In spite of public warnings about the risks of climate change, Facebook, Google, and Microsoft all supported a conference that promoted environmental change denialism, as per a new report from Mother Jones.
The three companies were all sponsors of LibertyCon, a convention aimed for a libertarian audience that occurred for this month. The convention included a speaker from a group called the CO2 Coalition, who purportedly contended that the impact of climate change on environment has been overstated.
In a schedule for the conference, the talk — titled “Let’s Talk About Not Talking: Should there be ‘No Debate’ that Industrial Carbon Dioxide is Causing Climate Catastrophe?” — promised to “clarify the functions of the mathematical models that are used to predict the future of climate change and are the basis for media fears of impending disaster.”
As per a valid source, the speaker claimed that the impacts of environmental change on severe weather had been misrepresented and that “the data don’t show a troubling pattern,” a suggestion that is inconsistent with the expert consensus on climate change.
Tech companies often sponsor events over a range of political perspectives. Facebook and Google have famously supported the conservative CPAC conference — notwithstanding during a time when many conservatives have been critical of the companies. While those conferences often have a few unique speakers, the debate over the LibertyCon talk shows how sponsoring an event can lead companies to be linked to speakers who don’t share their professed views. (All three organizations have vowed to battle climate change.)
In a statement, a Facebook spokesperson pointed to a page on the company’s political activities. “At times we support events that feature Internet and social media issues,” the page reads, posting a range of events the organization underpins.
“Our commitment to sustainability isn’t altered or influenced by our membership or sponsorship of an organization,” a Microsoft representative said in a statement. “We work with numerous gatherings on technology policy issues and don’t expect or foresee that any organization’s agenda will align to our own in all policy areas.”
“Every year, we sponsor companies from over the political range to promote strong laws,” a Google representative said in a statement. “As we clarify in our public policy transparency report, Google’s sponsorship or cooperation with a third party organization doesn’t imply that we endorse the organization’s entire agenda or concur with different speakers or sponsors.”