Any effort to curb global greenhouse gas emissions and stave off catastrophic warming is doomed to fail unless far more is done to address the “foundational” role Big Tech companies now play in exacerbating the climate crisis. That’s the conclusion of a new report released last week by the international environmental nonprofit Global Action Plan.
From amplifying conspiracy theories and misinformation to their increasingly massive energy footprint, the world’s biggest tech companies aren’t only making global warming worse, the report said, but pose “a systemic digital roadblock to effective climate action” by driving unsustainable consumerism, increasing political division and pushing society further away from democracy.
“Big Tech billionaires are the oil barons of the 21st century and their impact on climate change is no less destructive,” Susie Alegre, the report’s author and a longtime human rights attorney, said in a press release. “This paper should serve as a wake-up call to the climate movement.”
It’s certainly not the first time Big Tech has been thrust into the spotlight over its climate impacts. Just five companies—Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Apple and Meta—use as much electricity as the entire country of New Zealand, according to reporting from the Financial Times. And research shows that climate disinformation continues to flourish on the biggest social media platforms, including Twitter and TikTok, which experts say makes finding global consensus on climate policy a nearly impossible task. [Continue reading…]