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Google Exec: Climate Change Deniers Are “Just Literally Lying”

By Phil Plait

Well, how about that? In an interview on NPR’s the Diane Rehm Show, Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt comes right out and says that climate change deniers are “literally just lying.”

You can listen for yourself (it starts at the 48:30 mark), and Forecast the Facts has the transcript.

When asked why Google funds the American Legislative Exchange Council—a conservative/libertarian group that supports all sorts of horrid ideas, and in this case specifically climate change denial—Schmidt said that Google first supported them for unrelated political issues. But it became clear they could no longer do so:

I think the consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake and so we're trying to not do that in the future.
Well, the company has a very strong view that we should make decisions in politics based on facts—[ sarcastically] what a shock. And the facts of climate change are not in question anymore. 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. And so we should not be aligned with such people—they're just, they're just literally lying.

(Emphasis mine.)

Wow. I’ve known about Google funding ALEC for some time, and I’ve been conflicted about it. When companies give money to other groups, they do so knowing that not everything that group does aligns with what the company wants. In this case, though, I’m very glad to see Google pulling out from ALEC.

I suspect ALEC won’t be that hard off, though: They still get plenty of cash from the Koch brothers.

Another such case of Google dancing with the devil is in the form of Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma, probably the loudest and most ludicrous global warming denier in the Senate. Google held a fundraising campaign for Inhofe, which doesn’t really surprise me; again, sometimes as a company you have to make decisions like that.

I can hope, though, that after parting ways with ALEC, they can do so with Inhofe, and other head-in-the-sand politicians when it comes to the current and ongoing global warming crisis. Forecast the Facts points out that Google has funded deniers like Inhofe to the tune of nearly $700,000 since 2008.

Perhaps more public awareness will help Google see this is not a great idea.

By the way, Inhofe called human-generated global warming “the second largest greatest hoax ever played on the American people, after the separation of church and state,” a statement that makes my eyes roll back so far in my head that I can see the back of my skull. In case your irony gland is still intact, I’ll remind you that Inhofe did, for some time, chair the Senate Environmental and Public Works Committee. If Republicans win the Senate in November, he may very well do so again.

The U.S. midterm election for Senate and Congress is in six weeks. When going to the polls, keep Inhofe and his ilk in mind—kick him and the rest of the reality-stomping politicians to the curb.

Tip o’ the thermometer to Juliet Eilperin on Twitter.

Correction, Sept. 23, 2014: The title of this article originally referred to Schmidt as Google CEO.

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