Google’s controversial decision to fund the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) was a “mistake,” company chairman Eric Schmidt admitted on Monday, saying the group is spreading lies about global warming and “making the world a much worse place.”
In an interview on NPR’s Diane Rehm show, Schmidt said the free-market lobbying group’s anti-climate and anti-clean energy positions are harmful to future generations, and a bad investment idea for the company.
“Everyone understands climate change is occurring and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place,” Schmidt said. “And so we should not be aligned with such people — they’re just, they’re just literally lying.”
Schmidt did not say that Google had officially cut ties with the group, but did say that the “consensus within the company was that [the investment] was some sort of mistake and so we’re trying to not do that in the future.”
Google’s press office has not yet returned ThinkProgress’ request for comment on the matter.
The fact that Google is affiliated with the group has been confusing to many, considering its large investments in clean energy. The company has invested more than $1 billion into wind and solar projects that in total generate more than 2 gigawatts of power, and has set a goal to eventually power its data centers with 100 percent renewable energy. With purchased offsets, Google claims its carbon footprint is zero.
Cutting ties with ALEC will not get Google off the hook for funding climate deniers, though. According to Forecast the Facts, the company has contributed $699,000 to candidates for political office who deny the science of human-caused climate change.
Google has reportedly confirmed to Bloomberg News that it will end its membership with ALEC at the end of the year. Also in a statement to Bloomberg, ALEC’s public affairs direction said Google’s decision was “a result of public pressure from left-leaning individuals and organizations who intentionally confuse free market policy perspectives for climate change denial.”