A number of US corporations are found backing or supporting lobbying groups that are fighting against the passage of a $3 trillion infrastructure bill and climate legislation, which contains unprecedented measures to combat climate change.
Executives from some of America’s biggest companies, including Amazon, Microsoft, Apple and Disney, have been linked to lobby and business groups actively fighting the passage of a landmark US legislation that contains crucial measures to combat climate change, according to a new analysis.
Despite very public pledges to join the fight against the climate crisis, including Amazon founder Jeff Bezos committing $1 billion to conservation efforts for the world’s most vulnerable natural habitats and promising net zero emission for the company by 2040, as well as Microsoft’s Bill Gates matching the amount towards the development of green technologies, these companies were found to be backing business groups that are attempting to sink the proposed $3.5 trillion infrastructure bill.
The damning report by watchdog group Accountable.US identified executives such as Tim Cook of Apple, Amazon CEO Andy Jassy and Sundar Pichai, who heads Google’s parent company Alphabet, are to be either behind or supporting lobbying groups fighting against the legislation. This includes the Business Roundtable, which has publicly said to be “deeply concerned” about the bill, citing increased taxes on the wealthy as one of the main objections.
The analysis also found executives from Disney, which promised to only use renewable energy within a decade from now, United Airlines, and Deloitte, to be involved with these business groups.
The massive budget bill proposed by the Democrats is the country’s first major attempt at climate legislation in more than a decade, and contains unprecedented measures to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Should it successfully pass, the bill would establish a system to phase out emissions from the US electricity system, and support country-wide adoption of electric vehicles.
The proposed measures would also work to meet President Joe Biden’s ambitious climate goals of slashing national emission by halve by 2030, and reaching 100% clean electricity by 2035, 40% of which to be sourced from solar power.
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“Major corporations love to tell us how committed they are to addressing the climate crisis and building a sustainable future, but behind closed doors, they are funding the very industry trade groups that are fighting tooth and nail to stop the biggest climate change bill ever,” said Kyle Herrig, president of watchdog group Accountable.US.
“Hiding behind these shady groups doesn’t just put our environment at risk – it puts these companies’ household names and reputations in serious jeopardy,” added Herrig.
According to The Guardian, none of the companies “rebuke the stance of the lobby groups they are part of and none said they would review their links to these groups.”
However, an Amazon spokesperson told NowThis reiterated the company’s support of the bill and that they have “made bold commitments to reduce our carbon emissions, and we continue to encourage other companies to join us. We support investments in the Infrastructure and Build Back Better bills to lower emissions in key sectors like energy and transportation, and we believe these investments will help advance America’s carbon reduction goals.
“We support an increase in the corporate tax rate to pay for things like infrastructure, and we look forward to Congress and the administration coming together to find the right, balanced solution that maintains or enhances U.S. competitiveness,” the spokesperson added.
All eyes are on the US climate bill ahead of the UN climate change summit COP26 in November in Glasgow. World leaders look to the US, which is the second highest carbon emitting country on the planet, to lead the way in its climate action and to achieve Paris Agreement targets.
The legislation has not had the easiest path making its way through Congress. There’s been near unanimous opposition for the bill by Republicans, and is currently being held up by two senators, including West Virginia’s Joe Manchin, a centrist Democrat who represents a state that is home to many companies from the coal industry. President Biden requires every Senate Democrats’ support of the bill in order for it to pass.
Featured image by: Pxfuel