO2 man has spewed in the atmosphere in the past 100 years and you will be flabbergasted. Also, they say about half the atmospheric CO2 ends up in our oceans. This is causing ocean temperatures to rise (we know this from US Navy sonar bounced through the Atlantic & Pacific oceans; as temperature affects speed of sound transmission, this is how we know for sure that the oceans temps have risen overall) and also to become more acidic, like soda pop (which also has CO2).

    So kudos to Apple. And shame on the rest of you. The future is now, even if many cannot see it unfolding.

  8. It defies common sense to think that we can pump trillions of tons of noxious chemicals a year into the atmosphere for decades on end and not expect it to have some sort of effect on climate and the planet’s ecosystems. It’s also undeniable that earth’s climate changes as a result of natural cycles. But to deny that human activity hasn’t increased the pace flies in the face of almost universally accepted scientific fact.

  9. MDN. Really?? Science-SCIENCE has proven that climate change is real. It’s not a debate dummies. If you haven’t shown your hand already as being run by right wing nut jobs this one is it.

    1. You should read and re-read MacDailyNews’ Take in an attempt to understand what they wrote. If you ever do, you should apologize to them for your stupidity.

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