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Facebook aims to fight climate misinformation and reach net zero emissions by 2030

Facebook data center under construction in Los Lunas, New Mexico

Facebook data center under construction in Los Lunas, New Mexico. Photo courtesy of Facebook.

Following years of criticism for its part in the spread of climate misinformation, Facebook has announced plans for a new virtual Climate Science Information Center that will connect its users to up-to-date science-based climate information.

The Climate Science Information Center initially will launch in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany and France and bring together factual resources from the world's leading climate organizations, including the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and the Met Office, Facebook said.

"Climate change is real," the company said in a statement. "The science is unambiguous and the need to act grows more urgent by the day. As a global company that connects more than 3 billion people across our apps every month, we understand the responsibility Facebook has and we want to make a real difference."

Facebook has come under fire from climate groups, lawmakers and environmentalists over the summer for a loophole in its fact-checking process that allowed conservative groups to successfully campaign for the overruling of "false" warnings on posts marked as climate disinformation by scientific experts.

As a global company that connects more than 3 billion people across our apps every month, we understand the responsibility Facebook has and we want to make a real difference.

The firm announced the launch of the dedicated climate space on its site last week as it announced a new plan to reach net zero emissions from its supply chain, including suppliers, employee commuting and business travel, by 2030.

It said it would achieve this new goal through working with suppliers, supporting the development of new carbon removal technologies and making its facilities as efficient as possible.

The firm also said it would achieve net zero emissions across its global operations this year by purchasing offsets and driving down its absolute emissions through the purchase of renewable energy and other initiatives. It confirmed it was on track to deliver a 75 percent reduction in emissions against a 2017 baseline.

The firm's new commitments to reaching net zero supply chain emissions by 2030 match those of competitor Apple, which pledged to reach net zero emissions across its supply chain in the same timeframe last month.

It also comes after Google revealed last week that it already had eliminated its entire carbon legacy through offsets and was planning to operate with entirely carbon-free energy by 2030. Microsoft similarly has pledged to be "carbon negative" by 2030 and to actively remove all the carbon the firm historically has emitted from its operations.

And in a positive sign for its ongoing efforts to decarbonize, Microsoft announced last week that a pilot project to assess the efficacy of underwater data centers had revealed that they were eight times more reliable than land-based data centers, while also leading to reduced energy, land and infrastructure requirements.

A 25-month test of a data center placed 117 feet deep on the seafloor near the Orkney Islands in Scotland has demonstrated that "underwater data centers can run well on what land-based data centers consider an unreliable grid, meaning in future we may not need as much infrastructure for data centers," the company said.

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