Rep. Ocasio-Cortez rips into Facebook, Google, and Microsoft on climate

On Monday, Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Chellie
Pingree (D-ME) asked the heads of Facebook, Google, and
Microsoft to pledge their companies’ support for the science
suggesting that climate change has made a significant, negative
impact on the environment.

The lawmakers
penned the letter
after
news broke last week
that the companies sponsored a
conference, LibertyCon, which promoted climate change
denialism. At the libertarian-focused conference, a speaker
from the CO2 Coalition gave a talk arguing that the
environmental impact of climate change has been exaggerated.

“We are encouraged that each of you have pledged to reduce your
carbon footprint and have committed other efforts like pursuing
renewable energy,” the two lawmakers wrote. “Disappointingly,
though, the example you have set promoting sustainability and
evidenced-based science is compromised by your implicit support
of the session organized at LibertyCon.”

At the conference, the session cited by the lawmakers and
reports was the only in support of climate denialism. The
conference was not focused solely on environmental issues, but
other other sessions were held asking
whether carbon taxes were a viable solution
for climate
change, and religious liberty.

“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,” the lawmakers wrote.

In a response to Monday’s letter, Microsoft spokesperson told
The Verge, “Microsoft’s engagement with LibertyCon was
through a breakfast reception for student leaders to discuss
topics including rural broadband and privacy.”

“Climate change is one of the most important issues of our
time, and our commitment to addressing it is unequivocal,” the
spokesperson said. “For the past decade, we’ve reduced
emissions, invested in renewable energy, supported policies to
address climate change and enabled people around the globe to
use technology to accelerate progress on this issue.”


In a statement to Mother Jones
, Google said that
it often sponsors organizations across the political spectrum.
“Google’s sponsorship or collaboration with a third party
organization doesn’t mean that we endorse the organization’s
entire agenda or agree with other speakers or sponsors,” a
spokesperson said.

Facebook declined to comment.

The letter to the likes of Mark Zuckerberg and Sundar Pichai
isn’t Ocasio-Cortez’s first big criticism of Silicon Valley.
Over the weekend, she continued to critique companies like
Amazon over algorithm
bias
and platforms like Google and Facebook for
disseminating misinformation
.

“The fact of the matter is the current monopoly trend is
societally and economically unsustainable,” Ocasio-Cortez said
on Saturday.

In recent weeks, Ocasio-Cortez,
who is known for her efficient and creative uses of social
media
, has turned her sights onto Silicon Valley tech
giants. Shortly before she took her oath of office in January,

Amazon announced that its second HQ
would be divided
between New York City and Northern Virginia.
While her New York colleagues in the Senate
initially kept
quiet about the announcement, Ocasio-Cortez sided with many
local leaders, rejecting Amazon’s decision to move into Long
Island City.

Updated 1/28/19 at 4:17 p.m. ET:
Updated to include statements from Microsoft and
Google.

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