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Google hosts fundraiser for climate change denying US senator

By Suzanne Goldenberg (The Guardian) - July 9, 2013

Google, which prides itself on building a “better web that is better for the environment”, is hosting a fundraiser for the most notorious climate change denier in Congress, it has emerged.

The lunch, at the company’s Washington office, will benefit the Oklahoma Republican Jim Inhofe, who has made a career of dismissing climate change as a “hoax” on the Senate floor.

Proceeds of the 11 July lunch, priced at $250 to $2,500, will also go to the national Republican Senatorial Committee.

It’s the second show of support from Google for the anti-climate cause in recent weeks.

Last month, the Washington Post reported that the internet company had donated $50,000 for a fundraising dinner for the ultra-conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute – topping the contributions even of the Koch oil billionaires.

The Competitive Enterprise Institute has launched multiple law suits aimed at trying to discredit the science behind climate change – accusing scientists of fraud. None have so far succeeded.

The CEI also specialises in filing open records requests, demanding universities turn over email correspondence of climate scientists with journalists.

Facebook also contributed $25,000 to the CEI dinner last month.

Google’s show of support for the leading climate contrarian in Congress was criticised by climate activists on Tuesday. “Google’s motto is ‘Don’t Be Evil’, but it is supporting one of the worst deniers of climate science in the world,” said the Climate Progress website, which first reported on the story.

Inhofe has spent more than a decade challenging the science behind climate change, and trying to stop Congress from acting on climate change. He has repeatedly dismissed climate change as a “hoax” or “hysteria”, and cited the benefits of global warming for the economy and the environment.

The campaign group Forecast the Facts launched a petition calling for Google’s chief executive officer, Larry Page, to cancel the fundraiser.

Google has been a corporate leader in fighting climate change. The company claims on its Google Green website to be creating “a better web that is better for the environment”by investing $1bn in renewable energy and making considerable savings in electricity use at its data centres.

The company and Inhofe’s office did not immediately respond to requests for comment.