Microsoft Undercutting Urgency on Climate

February 11, 2021

Microsoft has taken some admiral positions on climate – notably a commitment to go “Carbon Negative” by 2030 – see above.
But how does that square with support for science denying lawmakers?

Emily Atkin in Heated:

After the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol last month, tech giant Microsoft paused all its political contributions. The company wanted to reassess its priorities.

On Friday, Microsoft released a new political giving policy. It officially suspends all Microsoft PAC donations to lawmakers who voted to overturn the 2020 presidential election results for the next two years. The company said it will also cut off “State officials and organizations who supported such objections or suggested the election should be overturned.” 

These changes are a big step forward in the fight against disinformation. They show that big corporations—which have historically shunned litmus tests for political giving—can admit that some lies are simply too big and dangerous to support.

But what about other big, dangerous lies? What about the lie that humans don’t cause climate change? 

Microsoft’s new policy doesn’t touch that one, and it reveals how far corporations still need to go to address their own responsibility for deadly political propaganda. Because while election fraud might be the “big lie” of the moment, it’s not the only big lie Microsoft routinely fuels with its political giving. 

A HEATED analysis of OpenSecrets data shows Microsoft funded an astonishing number of lawmakers who promote the “big lie” of climate science denial over the 2020 election cycle. The lawmakers they helped re-elect included several Republican Senators who voted “no” on a 2015 amendment stating climate change is real and caused by humans.

This is especially notable considering Microsoft frequently promotes itself as a warrior for climate justice. Journalists often hail the company as a climate change “leader” with “astonishing” goals. 

HEATED sent several requests to Microsoft asking how the company defends its contributions to climate deniers now that it has disavowed contributions to election deniers. We did not receive a response. But we have received comment from Microsoft before on this issue. The company’s past response is after the jump.

uring the 2020 election cycle, Microsoft spent at least $114,000 funding the elections of at least 11 climate-denying U.S. Senators. Donations include:

$25,000 to Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY)

Mitch McConnell is one of the biggest climate villains in America. He has given fossil fuel interests disproportionate power over U.S. elections; packed U.S. courts with anti-climate judges; and aggressively targeted climate legislation and regulation directly.

McConnell voted against the 2015 amendment stating climate change was real and human-caused. He continued to deny the science in an interview with Kentucky Sports Radio:

“What I have said repeatedly is I am not a scientist. But what I can tell you is, even if you thought that was important—and there are some scientists who do and some scientists who don’t—but even if you thought that was important, the United States doing this by itself is going to have zero impact … it’s not a yes or no question. I am not a scientist … There are different opinions among scientists.”

Microsoft gave McConnell $10,000 in direct contributions, $10,000 to the McConnell for Majority Leader Committee PAC, and $5,000 to McConnell’s Bluegrass Committee during the 2020 election cycle.

$12,500 to Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY)

“The climate is constantly changing. The role human activity plays is not known,” Barrasso told The Hill in 2014. Barrasso voted against the 2015 amendment stating climate change was real and human-caused. 

Barrasso is now leading the way on a more sophisticated type of climate denial, where he says climate change is human-caused, but denies that fossil fuels are the primary problem. 

Microsoft gave $10,000 to Barrasso’s Common Values PAC and $2,500 to Barrasso and Steve Daines’s (R-MT) Cowboy Victory Committee during the 2020 election cycle.

$10,000 to Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS)

Wicker is one of the most outspoken climate deniers in the Senate. In 2015, Mashable described him as the only senator “more skeptical of the reality of manmade global warming than Republican James Inhofe,” the Senator who tried to disprove the existence of climate change by bringing a snowball to the Senate floor. That’s because Wicker was the only Senators to vote “nay” on a 2015 amendment stating “climate change is real and not a hoax.” Mashable added:

Wicker has said on several occasions that there is no proven link between carbon dioxide, which is produced by burning fossil fuels such as coal and oil, and temperature changes. He has also repeatedly said that there has been no global warming in the last 15 to 17 years. All of these points have been shot down in the scientific literature, time and time again.

Wicker also voted against the 2015 amendment stating climate change was real and human-caused. He continues to deny climate science frequently.

More at Heated link. Do check out Emily Atkins work. I interviewed her for an upcoming video, so stay tuned for that as well.

One Response to “Microsoft Undercutting Urgency on Climate”

  1. J4Zonian Says:

    Or is Nadella wearing blue for the Army-Navy game?

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