Google is no longer simply the Internet’s search engine. The company now is building Google+ into a diverse, curated-garden experience with the goal of social media domination that keeps user traffic within Google’s walls. In recent years the company has significantly ramped up its engagement in national politics, led by former Republican representative Susan Molinari.
The revamped Google is now joining the ranks of the top corporate funders of the climate-denial movement. In 2013, Google has held a fundraiser for Sen. Jim Inhofe (“Global warming is a hoax”) at its DC headquarters, been the top funder of the annual dinner of the Competitive Enterprise Institute (“CO2: We Call It Life”), and joined the American Legislative Exchange Council (“Even substantial global warming is likely to be of benefit to the United States”).
In response, hundreds of people have flooded the Google+ page for the Google DC headquarters with one-star reviews. The page also now includes photographs from the protest organized by Forecast the Facts during the Google DC fundraiser for Inhofe.
This digital activism is only part of a 150,000-person strong campaign led by Forecast the Facts with support from Credo, Greenpeace, Sum Of Us, and other groups. The coalition has organized on-the-street protests of Google in DC, Mountain View, and New York City.
Over 10,000 individuals have signed a petition calling for the cancellation of Google’s July 11 fundraiser for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-Okla.). Since the selection of former Republican representative Susan Molinari to head its lobbying operations last year, Google has dramatically increased its support for anti-science politicians and front groups, from Rep. Joe Barton (R-TX) to the Koch-founded Mercatus Center.
Forecast the Facts and Greenpeace activists will be delivering the petition signatures to Google Washington headquarters during the lunchtime fundraiser, and holding a protest livestreamed at 12:45 PM by We Act Radio.The Forecast the Facts petition, addressed to Google CEO Larry Page, makes a straightforward request:
Cancel your July 11 fundraiser for Sen. Jim Inhofe and pledge to never fund climate deniers again.
An anonymous Google spokesperson responded to media inquiries saying the fundraiser would go forward, because although Google and Inhofe “disagree on climate change policy,” they “share an interest” in Google’s 100-employee, $700 million data center in Pryor, Oklahoma. Last year, Google earned the top spot on Greenpeace’s Cool IT board for its commitment to renewable energy and energy efficiency to power its massive computer farms.
With the admirable goal of creating a “better web that is better for the environment,” Google has cultivated a reputation for working to support scientific inquiry and pursuing environmental sustainability. Google’s co-founders, Page and Sergey Brin, continue to profess that Google operates by the corporate motto, “Don’t be evil.”
This reputation will be rendered meaningless if the fundraiser goes forward and large contributions continue to be made to anti-science defenders of unregulated carbon pollution such as Sen. Inhofe and the Competitive Enterprise Institute.
Google’s Oklahoma employees are not well served by the company’s support for Inhofe. Climate change is one of the most significant threats facing our country’s economy, environment, and long-term well being. It is already impacting people across the United States — especially in Oklahoma. In fact, Oklahoma is known as “Disaster Central” — the state has more climate-related disasters than any other state in the nation, and conditions will worsen as carbon pollution builds.The following comments from Google users, shareholders, and concerned Oklahomans who have signed the Forecast the Facts petition were included in the cover letter addressed to Larry Page:
“I am a shareholder and raising campaign money for climate deniers is not in anyone’s interest. Please cancel any such events planned or in the future.” — Suzanne S, Salt Lake City, UTNot only is Inhofe explicitly opposed to Google’s professed concern for global warming, his stances on other core issues contradict those of Google’s employees, shareholders, and customers:
“I am a heavy Google user and I live in Oklahoma. Inhofe does as much damage to this country (and the world) as anyone alive today. I am appalled that you are raising money for him and will start finding alternatives if you don’t cancel. And as a web professional, I will widely share my opinion.” — Rena G, Oklahoma City, OK
“I am a shareholder, specifically because of your ‘don’t be evil’ slogan. Please don’t make me want to sell my stock!” — Lynn L, Minneapolis, MN
“I am from Oklahoma and know the results of this man’s political life on the rest of us. He is unworthy in every way of your support. What can you be thinking to fund a man of this stamp? I would hate to do without Google, but I will force myself. You serve a wide constituency and should be above this partisanship. Please, please cancel this disaster.” —Jo T, Perkins, OK
- Open Internet: Google executives say an open internet is its top corporate concern. Inhofe opposes net neutrality.
- LGBT Rights: Google HR personnel claim to support LGBT rights and promote its “Gayglers.” Inhofe argues gay marriage is immoral and supports homophobic regimes abroad.
- Religious Tolerance: Google marketers reach out to the Muslim world and celebrate Ramadan. Inhofe argues that all terrorists are Muslims and Middle Easterners.
- Women’s Rights: Google acts to empower women in technology. Inhofe wonders about Hillary Clinton’s unfeminine “forceful attitude” and opposes birth control.
- Ethnic Diversity And Civil Rights: Google’s HR team celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month and funds a Hispanic College Fund. Inhofe pushes English-only legislation.
And the list goes on. As the San Francisco Chronicle’s James Temple writes, Google’s support for Inhofe is “unconscionable,” “galling,” and a “shameful act of corporate hypocrisy.”
James Inhofe (R-Ok.)
E&E News We’re creating this policy – or at least this bill contemplates creating a policy – that has a lot of human giving away of free allowances. All kinds of things that distort the market, and it just seems that if truly the goal was to lower the amount of carbon there would be a proposal just to tax it and to lower some other tax and be done with it.
Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska)
Roll Call We need to remind the American public, for example, that the 1,400-page Waxman-Markey monstrosity is a monument to big government that will make food, gasoline and electricity more expensive, increase mandates on small businesses, and increase the size and reach of the federal bureaucracy — all while doing nothing to affect climate change. The Kerry-Boxer legislation introduced Sept. 30 is, in many ways, worse than the Waxman-Markey bill. This reflects the attitude of one of the bill’s sponsors, who said recently that, because of the recession, businesses should be expected to make even more expensive emissions reductions. While it’s never a good time to pass a national energy tax, one would have thought that imposing such a tax during a recession is especially bad. Over the past week, many people have speculated about the potential for a grand Senate climate deal, tying cap-and-trade to the expansion of nuclear power and offshore drilling. Both policies make eminent sense and are key components of the Republican “all-of-the-above” energy policy. But tying those policies to a massive national energy tax makes no sense, which is why there’s little hope for a deal so long as it involves cap-and-trade.
Washington Post Count me as one of those who will keep my mind open as we move forward. When you see changes to the land coming about … what is causing the loss of the sea ice that adds to the erosion issues, yes, in Alaska we are seeing change. That’s why I have been one of those Republicans who has stepped out front a little bit more on the issue of climate change.
From the Wonk Room.Fox News Channel’s Gregg Jarrett introduced a “very big story” that the Environmental Protection Agency “intentionally buried a study challenging some of Uncle Sam’s global warming research.” Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK) claimed the report, written by economist Alan Carlin of EPA’s National Center for Environmental Economics, vindicates his belief that man-made global warming is the “greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people”:
The thing is phony. I feel so good about being redeemed after all of these years, because they have been throwing this thing in my face since 1998 when we realized that all of those scientists that Al Gore had lined up – and I’m talking about Claude Allegre in France, David Bellamy in UK, and Nir Shaviv in Israel – all of them used to be on his side. They all said, “Wait a minute, this science is not right.” That’s exactly what Allen Carlin said. We’ve already started a investigation.Watch it:
When asked if there should be a criminal investigation, Inhofe replied, “There could be and there probably should be.” Continuing his attack, he claimed that the EPA “have been suppressing science and coming out with what they want people to say. You might remember – I talked to you about it on this station. When I first realized that this thing was a hoax and I made the statement that the notion that man-made gases, anthropogenic gases, CO2 cause global warming, it is probably the greatest hoax ever perpetrated.”
What Fox News, Inhofe, and right-wing bloggers are promoting as a suppressed EPA report is nothing of the kind. Carlin’s paper, released by the Competitive Enterprise Institute (“CO2: they call it pollution, we call it Life“), is a hodgepodge of widely discredited pseudoscience. Carlin was given permission by the NCEE to cobble the paper together even though he is not a climate researcher, and “the document he submitted was reviewed by his peers and agency scientists.”
The Carlin document cites the usual array of global warming deniers, including Joe D’Aleo, Don Easterbrook, William Gray, Christopher Monckton, Fred Singer, and Roy Spencer – all of whom worked with Sen. Inhofe’s former aide Marc Morano to disseminate denials of climate science. Carlin’s references come from denier blogs such as ICECAP.us and Watts Up With That, and plagiarizes publications from the Heartland Institute, the Science & Environmental Policy Project, and the Friends of Science Society, all conservative front groups. RealClimate’s Gavin Schmidt summarizes the paper as “a ragbag collection of un-peer reviewed web pages, an unhealthy dose of sunstroke, a dash of astrology and more cherries than you can poke a cocktail stick at.”
Similarly, although the 76-year-old botanist David Bellamy, 72-year-old geochemist Claude Allegre, and 32-year-old astrophysicist Nir Shaviv publicly question man-made global warming, they represent a steadily dwindling number of scientists, few of any of which actively study climate change, that argue fossil fuel emissions are not warming the planet.
From the Wonk Room.
Marc Morano, the spokesman for Senate Environment and Public Works Committee ranking member James Inhofe (R-Okla.), will leave the committee later this month to become executive director and chief correspondent for a fledgling Web site that will serve as a “clearinghouse and one-stop shopping” for climate and environmental news.
Morano joined the Senate, with a $134,000 a year salary, from the rightwing website Cybercast News Service (CNS), where he launched the Swift Boat Veterans for Truth campaign against Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) in 2004 and attacked the war record of Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) in 2006. Morano was Rush Limbaugh’s “Man in Washington” in the 1990s.
Both CNS – a subsidiary of Brent Bozell’s Media Research Center – and CFACT are part of the Scaife network of conservative front groups, supported by the Richard Mellon Scaife family fortune and corporations like Exxon Mobil. CFACT and the Media Research Center are co-sponsors of the Heartland Institute’s International Conference on Climate Change, a global warming denier conference that begins Sunday, March 8.