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Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

2020's first battle between Big Tech and climate activists is already here, and it won't be the last.

Driving the news: Amazon Employees for Climate Justice (AECJ) yesterday alleged management is trying to prevent employees from continuing to publicly criticize corporate policies.

  • The group says two employees were threatened with termination and "a total of four were told in meetings that they were in violation of the company’s policies on workers speaking to the press and on social media," Bloomberg reports.

Why it matters: This is more than an HR dispute. It shows how advocates are increasingly targeting tech giants to act more aggressively — even as Amazon, Google, Microsoft and others have made various commitments and stepped up renewables purchases.

What's next: AECJ's announcement of the allegations shows that more battles await. It looks critically at pledges Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos unveiled in September.

  • While AECJ called them a victory, they want the company's 2040 pledge of net-zero emissions sped up to 2030.
  • They also criticize Amazon Web Services' work with oil companies.

The big picture: Activists are focusing on tech giants for several reasons.

  • Data centers consume immense amounts of electricity.
  • Amazon uses fossil fuels to deliver billions of packages.
  • Companies including Microsoft and Amazon have cloud computing and other business lines tailored to oil-and-gas sector clients.

Why you'll hear about this again: The political environment is ripe. White House hopeful Bernie Sanders has criticized tech companies over their work with the oil sector.

  • And there's a lot of attention right now on corporate policies as the Trump administration has scaled back federal emissions rules.

The other side: An Amazon spokesperson told Axios and other outlets, "Our policy regarding external communications is not new and we believe is similar to other large companies."

Go deeper:

Go deeper

Tech scrambles to derail inauguration threats

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Tech companies are sharing more information with law enforcement in a frantic effort to prevent violence around the inauguration, after the government was caught flat-footed by the Capitol siege.

Between the lines: Tech knows it will be held accountable for any further violence that turns out to have been planned online if it doesn't act to stop it.

Dave Lawler, author of World
2 hours ago - World

Uganda's election: Museveni declared winner, Wine claims fraud

Wine rejected the official results of the election. Photo: Sumy Sadruni/AFP via Getty

Yoweri Museveni was declared the winner of a sixth presidential term on Saturday, with official results giving him 59% to 35% for Bobi Wine, the singer-turned-opposition leader.

Why it matters: This announcement was predictable, as the election was neither free nor fair and Museveni had no intention of surrendering power after 35 years. But Wine — who posed a strong challenged to Museveni, particularly in urban areas, and was beaten and arrested during the campaign — has said he will present evidence of fraud. The big question is whether he will mobilize mass resistance in the streets.

Off the Rails

Episode 1: A premeditated lie lit the fire

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

Beginning on election night 2020 and continuing through his final days in office, Donald Trump unraveled and dragged America with him, to the point that his followers sacked the U.S. Capitol with two weeks left in his term. Axios takes you inside the collapse of a president with a special series.

Episode 1: Trump’s refusal to believe the election results was premeditated. He had heard about the “red mirage” — the likelihood that early vote counts would tip more Republican than the final tallies — and he decided to exploit it.

"Jared, you call the Murdochs! Jason, you call Sammon and Hemmer!”