"We should not be aligned with such people. They are just literally lying."
That's what Google Chairman Eric Schmidt said in a recent interview with NPR's Diane Rehm about the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), an infamous corporate lobbying group that pushes an agenda that denies the realities of climate change.
It's worth noting that Public Citizen recently had obtained information revealing that Google's Senior Energy Policy Counsel participated in ALEC meetings as recently as July -- meetings whose agenda included opposing carbon regulations and expanding natural gas exports.
Public Citizen's Tyson Slocum, director our Energy Program, questioned the Google counsel, Mike Terrell, via Twitter for details about Google's involvement with ALEC. Terrell did not respond.
Bravo to Schmidt for withdrawing Google's membership over ALEC's climate denialist agenda.
To be consistent, Google also should stop supporting the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
Schmidt also said, "The company has a very strong view that we should make decisions in politics based on facts." The facts show that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce has acted as a powerful retrograde force in the politics of climate change. The Chamber advocates for policies that benefit some of the dirtiest energy companies in the world, and is fiercely opposing efforts to limit carbon pollution from dirty power plants.
In 2009, the Chamber even called for putting "the science of climate change on trial."
And the Chamber doesn't just lobby -- it also acts as a conduit for corporate dark money, spending millions of dollars distorting our elections with misleading campaign ads, much of it to elect politicians who block action on climate change.
A number of prominent companies, including Apple, have already left the Chamber over its climate change positions.
Schmidt told Diane Rehm: "Everyone understands climate change is occurring, and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place."
Schmidt was right to call Google's membership in ALEC a mistake.
Meanwhile, action to thwart catastrophic climate change is becoming increasingly urgent, and the U.S. Chamber's corporate campaigns to preserve the fossil fuel industry's unsustainable status quo are growing in intensity.
At the Q & A session during Google's annual shareholder meeting in May, Public Citizen's Sam Jewler and 100 activists called on Google's executives, including Schmidt, to disclose the company's lobbying and political spending, and to withdraw from dark money conduits, including ALEC and the Chamber.
Now that Google has left ALEC, it's the perfect opportunity for urging Schmidt to fix another mistake.