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Unlike Facebook and Google, Microsoft has escaped scrutiny by politicians and governments over the last 6 to 12 months, but it appears that is about to change, as the company, along with fellow tech giants Facebook and Google, are at the receiving end of a scolding by Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rep. Chellie Pingree for sponsoring a youth event in Washington last week.
The politicians complained LibertyCon, a student libertarian conference, included sessions which featured a talk promoting climate change denial.
The talk titled “Let’s Talk About Not Talking: Should There Be ‘No Debate’ that Industrial Carbon Dioxide is Causing Climate Catastrophe?” and also reported had brochures being handed out on the benefits of greenhouse gases by a group called CO2 Coalition.
In their letter the congresswomen complained:
“The example you have set promoting sustainability and evidence-based science is compromised by your implicit support of the session organized at LibertyCon.”
“Given the magnitude and urgency of the climate crisis that we are now facing, we find it imperative to ensure that the climate-related views espoused at LibertyCon do not reflect the values of your companies going forward.”
“Today’s coordinated campaign to deny climate change, or to put a positive spin on its effects, is not unlike that of the tobacco companies which once sought to discredit their product’s link to cancer. Their propaganda kept the nation from addressing a public health crisis for years, leading to many preventable deaths. We cannot afford to make the same mistake again with climate change.”
Microsoft, who is close to powering all their operations with renewable energy, denied the talk presented their views, saying their “commitment to sustainability is not altered or affected by our membership or sponsorship of an organization.”
Attacking sponsors and advertisers have been a highly successful recent tactic by activists, as it hits politically active organizations where it hurts, in their pocketbooks, resulting in successful “de-platforming” of controversial figures. It seems likely Microsoft will be examining the agenda of the next conference they sponsor much more closely in the future.