Science

Why Is Microsoft Paying Climate Change Denialists?

So it turns out the Heartland Institute, a US think tank whose primary goal seems to be smearing the reputation of climate scientists, gets massive amounts of funding from corporate donors. So far, so predictable. But how did Microsoft end up giving it money?

The Guardian reports that Microsoft gave $59,908 to the Heartland Institute last year, as part of a scheme that provides free software licences to non-profit organisation. The software giant is unsurprisingly embarrassed by the connection, with a panicked-sounding spokesperson telling the paper:

Microsoft’s position on climate change remains unchanged. Microsoft believes climate change is a serious issue that demands immediate, worldwide attention and we are acting accordingly. We are pursuing strategies and taking actions that are consistent with a strong commitment to reducing our own impact as well as the impact of our products.

Scientists, unsurprisingly, aren’t impressed. University of Edinburgh senior lecture Dave Reay told the Science Media Centre:

If true, this confirms that the climate change denialist agenda is being pushed in a coordinated and very well-funded manner. The suggested involvement of Microsoft as a funder is especially shocking given the excellent work the Gates Foundation currently does in addressing the impacts of climate change in the developing world.

Indeed. Let’s hope Bill Gates gets Steve Ballmer to get very angry at someone very soon. [The Guardian]