Microsoft Defends Its Support For Anti-Climate American Legislative Exchange Council

Posted by Brad Johnson Tue, 17 Sep 2013 20:22:00 GMT

Microsoft is defending its membership in one of the country’s most notorious enemies of environmental protection, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). In an August blog post, Microsoft chief environmental strategist Rob Bernard acknowledged that his company is a member and supporter of ALEC, which has for decades promoted an agenda of climate change denial, attacks on renewable energy, and opposition to environmental protection on behalf of funders such as Koch Industries, Exxon Mobil, and other conservative fossil-fuel interests. ALEC is an alliance of corporations, conservative foundations, and Republican state legislators that promotes anti-regulatory and conservative legislation at the state level.

Bernard argued that Microsoft’s membership in ALEC “is not an endorsement” of the group’s anti-environmental agenda:
As you would expect, Microsoft works with a wide range of groups across the political spectrum addressing policy issues important to our business. We work with many of these groups on narrowly-tailored technology policy issues and not the full set of issues they address. Our engagement with a particular group is not an endorsement of all the policy positions those groups have taken. For instance, we’ve received some questions about model legislation developed by the American Legislative Exchange Council that would repeal renewable energy mandates at the state level. To clarify this issue, Microsoft participates in ALEC’s Communication and Technology Task Force, as do many leading companies in the technology sector. We do not participate in any other ALEC task forces or provide any support or funding for ALEC’s work on environmental issues or other issues outside of communication and technology policy. In short, ALEC is not speaking for us on renewable energy policy.

Microsoft is also a funder of the Heartland Institute, a long-time partner of ALEC in the promotion of climate change denial and attacks on the integrity of climate scientists.

Heartland Institute Renews Claim That Risks of Tobacco Smoking Are 'Junk Science'

Posted by Brad Johnson Mon, 18 Jun 2012 19:31:00 GMT

Already under fire for his organization’s denial of climate change, Heartland Institute Joe Bast renewed his allegiance to his tobacco sponsors, Altria and Reynolds American International. “The public health community’s campaign to demonize smokers and all forms of tobacco is based on junk science,” Bast writes. His new attacks are raising the pressure on health industry companies such as Pfizer to join the exodus from the Heartland Institute.

Green Coalitions Drop Heartland Institute

Posted by Brad Johnson Wed, 09 May 2012 03:20:00 GMT

The Heartland Institute has been quietly dropped from two significant coalitions with top environmental organizations. Under pressure from Forecast the Facts and Greenpeace, insurers who funded Heartland’s Washington DC vice president, Eli Lehrer, ceased their support and helped to convince Lehrer to leave the organization. With Lehrer’s departure, the Heartland Institute has been excised from the websites of two green coalitions:
The Smarter Safer Coalition, an effort to reform the National Flood Insurance Program by top insurers, environmental organizations including American Rivers, the Sierra Club, National Wildlife Federation, Environmental Defense Fund, Defenders of Wildlife, Ceres, and the Nature Conservancy, alongside conservative groups such as the Competitive Enterprise Institute, American Conservative Union, and Americans for Tax Reform

The Green Scissors Campaign, an initiative to reduce anti-environmental government spending with Friends of the Earth and Taxpayers for Common Sense.

According to leaked documents, Lehrer brought about $700,000 a year into the Heartland Institute for his Center on Finance, Insurance, and Real Estate, including the majority of Heartland’s corporate funding. The insurers who announced their departure from Heartland include the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers, XL Group, Renaissance Re, Allied World Assurance, and State Farm Insurance.

Corporate sponsors of the Heartland Institute who have resisted calls to end their financial support include Microsoft, Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline, Comcast, and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.

Heartland’s seventh climate-denier conference will take place in Chicago in two weeks.