by Brad Johnson, campaign manager for Forecast the Facts
Since I first reported on Climate Progress the news of Google’s planned fundraiser today for Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK), over 10,000 individuals have signed a petition calling for its cancellation. After 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 to be 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, UT
“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
Not 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:
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.”