Say it ain't so, Google!
The Washington Post's Juliet Eilperin reports something I never would have thought in a million years. Google is supporting one of the worst climate-denier organizations in the world: the so-called Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI).
Is this the same Google that touts how "green" it is, how much it is lowering its carbon footprint? The same Google that formed a "Climate Savers Computing Initiative" in 2007 and has won awards from the EPA and Greenpeace, which are proudly displayed on their "Google Green" website?
Is this the same Google whose products I absolutely love and use constantly throughout the day, inspiring within me a fierce brand loyalty?
My beloved Google, say it ain't so!
Ms. Eilperin notes that while CEI does not disclose donors to the organization's regular budget, they do for sponsors of their annual dinner:
The lineup of sponsors both confirms certain stereotypes about the right-leaning think tank and challenges others. The energy sector donated $110,000 to the event, the same amount given by conservative foundations (three of which are associated with the billionaires Charles and David Koch). But the biggest single donor is Google, which gave $50,000, and Facebook kicked in $25,000.
Let me make sure you caught this: "the biggest single donor is Google ..."
(And Facebook is a donor, too! A fight for another day.)
Here's what the CEI's website says about its Google-charged bash:
The annual CEI Dinner and Reception brings together an audience of policy professionals, distinguished scholars, congressional staff, and CEI supporters to celebrate another year of CEI's effective advocacy for freedom. It is often cited as one of the most enjoyable DC events of the year. We hope you can join us.
Some years back I was with CEI's founder Fred Smith at a private conference. A likeable guy personally. But CEI's behavior is anything but likeable. Here's but one small example.
I recently attended a debate on a carbon tax in Washington, D.C. between political conservatives in front of an audience of political conservatives. My friend Bob Inglis, a proud Republican and former Congressman from South Carolina, was on a team arguing in favor of a revenue-neutral carbon tax swap in lieu of EPA regulations, allowing the marketplace to determine how best to overcome climate change. Several years ago Bob lost his primary in part because of his courageous stand on climate change.
So what did CEI do? They actually made up buttons with "70/29" on them -- or by how much Bob lost his primary -- and put them on the seats in the auditorium. If this is how they treat their "friends," you can imagine what they do to their adversaries. (You'll be happy to know that even though CEI tried to pack the house, and even though the audience was primarily political conservatives, their side still lost the debate, according to a vote by the audience itself. I found this to be a real sign of hope!)
CEI's webpage about the dinner trumpets in a big gaudy graphic that it was "SOLD OUT."
Or is that a reference to my beloved Google?
Hmmm... What else don't we know here? Has Google given more money to climate-denier CEI? What about to other climate-denier groups? We've found smoke, but is there fire?
To restore its good name, Google should:
Then I can go back to searching on Google and using my Google Mail with a clean conscience.
The Rev. Jim Ball is author of Global Warming and the Risen LORD.