In Brief

Google made ‘substantial’ contributions to climate change deniers

New analysis shows self-claimed ‘green’ web giant backs conservative think-tanks

Google has made major donations to leading climate deniers despite the company’s assertions that it backs political action on the climate crisis, it has emerged.

The Guardian reports that the groups listed on the technology giant’s website as beneficiaries of its “political giving” include “more than a dozen organisations that have campaigned against climate legislation, questioned the need for action, or actively sought to roll back Obama-era environmental protections”.

Among the controversial groups is Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a Washington D.C.-based think tank that convinced Donald Trump to abandon the Paris agreement and that has criticised the White House for not undoing more environmental regulations.

“At the time, Google CEO Sundar Pichai said he was ‘disappointed’ by the Trump administration’s decision and pledged that Google would ‘keep working’ for a ‘cleaner, more prosperous future’,” reports the Daily Mail.

Google is also listed as a sponsor of the State Policy Network (SPN), which in turn backs the Heartland Institute, a group that has accused Greta Thunberg of “climate delusion hysterics”.

SPN members recently created a “climate pledge” website that claims “our natural environment is getting better” and that “there is no climate crisis”.

Defending its contributions, Google insisted that its “collaboration” with the organisations “does not mean we endorse the organisations’ entire agenda”. A spokesperson added: “We’re hardly alone among companies that contribute to organisations while strongly disagreeing with them on climate policy.”

Sources close to Google said that the company donates to such groups to try to influence conservative lawmakers, and to help bankroll the deregulatory agenda for which the groups are campaigning, according to The Guardian.

However, critics insist such trade-offs are not acceptable.

“What all of corporate America should be doing is saying if you are a trade organisation or lobby group and you are interfering on climate, we are out. Period,” said  Sheldon Whitehouse, a Democratic senator from Rhode Island.

Google maintains that its position on climate change is “clear,” and that since 2007, it has “operated as a carbon neutral company and for the second year in a row, we reached 100% renewable energy for our global operations”.

The row comes weeks after The Inquirer reported that both the multinational and Amazon had made a “cunningly timed announcement” about “big hairy audacious plans to reduce their contribution to global warming”.

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