More unrest at UK Science Museum Group as two directors step down over ties to coal conglomerate
Two directors have resigned from the UK Science Museum Group board because the institution signed a sponsorship agreement with fossil fuel company Adani. The controversy arises as politicians and environmental experts from around the world travel to Glasgow for the 26th United Nations Climate Change Conference, Cop26 (until 12 November).
Hannah Fry, professor of urban mathematics at University College London, has resigned, worrying that “the Science Museum gives the false impression that scientists believe the current efforts of fossil fuel companies are enough to prevent a disaster”. Jo Foster, director of the British Charity Institute for School Research, also opposes the decision.
The museum group recently announced that the company Adani Green Energy, which is part of the Indian conglomerate Adani, will sponsor a new gallery, called Energy Revolution: the Adani Green Energy Gallery, which is slated to open in 2023. Gautam Adani, founder of the company, tweeted: “The new gallery will explore how we can power the future through low-carbon technologies. It will be a reminder of the power of the sun and the wind in our daily lives.” But the company has significant interests in coal mining.
In a statement to Times, Fry further explained the reasons for his departure, stating: âI share the concerns of many that energy companies present themselves as being in transition, while spending considerable sums to create new mines and find new deposits. oilâ¦ I worry about how easily we are distracted by investing in renewables and storing carbon capture, not realizing that, given the increase in global energy demand, this means nothing unless it causes a marked reduction in the consumption of fossil fuels.
Mary Archer, chairman of the board of the Science Museum Group, said in a statement that she had reluctantly accepted Foster and Fry’s resignations. “We fully respect their decision to step down, which reflects the views they expressed during the recent board discussions on accepting sponsorship from Adani Green Energy, and they will both remain critical friends of the Science Museum. Group, âshe adds.
âSolutions begin with difficult conversations, among friends, in individual organizations and on the global stage. Differences exist, but we agree on so many points, including the shared hope that the outcome of the ongoing Cop26 talks in Scotland tomorrow will be a new global consensus to act more urgently to address the crisis. existential threat of climate change, âsaid Archer.
Meanwhile, last month, climatologist Chris Rapley resigned from the group’s advisory board to protest the institution’s “willingness to accept oil and gas sponsorship.”
Science author and historian Sarah Dry stepped down as administrator of the Science Museum Group in March after being asked to support the government’s position on contested heritage. Dry tweeted: âWhen I was still a director of the Science Museum, I objected to taking Â£ from Adani for a new energy gallery. I was not listened to. Now that the announcement is public, many more are doing the same. It takes strength to admit that you made a mistake. Will [Science Museum Group director] Ian Blatchford?