Google funds climate change deniers while touting environmentally friendly policies

Sundar Pichai

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Google CEO Sundar Pichai.

  • Google has been funding organizations which deny climate change and actively lobby against climate legislation, the Guardian reports.
  • Google donates to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an organization that was reportedly key to President Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord.
  • A spokesperson told the Guardian that just because Google donates to these groups, it does not mean the company endorses their "entire agenda."
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Google has been funding think tanks and lobbying organisations which actively fight against climate change legislation, The Guardian reports.

Google has been a vocal champion of climate change initiatives, and last month following a series of protest walkouts CEO Sundar Pichai announced the company's "biggest renewable energy purchase ever." Google has been trying to offset its carbon footprint by purchasing more renewable energy than it consumes as a company, not solely to power its own data centres and offices but also to boost clean energy development.

Despite making noises about becoming more environmentally friendly, Google has been quietly funding organisations which say climate change isn't real.

As highlighted by The Guardian, Google's list of beneficiaries for "substantial contributions" include numerous organisations which have been active in denying climate change exists and lobbying against legislation to combat it.

One organization funded by Google describes the 'climate delusion'

One of these organizations is the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which has referred to climate change as "climate delusion."

The CEI's director Myron Ebell was also reported as being instrumental in Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord in 2017.

For its part the CEI appears to generate positive press coverage for Google. Last month a senior fellow at the CEI published an op-ed in the Atlantic arguing against the antitrust probe launched by 50 state attorneys general into Google.

Another organization named on the list is the right-wing think tank the Heritage Foundation. Google's involvement with the Heritage Foundation came under heavy fire earlier this year when it announced the appointment of Kay Coles James, the foundation's president, to its AI ethics council which collapsed after a week.

Kay Coles James Donald Trump

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Kay Coles James sits next to Donald Trump during a meeting of conservative leaders in January.

The decision sparked a fierce employee backlash because of James' history of anti-immigrant, anti-LGBTQ and climate change-denying rhetoric. Over a thousand employees signed a petition to have James ousted, and the following week Google disbanded the council entirely.

A Google spokesperson told the Guardian that just because Google donates to climate change denying groups, "[it] does not mean we endorse the organisations' entire agenda."

"We're hardly alone among companies that contribute to organisations while strongly disagreeing with them on climate policy," the spokesperson said. The company declined to tell The Guardian how much it had donated to these groups.

Google was not immediately available for comment when contacted by Business Insider.

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