Google funds climate change deniers while touting environmentally friendly policies

Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesGoogle CEO Sundar Pichai.
  • Google has been funding organisations which deny climate change and actively lobby against climate legislation, the Guardian reports.
  • Google donates to the Competitive Enterprise Institute, an organisation that was reportedly key to President Trump’s decision to pull out of the Paris Climate Accord.
  • A spokesperson told Business Insider that just because Google donates to these groups, it does not mean the company endorses their “entire agenda.”
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

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 organisation funded by Google describes the ‘climate delusion’

One of these organisations 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 organisation 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 TrumpChip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesKay 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.

“We’re hardly alone among companies that contribute to organisations while strongly disagreeing with them on climate policy,” a Google spokesperson told the Guardian. The company declined to tell The Guardian how much it had donated to these groups.

When contacted by Business Insider, a Google spokesman said:

“We sponsor organisations from across the political spectrum that advocate for strong technology policies. We’ve been extremely clear that Google’s sponsorship doesn’t mean that we endorse that organisation’s entire agenda – we may disagree strongly on some issues. Our position on climate change is similarly clear. Since 2007, we have operated as a carbon neutral company and for the second year in a row, we reached 100% renewable energy for our global operations.”

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