Looking to beef up his company's environmental cred, Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Tuesday that President Obama’s EPA director, Lisa Jackson, will be joining the company as its new VP for environmental initiatives.
"This isn’t very surprising on one level," writes the Washington Examiner's Tim Carney, "people with top government positions in renewable energy tend to cash out to industry."
In the past, Carney has written about how Apple's so-called "green" initiatives have had more to do with brand appeal than care for Mother Earth:
The Apple clientele is not homogenous -- it’s got a few different species of hip. But watch closely the current iPad commercial and you’ll see Apple’s beau ideal: a New York Times reader who goes kayaking, buys Ted Kennedy’s memoirs, and visits Paris. OK, there’s also nerd stuff in there — “Star Trek” and “Dawn of the Dead” — but the urban, hip, cosmopolitan is a huge target audience for this device, which helps explain Apple’s effort to green itself.
But the greening of Apple has been a matter less of reducing a carbon footprint than of increasing a lobbying footprint.
In the modern Church of Environmentalism, a company is justified not through its works, but through its lobbying efforts. It’s pretty simple in the eyes of the media opinion makers: You’re bad if you oppose cap-and-trade schemes that purportedly cut greenhouse gas emissions and thus slow global warming. You’re good if you support such policies.
While Apple is happy to lobby for energy constraints and carbon caps in the U.S., laboring under them is another question entirely. You do know your iPad was made in China, right?
Carney has more on Apple's hollow environmental initiatives here.