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Google severs ties with conservative group over climate change stance

Google cuts ties with conservative American Legislative Exchange Council over climate change stand

Google is breaking ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, a prominent network of conservative state legislators that, among other projects, works to roll back laws that promote solar and wind power, the company's chairman said Monday.

The decision marks a major victory for a campaign by environmentalists, union activists and other liberal groups that have pushed companies to drop support for ALEC. Microsoft ended its ties to the group a few weeks ago.

“The consensus within the company was that that was some sort of mistake,” Google Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt said, referring to the initial decision to support ALEC.

“Everyone understands climate change is occurring, and the people who oppose it are really hurting our children and our grandchildren and making the world a much worse place," Schmidt said in an interview with National Public Radio’s Diane Rehm. "And so we should not be aligned with such people -- they're just, they're just literally lying.”

Sierra Club executive director Michael Brune welcomed Google's decision to end its ALEC membership. “We should not be electing climate deniers into office and we should not be supporting them in the marketplace,” he said. “I think maybe the left hand was not aware of what the right hand was doing.”

In a statement, Lisa Nelson, ALEC's chief executive, attributed Google’s move to “public pressure from left-leaning individuals and organizations who intentionally confuse free market policy perspectives for climate change denial.”

evan.halper@latimes.com

Follow me on Twitter for more on Silicon Valley's complicated politics: @evanhalper  

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