Science

Google scientists to their boss: Stop supporting this climate change-denying senator

Above: Google chief Eric Schmidt.

Image Credit: Jolie O'Dell

In an open letter to Google CEO Eric Schmidt, 17 Google Science Communication Fellows expressed their deep frustration with the company’s choice of political candidates to back.

The search/mobile/everything company has been throwing its support behind Oklahoma Sen. James Inhofe (R), who is seeking reelection next year and who has called climate change science “a hoax on the American people.”

Google sponsored a fundraiser for Oklahoma’s senior senator on July 11. The luncheon cost attendees and supporters between $250 and $2,500 per seat, according to multiple sources.

The professors and research fellows who wrote the letter said that when they confronted the company about the cognitive dissonance, a Google spokesperson responded, “While we disagree on climate change policy, we share an interest with Senator Inhofe in the employees and data center we have in Oklahoma.”

Google’s wind-powered data center in Mayes County, Okla., amounts to a $700 million investment. The facility employs about 100 people. Google’s official reasoning for choosing the location is, according to the data center’s page, “Mayes County has the right combination of energy infrastructure, developable land, and available workforce for the data center.”

Of course, as with almost all data center projects, tax incentives are involved. The Mayes County data center project was first announced in 2008; Inhofe has been in office since 1994 and undoubtedly was involved in courting Google to build in Oklahoma.

The senator has stated he feels God is what drives climate change rather than human activities.

Early last year, his book was published: The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future.

In response to the company’s support of Inhofe, online activists are circulating a petition that they plan to deliver in person at the company’s Mountain View, Calif., headquarters.