Rep. Ocasio-Cortez calls out big tech on climate change controversy

The newly minted social media star congresswoman is wasting no time in tearing into tech companies.

In a recent letter, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez joined Maine representative Chellie Pingree in calling out tech companies for supporting an event they believe to be inconsistent with big tech’s ostensibly climate-friendly attitude. Ocasio-Cortez is a noted champion of a Democratic package of sweeping environmental reforms called the Green New Deal — a term we can expect to hear a lot more leading into 2020.

The letter, addressed to Microsoft’s Satya Nadella, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Google’s Sundar Pichai, expresses that the representatives were “deeply disappointed” to see that these companies sponsored a recent D.C. conference that featured a talk “denying established science on climate change” at a recent libertarian conference called LibertyCon.

LibertyCon appears to have hosted at least one group on the wrong side of the scientific consensus around climate change. That group, the CO2 Coalition, reportedly promoted the “good news” about carbon emissions with handouts promoting the supposed positive effects of the noxious gases on agriculture. A member of the group, Caleb Rossiter, spoke on a panel titled “Let’s Talk About Not Talking: Should There Be ‘No Debate’ that Industrial Carbon Dioxide is Causing Climate Catastrophe?”

As the letter reads:

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 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… We cannot afford to make the same mistake again with climate change.

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.

As Mother Jones reported, Google contributed something in the ballpark of $25,000 for the event, with Facebook and Microsoft chipping in around $10,000 each.