In defense of the patrons of the Science Museum | Letters
As an independent, unpaid advisor on two of the Science Museum’s energy exhibits, I was disappointed to see your report on the campaign letter against it (Dozens of Academics Avoid the Science Museum due to fossil fuel ties, November 19), which risks delaying the deployment of clean energy. The well-meaning signatories say they are severing ties with the museum until each energy industry sponsor “demonstrates a credible plan to phase out fossil fuels in line with the Paris 1.5C target “.
The museum’s Our Future Planet exhibit has two main sponsors, Shell and UK Research and Innovation, the government funding body that has provided support to many of the letter’s signatories. Shell has set itself the goal of reducing all sources of its greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, as have many countries that have pledged to maintain the 1.5°C target. The company undoubtedly needs to do a lot more, but its plan has so far convinced ethical investors, such as the Church of England Pensions Board, to stay engaged. Cries of “greenwashing” every time the company invests in net zero pursuit or information are unlikely to hasten its transition away from fossil fuels.
Adani Green Energy is the main sponsor of the museum’s upcoming exhibition, Energy Revolution, which will highlight the opportunities and challenges of replacing fossil fuels with clean energy. It is the largest renewable energy company in India, with 20 gigawatts of capacity in operation and development, equivalent to around 40% of the UK’s total renewable energy capacity. Yes, he is owned by a conglomerate that includes a mining company that makes damaging investments in coal. However, this British campaign against India’s leading renewable energy company could make it harder to attract foreign investment in India’s ambitious plan to reach 500 gigawatts of clean energy capacity by 2030.
Grantham Research Institute of Climate Change and the Environment