If you Google the word “hypocrite,” you probably won’t get pictures of Google executives, or links to disturbing stories about the company’s obnoxious and creepy behavior – but that’s what should show up in the search engine’s results.
Wealthy liberal ideologues have long cornered the market on environmental hypocrisy – think of Al Gore’s personal energy consumption, which I exposed six years ago – but Google’s principals have taken “good for thee, but not for me” to new heights.
This Jan. 3, 2013, file photo shows a Google sign at the company's headquarters in Mountain View, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez, File)
While touting green technology, and lobbying the federal government on environmental policy, Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt have put 3.4 million miles on their private jets in recent years, polluting the atmosphere with 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide. Their trips, according to flight log data I analyzed, included single-day jaunts and brief corporate meetings, but also what appear to be hundreds of exotic vacation destinations.
Perhaps someone should introduce them to Google Hangouts?
Few Americans would care that a successful tech company with substantial travel demands and nearly $60 billion in revenue over the past year maintains a fleet of private jets that guzzle fuel by the millions of gallons. But Google uses campaign contributions to strong-arm federal lawmakers into hamstringing everyone else with restrictive environmental regulations, while Google execs cavalierly jet off to exotic vacation spots around the globe on the taxpayers’ dime.
[sharequote align="center"]Perhaps someone should introduce them to Google Hangouts?[/sharequote]
Google has been a leading proponent of encouraging the federal government to, as the company says, “put a price on carbon through cap-and-trade or a carbon tax.” Through its “Google green” initiative, as well as its “Clean Energy 2030” proposal, Google has urged the U.S. to shutter coal plants, and dictated what types of cars Americans should drive. The search engine and online advertising powerhouse also believes the federal government should take more dollars from America’s taxpayers to fund unproven gambles in President Obama’s fictitious “green energy economy.”
Cap-and-trade and carbon tax schemes are relatively harmless to tech companies like Google, but would ravage America’s manufacturing sector. Job losses and the resulting spike in the cost of consumer goods associated with restricting carbon dioxide emissions may not be a concern to bigwigs at Google, but they would devastate huge numbers of American families. We know all too well in the Obama stimulus era that ideological projects like Solyndra are losers with zeroes on the end, but Google still receives up-twinkles when it joins the Kumbaya drum circle – something it’s happy to do to maintain its hip appearance among millennials.
Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google, makes a call on still to be released Google produced Moto X phone during the Allen & Co. annual conference on July 11, 2013 in Sun Valley, Idaho. Credit: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images
When a company attempts to manipulate the government into using environmental policies to determine what types of cars Americans can drive, what kinds of jobs Americans can have and how taxpayers’ hard-earned dollars are spent, it should at least be unerring in its commitment to the environment. But Google isn’t – not by a long shot.
Through H211 LLC, a shell company controlled by Google’s Sergey Brin, Larry Page, and Eric Schmidt, the “NSA’s leading vendor” maintains a hangar of fuel-devouring private jets. In total, according to flight data I analyzed, Google executives have flown more than 3.4 million miles, burning an average of 100,000 gallons of fuel every month in recent years.
All that jet fuel comes from refined crude oil – lots of it. Google’s planes burned through nearly 59 million barrels of crude since 2007, much of it gallivanting to elite playgrounds and exotic destinations (almost 300 flights by my count) like Nantucket, Aspen, Costa Rica, St. Maarten, Hawaii, and Bermuda, and even obscure island paradises like Babelthuap, Tortola and Tahiti. Astonishingly, the amount of crude used to fuel Google’s planes could provide all the gasoline used by 11,500 American drivers for a whole year. The supposedly environmentally conscious company’s jets have emitted more than 100 million pounds of carbon dioxide over the last four years alone.
In this Sept. 4, 2013 photo, US Airways jets are seen at gates in the north runway complex at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). (AP Photo/Reed Saxon)
Google has snagged a few favors from Uncle Sam to lower the cost of maintaining its jet fleet along the way, too.
Since 2007, the private airplane fleet owned by Google execs has been housed in a hangar at NASA’s Ames Research Center just outside Google’s Mountain View, Calif. headquarters. The taxpayer-funded hangars are intended for aircraft performing scientific research to assist NASA, but it appears that Google’s jets perform very little actual scientific research (unless calculating the circumference of Mai Tai umbrellas on the beaches of Babelthuap somehow qualifies).
In addition to the publicly subsidized hangar space, Google received another money saving perk courtesy of U.S. taxpayers: Millions of dollars’ worth of jet fuel at below-market prices from NASA and the Department of Defense. Google officials spent an estimated $29 million on jet fuel at the facility, roughly $10 million less than what they would have paid on the open market.
Perhaps that explains why Google execs have flown to the nation’s capital more than 100 times in the past 6 years?
It should come as no surprise that the Google executives who benefited from government-owned hangar space and federally subsidized jet fuel also happen to be among the largest contributors to political campaigns in the United States. The company itself routinely ranks among the top-10 organizations for federal campaign contributions. Google's PAC, along with its executives, employees, and those individuals' immediate family members, contributes hundreds of thousands of dollars each election cycle. In 2008 alone, Google PAC gave $817,855 to President Obama's campaign; in 2012, Google PAC nearly matched its previous total, giving $801,770.
By pushing strict “climate change” policy on everyone else, while polluting up a storm themselves, Google reaches levels of hypocrisy not seen since I uncovered the inconvenient truth about frenzied environmentalist Al Gore, who devours about 20 times more electricity in his mansion than the average American family uses in their home over the course of a year. If Google’s “good for thee but not for me” attitude about going green seems like a page out of Gore’s playbook, it should: the company has had plenty of time to learn directly from the discredited environmental prophet, whom they have paid handsomely to serve as a “senior adviser” since 2001.
Behind Google’s self-congratulatory declarations of environmental purity lies a dark reality. At the same time Google encourages government to limit carbon emissions for the rest of the American economy, company VIPs are zipping comfortably through the skies, polluting their way to the exotic playgrounds of the rich and famous – with much of that travel subsidized by the American taxpayer. Since 2000, the phrase “Don’t be evil” has served as Google’s unofficial corporate motto. Given their corporatist polluting while urging the rest of us hoi polloi to green up, they might consider changing the motto to “Don’t be hypocrites.”
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