Climate activists ‘occupy’ Science Museum for sponsorship of fossil fuels

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Climate activists ‘occupy’ Science Museum for sponsorship of fossil fuels


Young climate activists have “occupied” the Science Museum in London to protest its sponsorship deals with fossil fuel companies.

Members of the London branch of the UK Student Climate Network (UKSCN London) said they were holding a candlelight vigil at the famous monument on Tuesday night for “the victims of the museum’s fossil fuel sponsors: Shell, BP, Equinor and Adani ”.

The group planned to stay overnight, sharing photos on Twitter showing sleeping bags deployed in the museum’s Kensington building.

Metropolitan Police said officers were present and no arrests had been made.

The protest comes after the Science Museum announced a new gallery last week, called Energy Revolution: The Adani Green Energy Gallery, which is supported by a subsidiary of the Adani Group.

Adani is a multinational conglomerate involved in coal mining and coal-fired power plants.

Biologist Dr Alexander Penson, who took part in the sit-in, said it was “appalling” that the museum persisted in sponsorship of fossil fuels and began a new relationship with Adani.

In a UKSCN London Instagram Live video from inside the museum, he said: “The way they say it is that they work with the green energy arm of the company and then forget about the coal.

Candlelight vigil at the Science Museum. The group said they plan to spend the night at the museum. Photograph: UKSCN / Twitter

“We can all agree that we need new green infrastructure, that we need green jobs… but then you can’t forget about the dirty infrastructure we need to retire. “

The museum has also been criticized for partnering with Shell to fund its Our Future Planet exhibit on carbon capture and storage, and nature-based solutions to the climate crisis.

The deal with the fossil fuel company included a gag clause, committing the museum to not saying anything that could damage Shell’s reputation.

UKSCN activists tried to spend the night in the museum in June to protest Shell’s sponsorship, but abandoned the movement when threatened with arrest by police officers.

The group also held protests outside the Science Museum, alongside activists from the environmental movement Extinction Rebellion.

UKSCN London member Ines, 17, said: “We are less than a week from the start of Cop26. Now is the time to abolish fossil fuel companies, not to collaborate with them or invite them into our cultural spaces.

“The senior management and board of the Science Museum have stopped all attempts at conversation with young activists and scientists.

“In the meantime, they welcome with open arms some of the worst authors of the climate crisis… The Science Museum must seriously rethink its sponsorship agreements before losing its credibility and legitimacy as a scientific institution. “

The occupants negotiated with museum staff to be moved from the second floor of the building to the energy hall near the main entrance so that they had access to the toilets throughout the night, they said in a video posted to Twitter.

UKSCN London previously tweeted that the institution “denies us access to basic safety and hygiene by locking the toilets and refusing to provide us with safe, hygienic and dignified toilets”.

The Science Museum has been approached for comment.

In a press release announcing the new Energy Revolution gallery, due to open in 2023, the museum said it would examine “how the world can undergo the fastest energy transition in history to curb climate change” .

Dame Mary Archer, President of the Science Museum Group, said: “We are extremely grateful to Adani Green Energy for the significant financial support they provide to this gallery. “

A Met spokesperson said: “At approximately 5:40 pm on Tuesday, October 26, police were informed of a protest inside and outside a museum on Exhibition Road, SW7.

“The officers remain present and engage with the demonstrators. There were no arrests. “

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