All three tech companies were sponsors of LibertyCon, the annual convention of the libertarian group Students for Liberty, which took place in Washington, DC. Google was a platinum sponsor, ponying up $25,000, and Facebook and Microsoft each contributed $10,000 as gold sponsors. The donations put the tech companies in the top tier of the event's backers. But the donations also put the firms in company with some of the event's other sponsors, which included three groups known for their work attacking climate change science and trying to undermine efforts to reduce carbon emissions.
Among the most notable was the CO2 Coalition, a group founded in 2015 to spread the "good news" about a greenhouse gas whose increase in the atmosphere is linked to potentially catastrophic climate change. The coalition is funded by conservative foundations that have backed other climate change denial efforts. These include the Mercer Family Foundation, which in recent years has donated hundreds of thousands of dollars to right-wing think tanks engaged in climate change denialism, and the Charles Koch Institute, the charitable arm of one of the brothers behind Koch Industries, the oil and gas behemoth.
In the LibertyCon exhibit hall, the CO2 Coalition handed out brochures that said its goal is to "explain how our lives and our planet Earth will be improved by additional atmospheric carbon dioxide." One brochure claimed that "more carbon dioxide will help everyone, including future generations of our families" and that the "recent increase in CO2 levels has had a measurable, positive effect on plant life," apparently because the greenhouse gas will make plants grow faster.
Google, Facebook, and Microsoft Sponsored a Conference That Promoted Climate Change Denial: