Chair Castor Calls On Google To Stop Funding Climate Deniers
WASHINGTON (October 16, 2019) - On Wednesday, Rep. Kathy Castor (D-FL), chair of the House Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, called on Google to stop investing in organizations that deny the existence of climate change, or that are actively working to block progress on climate legislation.
According to a recent report by The Guardian, Google has made substantial political contributions to “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.”
In a letter to Google CEO Sundar Pichai, Chair Castor urged the company to rethink these financial contributions: “Your support for groups engaged in climate denial stands in stark contrast to your company’s clean energy and climate commitments,” she wrote.
Of the groups receiving contributions from Google, one of the most damaging is the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a conservative non-profit that claims “citizens have more to fear from the climate policy agenda than from climate change itself.”
“It is hard to overstate the detrimental impact groups like CEI have had on the climate debate in the United States since the early days of the Kyoto Protocol,” Rep. Castor said. “Because of their public and behind-the-scenes efforts to obfuscate and obstruct, we have lost critical time to cut greenhouse gas pollution and now face a shrinking window of opportunity to avert the worst impacts of climate change.”
Full text of the letter below:
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway
Mountain View, CA 94043
Dear Mr. Pichai,
The Guardian recently reported that Google has made contributions to the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI) and other organizations that have funded an aggressive crusade to deny the reality of climate change and the urgency of the threat we face. Your support for groups engaged in climate denial stands in stark contrast to your company’s clean energy and climate commitments.
Without question, your company has been a corporate leader in transitioning to clean, carbon-free energy and improving the energy efficiency of its data centers. Just last month, Google announced its plan to make “the biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history.”
Unfortunately, we cannot solve the climate crisis one company at a time. We must pursue economywide change to cut greenhouse gas pollution and ensure our communities are resilient to the unavoidable impacts of a warming climate. This requires ambitious public policy at all levels of government.
CEI and other corporate-funded front groups, however, have engaged in a systematic campaign to block any meaningful policy action on climate change and cast doubt on well-established climate science. In fact, CEI continues to challenge the Environmental Protection Agency’s cornerstone finding that “greenhouse gas emissions endanger the public health and welfare of current and future generations,” despite robust and indisputable climate science to the contrary. CEI’s website currently states that “citizens have more to fear from the climate policy agenda than from climate change itself.” That is a dangerous and irresponsible message.
It is hard to overstate the detrimental impact groups like CEI have had on the climate debate in the United States since the early days of the Kyoto Protocol. Because of their public and behind-the-scenes efforts to obfuscate and obstruct, we have lost critical time to cut greenhouse gas pollution and now face a shrinking window of opportunity to avert the worst impacts of climate change.
I understand that Google may be supporting CEI and like-minded organizations for their work on issues other than climate change. It is impossible, however, to separate your support for one sliver of CEI from the whole. Your financial contributions support the organization’s infrastructure, augment its political influence, and, in turn, legitimize all of its activities—not just the ones you like.
Your company’s website states: “At Google, we strive to build sustainability into everything we do.” I urge you to apply this mantra when you make decisions about which think tanks and organizations to support in the future.