By Alex Bowman, ODP Contributing Writer
New analysis from watchdog Accountable.US shows that Apple, Disney, Microsoft, and Amazon are backing business groups opposing landmark climate legislation, calling the sincerity of their climate and emissions into question. These corporate lobbying groups and organizations are mobilizing to oppose the Democrat-proposed $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation bill, which contains unprecedented measures to decrease emissions.
Why This Matters: Recent reports from international environmental groups have all come to the same conclusion: the world needs to work faster than previously thought to halt rising global temperatures. To do that, the world’s most influential companies must step up and work with governments to slash emissions. Still, companies that have made significant climate pledges are participating in extreme greenwashing, which could cost the world everything.
Behind the Scenes
The US Chamber of Commerce — whose board includes executives from corporations including United Airlines and Microsoft — has said it would “do everything we can to prevent this tax-raising, job-killing reconciliation bill from becoming law.” The board of the Business Roundtable includes Google and Alphabet Chief Executive Sundar Pichai, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy, and Apple CEO Tim Cook. The organization has said it is “deeply concerned” about the bill and its potential to increase taxes for the rich.
But these statements go against what many of these companies have claimed to stand for. Amazon, Disney, and Microsoft have all proposed their own goals for limiting contributions to climate change. For example, Amazon has created The Climate Pledge, aiming to hit net-zero carbon emissions by 2040 and meet the Paris Agreement benchmarks ten years early. Microsoft is one of the 100+ companies that have joined the pledge, committing to be “carbon negative” within a decade. Additionally, Disney is aiming to reach net zero by using “zero-carbon” energy for direct operations by 2030.
Amazon has even gone so far as to express support for the infrastructure bill and the climate aspects of the Build Back Better reconciliation bill. “Amazon believes both private and public sector leadership is required to tackle the global issue of climate change,” said an Amazon spokesperson. “That’s why we actively advocate for policies that promote clean energy, increase access to renewable electricity, and decarbonize the transportation system.”
Kyle Herrig, president of the watchdog group Accountable.US, is skeptical. “Major corporations love to tell us how committed they are to addressing the climate crisis and building a sustainable future,” he said. “But behind closed doors, they are funding the very industry trade groups that are fighting tooth and nail to stop the biggest climate change bill ever.”
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