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Amazon, Apple, Microsoft & Co. support lobby against US climate protection law

Big technology and media companies in the US promise to fight the climate crisis. But they belong to lobby groups that demand the opposite.

Leading US companies like Amazon, Apple, Disney, and Microsoft support lobby organizations that are spending millions of dollars to undermine the draft for a far-reaching US climate protection law. This emerges from a report that the civil society organization Accountable.us published on Friday. The corporations and their bosses themselves like to claim, however, that they are at the forefront of the fight against climate change with goals for more sustainability and CO 2 reduction.

Accusation of hypocrisy

Accountable.us, therefore, accuses over 50 large companies of hypocrisy. They are active members of lobby institutions that have announced massive opposition to the budget package promoted by President Joe Biden and the Democrats in the US Congress with expenditures amounting to around 3.5 trillion US dollars. According to observers, this is the “greatest law against climate change to date”. It includes, for example, a $ 150 billion renewable energy program that would facilitate the transition from utilities to wind, solar, and hydropower. However, nuclear power should also be promoted, which is controversial in the EU.

The authors of the analysis refer to the US Chamber of Commerce’s oath to “do everything we can to prevent this law, which increases taxes and destroys jobs”, from being passed. The association’s board of directors includes executives from companies such as Microsoft, Intuit, United Airlines, Delta and Deloitte, all of whom have expressed concern about climate change and have announced that they will take countermeasures.

Lobbyists: Biden Agenda “overturned in every possible way”

Another economic alliance, the Business Roundtable, has expressed “deep concern” about the package known as the “Reconciliation Act” as it would, among other things, raise taxes on the rich. The organization includes CEOs such as Apple’s Tim Cook, who has called for governments and companies to take stronger measures to combat the climate crisis. Other members include Andy Jassy, ​​the new boss of Amazon, Sundar Pichai, CEO of Google parent company Alphabet, and Darren Woods, boss of the oil giant Exxon.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) group, which includes Bayer, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson, has placed ads attacking the bill, according to the investigation. The Rate Coalition, which includes AT&T, Disney, FedEx, UPS and Verizon among its members, is also planning an advertising campaign to prevent the coronavirus recovery initiative. The declared aim of the National Association of Manufacturers, in which Dow, Goodyear and SchneiderElectric are involved, is to overturn the Biden agenda “in every possible way”.

No comment from those involved

The Guardian has asked a number of the above-mentioned companies to comment. According to the newspaper, none of them wanted to criticize the attitudes of the respective lobby groups to which they belong. No member had declared that the links to these lobby associations would be checked.

This is in contrast to public commitments to protect the climate. Jeff Bezos, who is one of the richest people in the world, officially considers the climate crisis to be the “greatest threat to our planet”. The retail giant Amazon he founded has pledged to reduce its emissions to zero by 2040 and to become climate neutral. Microsoft has promised to be “carbon negative” in a decade. Disney plans to only use electricity from renewable energy sources within the same period.

US Democrats divided over Biden’s climate ambitions

Kyle Herrig, President of Accountable.us, complained that the companies were hiding behind “shady groups” and funded the opposition to the legislative package behind closed doors. In doing so, they not only endanger the environment massively, but also their own reputation.

Biden’s and the Democrats’ project is currently at a critical point. The opposition Republicans are unanimously opposed to it. There are also dissenters in their own ranks, such as Senator Joe Manchin, who thinks the draft is nonsensical and wants to maintain the existing subsidies for coal, oil and gas. Biden’s climate ambitions suffered a setback in the summer. With an initial infrastructure package , the president had to make a compromise because the Republicans did not like the climate protection measures it contained. Now the second basket should fix it. However, this does not go far enough either for environmental organizations and scientists.

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