Google Finally Taking Climate Change Seriously

by Matt Klassen on September 26, 2014

I’m not sure what has changed over the last five years or so to suddenly lead an increasing number of technology firms to now admit that climate change may actually be real, as opposed to the liberal fear-mongering we’ve been told it is up until now, but don’t think I’m about to complain about the fact that some of the most influential companies in the world are finally taking the plight of Mother Earth a little more seriously.

In late August Microsoft attempted to distance itself from the climate change deniers—which still make up a significant part of Right Wing politics in America—by ending its affiliation with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a conservative public-policy lobbying group that has championed the cause of the fossil fuel industry and hampered the development of green, renewable energies across the country.

Not to be outdone in the Altruism Department, however, Google has recently announced it will be ending its own involvement in the lobby group, stating that the only reason it was there in the first place is that ALEC was also once a strong voice for an Open Internet. But given ALEC’s clear anti-environment agenda, and that, as Google Chairman Eric Schmidt states, “The facts in climate change are not in question anymore,” the search engine giant has now come out railing against a group it has participated contently with for the last three years. So what’s changed?

Of course the answer is simple: nothing has changed; only public perception. As I see it, this revolt against ALEC and the fossil fuel industry in general comes not because of some industry wide epiphany for companies, but because these companies can no longer hide behind the answer, “We didn’t know the environment needed our help.”

“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 contended. “We should not be aligned with such people — they’re just literally lying.”

As the voices for renewable energy get louder and louder, the reality is that Google and other such companies find themselves with a decision to make, choosing sides in what will only become a more divisive debate over the next few years. “Google cannot afford to be on the wrong side of certain key issues,” and climate change is one of them, Greg Sterling, vice president of strategy and insights for the Local Search Association, told TechNewsWorld in a recent interview.

“It would ultimately expose them to charges of duplicity or hypocrisy and damage their brand with key constituencies of users,” he explained.

But while I laud companies like Google and Microsoft for ending their participation in ALEC, finally recognizing the importance of renewable green energy options, I have to wonder just how serious these companies are about helping Mother Earth, as both have dragged their feet when it comes to employing renewable standards in the very technology markets that they dominate. Although no longer paying lip service to ALEC is certainly helpful, it’s but the first step of many that will be needed to help save this planet of ours.

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Written by: Matt Klassen. www.digitcom.ca. Follow TheTelecomBlog.com by: RSS, Twitter, Facebook, or YouTube.

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