Google Workers Demand Company Cut Contracts With Oil Industry

More than 1,100 employees at Google are calling on the tech giant to help stop global warming by canceling contracts with the oil and gas industry.

On Monday, the employees published an open letter(Opens in a new window) to Google’s chief financial officer, Ruth Porat, demanding the company create a stronger plan to address climate change.

“Google is a global company with billions of users across the world, many of whom are already bearing the brunt of climate disaster,” reads the letter, which contains many of the employees’ full names. “As Google workers, we are committed to putting our users first, and Google must do the same.”

The company is currently offering cloud computing services to oil-related companies such as Chevron, Schlumberger, and Total SA. The technologies include using AI-powered algorithms to help the companies identify(Opens in a new window) new oil extraction sites. But the 1,100 Google workers say any work that enables fossil fuel extraction must stop.

Monday’s letter is also demanding Google stop funding “climate-denying” think tanks, lobbyists, and politicians. Last month, The Guardian pointed(Opens in a new window) out that the company has been funding conservative trade groups that’ve been questioning the science on climate change and also oppose the Paris Climate Agreement. (Google said it was funding the groups to advocate for technology, but disagreed with their stance on climate change.)

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Other demands from the letter include Google generating zero carbon emissions by 2030 and stopping all collaborations involving the “incarceration, surveillance, displacement, or oppression” of refugees.

Google’s parent company, Alphabet, currently employs 114,000 workers. So far, Google has declined to comment on the letter. However, the company’s CFO published a blog post(Opens in a new window) last month about the company’s efforts to achieve environmental sustainability. The work has involved using wind and solar energy to power more of the company’s offices and data centers. However, at this point, carbon emissions at the company have remained flat: not increasing, but not decreasing either.

Monday’s letter follows employee efforts at Amazon that have also called on the company to phase out fossil fuel use, and cut all cloud computing contracts with the oil and gas industry. Amid the pressure, Amazon recently announced it would buy 100,000 electric-powered delivery vehicles and try to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2040. However, the company has refrained from cutting the cloud computing contracts.

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