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Big Tech Helps Big Oil Pump More, Belying Climate Pledges

Microsoft and Amazon say they’re accelerating a transition to a greener future, but critics argue they’re helping prolong the fossil-fuel age.

Oil pump jack.

Oil pump jack.

Photographer: Ian Tuttle/Bloomberg
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It’s been a blockbuster summer for Big Oil. Exxon Mobil Corp. and Chevron Corp. posted record profits thanks to surging energy prices. The new US climate bill includes concessions to oil and gas companies.

There are other, quieter beneficiaries: Microsoft Corp., Amazon.com Inc. and the other cloud-services companies that are increasingly responsible for the computing horsepower behind the oil giants’ efforts to find and extract more oil and natural gas.