These corporations are quietly bankrolling Congress' top climate denier
Amazon would like you to know it cares about the climate crisis. On its corporate website, the online giant acknowledges the threat and the urgent need for action from the government and businesses:
Human-induced climate change is real, serious, and action is needed from the public and private sectors. The overwhelming majority of climate scientists agree that human activities are contributing to climate-warming trends over the past century, and most leading scientific organizations worldwide have issued public statements endorsing this position. We agree...
In September, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos personally announced the company would be the first signer of The Climate Pledge, which "calls on signatories to be net zero carbon across their businesses by 2040."
In his presentation, Bezos called the current situation "dire." He said he was committed to making Amazon a "role model" on the issue of climate change.
And yet, Amazon has donated $8500 in the 2020 cycle to support the reelection of Senator Jim Inhofe (R-OK), the most powerful and outspoken climate denier in Congress. Amazon's most recent donation to Inhofe, $2500, came on December 31, just two months after Bezos' climate announcement.
In a notorious 2003 speech on the Senate floor, Inhofe famously called global warming "the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people."
So I will just conclude by saying: Wake up, America. With all the hysteria, all the fear, all the phony science, could it be that manmade global warming is the greatest hoax ever perpetrated on the American people? I believe it is.
And if we allow these detractors of everything that has made America great, those ranging from the liberal Hollywood elitists to those who are in it for the money, if we allow them to destroy the foundation, the greatness of the most highly industrialized nation in the history of the world, then we don't deserve to live in this one nation under God.
Inhofe argues that humans have a religious obligation to continue extracting fossil fuels. "[W]e are made in God’s image and should use the resources God has given us," Inhofe said in 2007.
In Inhofe's 2012 book, "The Greatest Hoax," he argues that people shouldn't worry about climate change because "God is still up there, and He promised to maintain the seasons and that cold and heat would never cease as long as the earth remains."
In February 2015, Inhofe appeared on the Senate floor with a snowball, claiming it was proof that global warming was fake.
"We hear the perpetual headline that 2014 has been the warmest year on record. But now the script has flipped," he said. (2015 ended up being the warmest on record, by a wide margin.)
In 2016, one of Inhofe's grandchildren asked him why he "didn't understand global warming." Inhofe said the question was proof that his grandchild had been brainwashed.
Inhofe's influence on U.S. climate policy is more than rhetorical. In 2017, he was the top signatory of a letter to Trump, encouraging Trump to withdraw from the Paris agreement. Trump took his advice.
Inhofe's impact on America's climate policy is far-reaching. Since Trump took office, Inhofe has "helped populate the upper ranks" of the EPA with "several of his closest confidants." Andrew Wheeler, the current EPA administrator, worked for Inhofe for 14 years. Amanda Gunasekara, who can be seen smiling behind Inhofe as he holds a snowball on the Senate floor, was a top climate advisor at the EPA. (She left last year to start an outside group supporting Trump's energy policies.) Other Inhofe aides were installed in the White House to advise on environmental issues.
Yet Amazon is not alone in publicly acknowledging the urgency of climate change while quietly contributing thousands to help Inhofe stay in power. This is significant because, as Bezos acknowledged in his September announcement, climate change is not a problem that can be addressed by individual companies taking ad hoc action. It is a systemic problem that requires collective solutions. It's great for corporations to reduce their carbon footprint. But these actions are swamped by politicians like Inhofe, who are clearing the way for more carbon emissions throughout the economy.
Popular Information reviewed the latest FEC data, filed last Friday, from Inhofe's campaign and leadership PAC. The data revealed a stunning disconnect between the public statements of numerous large corporations on climate change and their political giving.
Google: $10,000 in donations to Inhofe
Last month, on its corporate website, Google wrote about its participation in the UN Climate Change Conference in Madrid. Google acknowledged the urgency of climate change and how it required action both from businesses and governments.
This week, governments and NGOs from across the globe are convening at COP25, the United Nations climate conference in Madrid, to discuss the latest efforts to fight climate change. Addressing this pressing issue on a global scale requires urgent action from countries, communities and businesses.
About three weeks later, on December 31, 2019, Google sent $8000 to support Inhofe's reelection campaign. The contribution brought Google's total contributions to Inhofe for the 2020 cycle to $10,000, which is the legal maximum.
Microsoft: $2500 in contributions to Inhofe
On January 16, 2020, Microsoft CEO President Brad Smith announced the company will be "carbon negative by 2030." In making the announcement, Smith underscored the strength of the science and the critical role of public policy in addressing the problem.
The scientific consensus is clear. The world confronts an urgent carbon problem. The carbon in our atmosphere has created a blanket of gas that traps heat and is changing the world’s climate. Already, the planet’s temperature has risen by 1 degree centigrade. If we don’t curb emissions, and temperatures continue to climb, science tells us that the results will be catastrophic.
The world’s climate experts agree that the world must take urgent action to bring down emissions. Ultimately, we must reach “net zero” emissions, meaning that humanity must remove as much carbon as it emits each year. This will take aggressive approaches...and innovative public policy.
A few months earlier, on July 3, 2019, Microsoft contributed $2500 to support Inhofe's reelection campaign.
Dell: $7500 in contributions to Inhofe
Dell, one of the world's largest computer manufacturers, has a strong statement on its corporate website about the necessity of confronting climate change without delay.
In order to limit the likelihood of disruptive and potentially catastrophic change to our climate and ecosystems, public and private institutions across the planet will need to develop and implement mitigation and adaptation strategies. As atmospheric levels of greenhouse gases rise, however, mitigating adverse impacts will become more challenging, complex and costly. Delaying significant emissions reductions and systems transformation today might save money in the short-term, but the resultant increase in carbon levels could make emissions reduction and removal strategies much more expensive over the long-term.
In 2019, Dell contributed $7500 to support Inhofe's reelection.
General Electric: $15,000 in contributions to Inhofe
General Electric (GE), one of the largest companies in America, says it "supports the science and goals expressed in the Paris Agreement and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change." Moreover, the company says it supports "public policy" that will "reduce greenhouse gas emissions" and "encourage early adoption of cleaner technologies and energy efficiency."
Meanwhile, GE has donated $10,000, the legal maximum, to Inhofe's reelection campaign. GE also donated an additional $5000 to Inhofe's leadership PAC, Fund For A Conservative Future, which he uses to support politicians who share his views and expand his political influence.
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