CLOUD CONTRACTS WITH OIL FIRMS, LOBBYIST FUNDING AND OPPRESSIVE SURVEILLANCE
1,137 Google workers and still counting, have signed an open letter which calls on Google to commit to, and release a company-wide climate plan.
As announced, this is a collective response to the gravity and urgency of the global climate crisis and its disproportionate harm to marginalized people. To these ends, the workers made the following demands in their letter to Google, stating that the company should incorporate:
- Zero emissions by 2030.
- Zero contracts to enable or accelerate the extraction of fossil fuels.
- Zero funding for climate-denying or -delaying think tanks, lobbyists, and politicians.
- Zero collaboration with entities enabling the incarceration, surveillance, displacement, or oppression of refugees or frontline communities.
Google may have survived direct criticism during the September global climate strike by tech employees with the timely announcement of its biggest corporate purchase of renewable energy in history, a 1,600MW package of agreements which includes 18 new energy deals to power its facilities.
It is however pointed out that reducing initial emissions, rather than offsetting existing emissions, is a far more sustainable approach. This is backed by Google workers’ reference to an extensive ProPublica piece on the dangers and downsides of carbon credits.
Currently, Google Cloud is known to be working with Schlumberger, Chevron Corp and Total SA. The tech giant previously announced a joint venture with Aramco, a Saudi oil giant, but it is not certain if the partnership will still go on, due to the Saudi-sanctioned murder of Jamal Khashoggi.
While Google employees have become increasingly active in its outrage against such contracts or deals, the company’s leadership was accused last month of developing an internal surveillance tool that will be used to monitor workers’ attempts to organize protests and discuss labor rights.
The tool which is installed on the custom Google Chrome browser of all workers, would automatically report those who create a calendar event with more than 10 rooms or 100 participants.
This is not the first experience for tech giants, as such demands have been set by other workers across the tech industry, including Amazon and Microsoft.