Google is helping to fund several major climate deniers despite “its insistence that it supports political action on the climate crisis,” claims an in-depth Guardian investigation.
The tech giant’s website names as “beneficiaries of its political giving” 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,” writes Guardian investigations correspondent Stephanie Kirchgaessner.
Mashable reached out to Google’s press office for a statement but did not receive an immediate response. In a statement to the Guardian, Google defended its actions and claimed its “collaboration” with these groups did not equate to endorsing the organisations’ “entire agenda.” A spokesperson added that Google sponsors organisations with “strong technology policies” across the political spectrum.
“We’re hardly alone among companies that contribute to organisations while strongly disagreeing with them on climate policy,” the spokesperson told the Guardian.
Google states in its online policy on transparency that its “sponsorship or collaboration with a third party organization doesn’t mean that we endorse the organisations’ entire agenda, its events or advocacy positions nor the views of its leaders or members.”
Here are the three major takeaways from the investigation:
Google’s sponsorship of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI)
Among the dozen organisations that Google is sponsoring is CEI, a conservative think-tank that has been identified by academics as one of the organisations central to promoting climate change denial.
According to Greenpeace, CEI — a Koch-funded climate denial group — has claimed that climate change would create a “milder, greener, more prosperous world”. The policy group was, per the Guardian, “instrumental in convincing the Trump administration to abandon the Paris agreement.”
In July, the New York Times reported that Amazon and Google sponsored a (CEI) gala.
Google’s sponsorship of the State Policy Network (SPN)
The investigation found that Google is a sponsor for the upcoming meeting of the SPN, an umbrella organisation for several conservative think thanks, including the Heartland Institute — a “radical anti-science group that has chided the teenage activist Greta Thunberg for ‘climate delusion hysterics.'” Greenpeace notes that SPN is another “Koch Industries climate denial front group”.
A SPN-member created “climate pledge” states “in many ways, our natural environment is getting better.
Google’s donations to Cato Institute
Google reportedly donated “undisclosed sums” to the Cato Institute, another Conservative think tank which has opposed “climate legislation and questioned the severity of the crisis.”
According to Greenpeace, the Cato Institute concentrates on “disputing the science behind global warming and questioning the rationale for taking action.” The organisation was founded by Ed Crane and Charles Koch.
At press time Google had not responded to Mashable’s request for comment. We will update this story.