Science museum

Dozens of Academics Avoid Science Museum Due to Fossil Fuel Ties | Fossil fuels

More than 40 top academics and scientists have vowed not to work with the Science Museum as the feud over its financial dealings with fossil fuel companies escalates.

In an open letter, prominent figures, including a former president of the UN climate body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and several leading scientists, many of whom have worked working closely with the museum in the past, say they are “deeply concerned” about its fossil fuel sponsorship arrangements and sever ties with the museum until a moratorium is announced.

“We are in a climate crisis and should not do anything to legitimize the companies which continue to increase their emissions by exploring and extracting new sources of fossil fuels when the science is clear that we must leave them in the ground”, the letter indicates.

This is the latest blow to the museum, which has faced several resignations and growing protests over its relationship with Shell and a recently announced deal with renewable energy company Adani Green Energy, which is part of the Adani Group. , which has significant holdings in coal. This week, the Guardian revealed how two scientists refused to have their work presented by the museum.

Jess Worth of the Culture Unstained campaign group, which campaigns to stop fossil fuel sponsorship of the arts, said: in the trust of the scientific community and losing the trust of the public.

Last month, climatologist Prof Chris Rapley, former director of the Science Museum, resigned from his advisory board, saying he disagreed with his “continued willingness to accept sponsorship from an oil company and gas ”.

A few weeks later, two trustees – Hannah Fry, professor of urban mathematics at University College London, and Jo Foster, director of the charitable Institute for Research in Schools – resigned from the museum’s board in protest against his deal with Adani.

Fry said the Science Museum “gave the false impression that scientists believe the current efforts of fossil fuel companies are enough to avert disaster.”

There have been several protests at the museum, most recently when young activists occupied it overnight.

Besides scientists and academics, many others who have worked with the museum group in the past – as speakers, advisers, contributors to exhibitions or participants in events and festivals – also signed the letter.

He says that although they have “excellent personal relationships” with “talented and committed staff members” of the museum, they “can no longer be complicit in the policies adopted by the group’s senior management and directors.”

Dame Mary Archer, chair of the Science Museum Group board, defended her position on Friday. “Given the scale of the climate challenge, we reject the argument that we should sever all ties with the energy sector,” she said.

“Energy companies involved in fossil fuels are driving climate change, but they also have the skills, the money and the geographic reach to play an important role in some of the solutions. So when a company shows a willingness to change, our leadership team thinks there is value in continuing to engage, while urging those companies to show more leadership to accelerate the shift to renewables instead. fossil fuels. “

Archer acknowledged that there were “vigorous internal debates” on the issue at the museum and said she fully respected critics who disagreed with management’s position. “Our door remains open to dialogue which is an integral part of our work, both as a member of the cultural community and as a scientific institution, and we encourage our critics to consider what is achieved by distorting,” said she declared.

A Shell spokesperson defended its relationship with the museum, saying tackling the climate crisis would require “unprecedented collaboration between business, government, consumers and civil society.” They said the company had put in place a “comprehensive energy transition strategy”.

Adani did not respond to a request for comment.