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U.S. Reps. Pingree, Ocasio-Cortez Question Tech CEOs on Sponsorship of Conference Promoting Climate Change Denial

Washington, DC, January 28, 2019
Today Representatives Chellie Pingree (D-ME) and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) wrote to the CEOs of Google, Microsoft and Facebook to question their companies’ high-profile sponsorship of a conference promoting climate change denial. At the recent LibertyCon conference, the three companies were listed among sponsors that also included the CO2 Coalition, Heartland Institute, and Heritage Foundation—groups that have spread misinformation to try to discredit legitimate climate change science or argue that carbon emissions benefit society.  
“As Members of the House of Representatives, we have already begun our individual, committee, and caucus efforts to make this issue a top priority in the 116th Congress.  That is why we were deeply disappointed to see that your companies were high-level sponsors of a conference this month in Washington D.C., known as LibertyCon, that included a session denying established science on climate change,” the lawmakers wrote. “The past commitments of your companies to address climate change have been well documented. … Disappointingly, though, the example you have set promoting sustainability and evidence-based science is compromised by your implicit support of the session organized at LibertyCon.”
Representative Ocasio-Cortez has called for a Green New Deal to quickly adopt clean energy and radically cut carbon emissions—a plan that Pingree, a longtime leader on climate change in Congress, has vocally supported.
Full text of the letter is below and a scanned copy is here. 
January 24, 2019
Sundar Pichai
CEO
Google
1600 Amphitheater Parkway 
Mountain View, CA 94043
Satya Nadella
CEO
Microsoft 
1 Microsoft Way
Redmond, WA 98052
Mark Zuckerberg
CEO
Facebook, Inc.
1 Hacker Way
Menlo Park, CA 94025
Dear Mr. Nadella, Mr. Zuckerberg and Mr. Pichai,
We are writing to you today in light of the important role that your companies play as we prepare to take comprehensive action on climate change. As Members of the House of Representatives, we have already begun  our individual, committee, and caucus efforts to make this issue a top priority in the 116th Congress.  That is why we were deeply disappointed to see that your companies were high-level sponsors of a conference this month in Washington D.C., known as LibertyCon, that included a session denying established science on climate change.
The past commitments of your companies to address climate change have been well documented. We are encouraged that each of you have pledged to reduce your carbon footprint and have committed other efforts like pursuing renewable energy. We need more of this commitment from corporate America. Disappointingly, though, the example you have set promoting sustainability and evidence-based science is compromised by your implicit support of the session organized at LibertyCon.
We understand that sponsorship of an event or conference is a common occurrence and that these sponsorships do not automatically indicate that the company endorses the variety of political viewpoints that may be presented at these events. However, 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.
As you are well aware, the spreading of misinformation can be dangerous to our society. 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. We must be resolute against granting this campaign any credibility, whether intentional or otherwise.
We look forward to hearing from you in the hope that we can continue to count on you as allies in the fight for a more sustainable future.
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