I have had it with the shakedown by environmental lobbyists of the high-tech industry. The final straw: a report by Climate Counts which tars Valley companies such as Apple, Ebay and Google. They haven't done enough to fight global warming, lectures the environmental non-profit. Apple, which has become a particular focus for groups such as Greenpeace, gets just 2 out of 100 on the Climate Counts' scorecard. "Notably, a reputation for product and marketing innovation does not necessarily correlate with a company's leadership on climate action or climate reporting," write the pompous environmentalists. That's absurd.
To ignore the wider benefits of the digital revolution is obtuse. Here's the fundamental truth: the more human activity is pursued online, the less the environmental footprint. Apple's pioneering of desktop publishing did away with much of the filthy print industry; its easy video-conferencing will make some business trips unnecessary; Ebay's person-to-person marketplace bypasses cumbersome retail logistics; and Google is replacing inefficient physical libraries and filing systems across the world. Frankly, if a few computers end up in dumps, rather than recycled: so what.
I can understand why it would be convenient to go after Apple. Steve Jobs computer maker is more easily pressured than most companies, because of its pristine brand, and because so many of its customers are environmentally conscious. Al Gore, the planet's foremost defender, is on the board. Apple makes things, which are messy. And, given the holy war against climate change, and the political correctness that stifles critical thinking, the company can't defend itself.
The green lobby may choose to target high-tech companies rather than, say, the oil, coal or auto industries. The ex-hippies in charge of Silicon Valley companies are easy targets. But any victory, in converting them to the cause, will be purely symbolic, useful for fund-raising, maybe, but ultimately meaningless. This campaign against Apple is, at best, moral blackmail and, at worst, a cynical shakedown. Shame on them.