Global crisis

Ocasio-Cortez accuses major tech companies of ‘secretly’ working against efforts to combat climate change

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)

New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and her Democratic colleague, Maine Rep. Chellie Pingree, have called out Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, for allegedly working to undermine efforts to combat climate change — despite the companies’ claims to the contrary.

The public remonstration came after the three tech giants sponsored LibertyCon, a libertarian student conference held in Washington D.C. that featured the work of groups that have tried to reframe climate change as a good thing for the environment, rather than as a global crisis.

In a publicly released letter to the CEOs of Google, Facebook, and Microsoft, Ocasio-Cortez and Pingree questioned why their companies were effectively sponsoring misinformation about climate change, despite the fact that they all “claim by policy that they’re on board” with reducing carbon emissions.

“The idea that they’re secretly working against it makes our job that much harder,” said Pingree.

In particular, they noted, LibertyCon sponsor and featured speaker the CO2 Coalition had released brochures that purported to “explain how our lives and our planet Earth will be improved by additional atmospheric carbon dioxide.” The group also hosted a talk titled “Let’s Talk About Not Talking: Should There Be ‘No Debate’ that Industrial Carbon Dioxide is Causing Climate Catastrophe?” which sought to contest the scientific consensus that fossil fuels are responsible for the Earth’s rapidly changing climate. Similarly unscientific views have been espoused by noted climate change deniers such as U.S. President Donald Trump, who on Monday night responded to news about frigid temperatures in the Midwest by tweeting that “we need” global warming.

“Given the magnitude and urgency of the climate crisis that we are now facing, we find it imperative to ensure that the climate-related views espoused at LibertyCon do not reflect the values of your companies going forward,” wrote Ocasio-Cortez and Pingree in their letter. “As you are well aware, the spreading of misinformation can be dangerous to our society. Today’s coordinated campaign to deny climate change, or to put a positive spin on its effects, is not unlike that of the tobacco companies which once sought to discredit their product’s link to cancer. Their propaganda kept the nation from addressing a public health crisis for years, leading to many preventable deaths. We cannot afford to make the same mistake again with climate change.”

Read the full story at Mother Jones.

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