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  • Oil & Gas Defended by Science Museum Group

Oil & Gas Defended by Science Museum Group

Aug 14 2019 Read 306 Times

In a move that has been slammed be environmental advocates, London's Science Museum has announced a new sponsorship deal with several major oil and gas companies, including BP, Shell and Equinor. The partnership has received heavy criticism from climate change campaigners, who blame the fossil fuel industry for accelerating rising global temperatures.

Located on Exhibition Road in South Kensington, Science Museum is one of the top attractions in London. It's been welcoming visitors since 1857 and now sees more than 3.3 million visitors a year stream through its doors. For critics of the new sponsorship deal, partnering with oil and gas companies is an irresponsible move that downplays the severity of climate change and champions unrenewable energy.

Fossil fuels partnership slammed by environmental groups

British based research, engagement and campaigning organisation Culture Unstained claims that partnerships with national cultural institutions like Science Museum allows oil and gas companies to legitimise their "destructive impacts" and win the hearts of the public. Ironically, money donated by BP, Shell and Equinor has been used to fund exhibits spotlighting climate-related issues, including the popular Atmosphere Gallery.

English naturalist and popular TV personality Chris Packham was one of 30 signatories to submit an official complaint to Science Museum, arguing that funding from oil and gas majors undermines the scientific credibility of the museum and has a damaging impact on younger generations.

“I particularly dislike the fact that petrochemical companies are trying to influence young people, and the idea that they have influenced the structure and shape of Science Museum exhibitions is insidious,” says Packham.

Science Museum director defends partnership

Group director Ian Blatchford was quick to defend the new oil and gas sponsorship in an internal email to staff, saying that vilifying the fossil fuel industry is "seriously unproductive" and damaging to the museum's reputation. While he acknowledged that climate change comes with a unique set of challenges and ethical issues, he claims oil and gas companies “have the capital, geography, people and logistics to find the solutions [to climate change]."

For Blatchford, severing ties with oil and gas companies is an "easy and fruitless option” that doesn't address the core of the problem. He asserts Science Museum will not be following the same path as fellow cultural institution Tate, which recently announced the termination of its 27-year funding sponsorship with BP.

While the oil and gas industry is under fire for supporting British cultural institutions, events like PEFTEC 2019 are designed to spark innovation and address issues like climate change. For a closer look at the event, which featured 250 companies, 114 exhibition stands, 46 seminars, 33 poster sessions and 4 conferences, don't miss 'Oil Gas & Petrochem industries converge on Rotterdam.

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