Despite Google’s consistent public stance that it supports political action regarding climate change, the company has reportedly made a number of “substantial” contributions to several well-known climate change deniers in Washington, The Guardian reports.
The Guardian discovered that among the hundreds of political groups Google lists as beneficiaries of its giving are more than a dozen that have campaigned expressly against climate change legislation, actively attempted to roll back Obama-era environmental protections, or questioned the need for action to protect the environment.
A Google spokesperson speaking with the paper said that the company wasn’t alone in terms of donating to organizations that have differing views on climate policy. According to that representative, the company makes those donations in the hope of influencing conservative lawmakers on other tech-related policies.
One of the organizations on that list was Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), which has opposed tech regulation and antitrust enforcement.
The news comes just weeks after Google employees planned a walkout in support of the climate. That walkout was scheduled to occur on September 20, to coincide with a number of other climate protests around the world.
In the employee’s announcement of that walkout, it said that “While Google makes a commitment to sustainability, stating that its global business operations are carbon neutral (its emissions are offset with equivalent renewable energy investments or carbon offset purchases) and aspiring to long-term 24×7 carbon-free energy consumption (but with no set commitment date), this doesn’t tell the whole story.”
The note specifically called out Google Cloud, which licenses infrastructure, machine learning, and engineering talent to fossil fuel companies, allowing them to extract fuel reserves faster, despite knowing that creating a lively future on our planet requires those reserves to be left in place.
The note also highlighted that Google-funded 111 members of congress in 2018 that voted against climate change legislation at least 90% of the time.
This also isn’t the first time Google’s donations have come into question.
In 2014, Eric Schmidt, who was then chairman of Google was asked by NPR why the company made donations to climate denier groups. At that time, Schmidt said “The consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake and so we’re trying to not do that in the future,” going on to say that Google “should not be aligned with such people.”
Apparently despite that comment, that “mistake” wasn’t large enough to correct it five years later.