A previous version of this report incorrectly attributed to Google a new approach to climate-change policy that the company had not undertaken. A third party, posing as Google, made the announcement.
MarketWatch and other technology and investing sites misreported earlier Wednesday that Google parent Alphabet would cut ties with lobbyists and think tanks that deny accelerating man-made climate change.
The search giant /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL +0.68% /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +0.72% also reportedly had announced plans to cut ties with fossil-fuel sources. Except it did not make that announcement.
The posting was a prank put out by the New York City arm of a climate protest group, which has called out Google’s practices before.
News sites generally believed that, amid the coronavirus pandemic, April Fools Day parody releases, for which media outlets are on alert at this time of year, would be rare or nonexistent this year given the rising U.S. death toll. At the same time, attention remains fixed on technology firms and their sustainability efforts after Microsoft /zigman2/quotes/207732364/composite MSFT -0.45% and others have announced zero- or net-positive carbon emissions and other initiatives.
Still, MarketWatch should have given more scrutiny than usual to any release of this nature, no matter its apparent seriousness. Such coverage is not fair to readers who are trying to discern the science-based facts on both coronavirus and the long-run effects of climate change. We can all be more responsible.
Late last year, more than 1,000 Google workers signed a public letter calling on their employer to commit to an aggressive “company-wide climate plan” that includes canceling contracts with the fossil fuel industry and halting its donations to climate-change deniers, including those in Wednesday’s protest release. That letter had urged neutral emissions by 2030.
Google does also use some renewable energy, announcing in 2018 that it purchases more renewable energy than it consumes as a company.
Alphabet shares are down 17% in the year to date and are down nearly 9% over the past year. The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.44% is down 23% in 2020 and is down 14% over the past year.