Strict Conditions Must be laid down by the Science Museum for Sponsorship Deals as Per King

The UK’s popular Science Museum in London is in the headlines for quite some time regarding its decision to take fossil fuel sponsorships from big oil and gas companies for climate exhibitions. The purpose of holding climate exhibitions is to explore the cutting-edge ways in which the global dependence on fossil fuels can be reduced. However, the decision to take financial support from giant companies like Shell and BP has drawn heavy criticism and it is termed as “reckless” by many campaigners. 

The matter gained heat when the Science Museum signed a sponsorship deal with the fossil fuel giant Shell. The Museum’s flagship climate exhibition would be sponsored by Shell in May along with its “Our Future Planet” programme to be held in November’s COP26 Climate Summit. The exhibition will deal with Carbon Capture and Storage, a technology often overstated by oil and gas firms to validate their production of harmful fossil fuels. The Museum’s move has been termed as highly irresponsible by the Scientists for Global Responsibility, and the campaigners are also against this decision. 

In the wake of the same, Sir David King, one of the UK’s top scientific figures, has entered the matter to share his decision. He has asked the London Science Museum to end any sponsorship deals with giant oil and gas corporations unless and until such big companies abide by strict environmental criteria. The Science Museum is no doubt an extremely prestigious institution and in order to be associated with it, these giant corporations need to show genuine concern for the environment. 

As per sources, the oil companies who want to associate themselves with climate exhibitions are storehouses of some of the most polluting fossil fuels like coal. In this regard, the UK’s former chief minister wants to make sure that these companies are serious about turning down their oil and gas operations that are harmful to the environment and shift to clean energy sources. 
According to Sir David King, the Museum should lay down its conditions to give credit to such companies in the Science Museum. One of such conditions is the agreement of these companies to invest no more in oil and gas infrastructures. As per Sir David King, it is a simple thing to do and it will make a hugely significant impact. 

It is believed that King’s decision will put pressure on the Science Museum which is increasingly being criticized for its sponsorship deals with Shell and Adani Green Energy. As a result, the recent sponsorship deals will either end or it will push these massive oil corporations to stick to the newly laid conditions. 

The Museum is not only facing protests from campaigners but also from scientists. It was revealed last month how two scientists withdrew their work to be featured by the Museum. Similarly, many other scientists are gradually showing their support towards the same. 

The Museum also received a request earlier this month from indigenous leaders on the frontline of the climate crisis to call off their sponsorship deal with Adani Group as they are having a negative impact on the environment by their coal exploration. 

King’s intervention further led mores scientists to boycott the Museum. Moreover, later on, a group of scholars and known public figures also showed their unhappiness with the Museum’s decision. 

In a letter sent to the Museum, it was concluded that

“We hope you are now willing to engage with your critics in a genuine and meaningful way; not just scientists but the Indigenous communities and young people who have raised deeply held concerns and been brushed off.”

However, King refused to take a direct part in the boycott of the Museum as he considers it a fundamental institution in their research and “outreach agenda in the UK.” Nonetheless, he is not against the critics who are boycotting the Museum as he believes it will play a major role “in the fight against climate breakdown.”

According to him, it is worthwhile if such an act puts pressure on oil and gas companies to stop their oil exploration. Moreover, he supports every taken in the direction to get rid of oil and gas companies. 

However, it was claimed by a member of the Science Museum that the financial support will help them reach millions of people. 
The members of the Science Museum further claimed that they are creating awareness among people to protect the environment and that top oil companies have the resources to bring out a significant climate change with their reach and money. 

"Where an organization is showing a readiness to change, our trustees accept it is legitimate to keep on connecting with while asking these organizations to show more authority in speeding up the shift to renewables rather than non-renewable energy sources."
To support Adani Green Energy, Sir Ian Blatchford, the CEO of the London Science Museum, claimed that Adani has the world’s leading inexhaustible portfolios and vision to invest twenty billion dollars in clean energy sources in the next 10 years. 

However, King said that proceeding to connect with fossil fuel companies will encourage them to carry on with their oil and gas extraction plans, in turn, causing serious damage to the environment. 

According to him, there is a need to push these organizations to work in the right direction as they hold the potential to do something fundamental to save the environment. 

It is not the first time that the Science Museum Group (SMG) has faced a major backlash regarding its partnerships with oil and gas firms. Earlier the Museum was criticized for its collaborations with the oil companies BP and Equinor. The Museum’s ongoing series of Climate Talks have already faced resentment from journalist George Monbiot, environmentalist MarkLynas and comedian Robin Ince. Not only that, but Monbiot also took the matter on Twitter by posting ‘‘What respectable organisation still takes money from this planetary death machine?’ and Robin Ince expressed his concerns regarding the same on his personal blog.