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Science Museum Group comes under fire for Shell partnership on new climate exhibit

The museum has faced criticism from scientists about its partnership with Shell, which is viewed by its opponents as an attempt at ‘greenwashing’ the brand




Our Future Planet looks at cutting-edge technologies and nature-based solutions being developed to slow the effects of climate change   Credit: Science Museum Group

The Science Museum Group (SMG) has come under fire for partnering with oil company Shell on its upcoming exhibition: Our Future Planet.

The oil company is serving as a major sponsor of the exhibition, which opens at the Science Museum in London, UK, on May 19.

The museum has faced criticism from scientists and environmentalists about the sponsorship deal, which they see as an attempt by Shell to ‘greenwash’ its brand.

Naomi Oreskes, a professor of the history of science at Harvard, said she was: “stunned and sad that they [SMG] are helping Shell to greenwash its image.”

Ian Blatchford, director and chief executive of the SMG, has defended the decision, saying “[SMG] is transparent about its long-standing relationship with a limited number of energy companies and how, in all such partnerships, we retain editorial control.”

“As visitors will be able to see for themselves when we reopen, our new exhibition Our Future Planet looks at both the cutting-edge technologies and nature-based solutions being developed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and makes clear that, alongside reducing carbon emissions, carbon capture and storage can be one contribution in the fight against climate change.”

Bill McGuire, a professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, has voiced concerns over the partnership.

“How can it be anything other than a bad move? The only reasons fossil fuel companies are keen on link-ups such as this is to give the impression that they are actually bothered by the climate emergency. This is both greenwash and hogwash,” he said.

“For decades, fossil fuel companies have worked hard to cloud the climate change issue and obfuscate science … now the facts are known and the urgency of the crisis is clear and present, they are taking the tack that they are concerned about it and that they are actually doing their bit.”

Greenwashing

A spokesperson from Shell said: “Shell and the Science Museum have a longstanding relationship, based on shared interests to promote engagement in science, which will be a key enabler in addressing the challenge to provide more and cleaner energy solutions.”

The company previously sponsored the Science Museum’s Atmosphere: Exploring Climate Science gallery, which explores the Earth’s multi-billion year climate history. According to claims made by The Guardian in 2015, Shell tried to influence information included in the gallery, which explores billions of years of the Earth’s climate history, and raised objections to Climate Change programming it was sponsoring at the museum. Blatchford denied these claims, insisting that the museum retained editorial control of the gallery.

In a blog post written in late 2020, Blatchford set out the SMG’s approach to climate change, including its work with sponsors.

“The major energy companies have the capital, geography, people and logistics to be major players in finding solutions to the urgent global challenge of climate change and we are among the many organisations that regard a blanket approach of severing ties as being unproductive,” he said.

“I am sceptical about the argument that such sponsorships are greenwashing. It would be much easier for companies to seek a quiet life by not sponsoring high profile institutions, because working with us exposes them to exceptional scrutiny.”


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Home Opinion In depth Video
Science Museum Group comes under fire for Shell partnership on new climate exhibit | Planet Attractions

news

Science Museum Group comes under fire for Shell partnership on new climate exhibit

The museum has faced criticism from scientists about its partnership with Shell, which is viewed by its opponents as an attempt at ‘greenwashing’ the brand




Our Future Planet looks at cutting-edge technologies and nature-based solutions being developed to slow the effects of climate change   Credit: Science Museum Group

The Science Museum Group (SMG) has come under fire for partnering with oil company Shell on its upcoming exhibition: Our Future Planet.

The oil company is serving as a major sponsor of the exhibition, which opens at the Science Museum in London, UK, on May 19.

The museum has faced criticism from scientists and environmentalists about the sponsorship deal, which they see as an attempt by Shell to ‘greenwash’ its brand.

Naomi Oreskes, a professor of the history of science at Harvard, said she was: “stunned and sad that they [SMG] are helping Shell to greenwash its image.”

Ian Blatchford, director and chief executive of the SMG, has defended the decision, saying “[SMG] is transparent about its long-standing relationship with a limited number of energy companies and how, in all such partnerships, we retain editorial control.”

“As visitors will be able to see for themselves when we reopen, our new exhibition Our Future Planet looks at both the cutting-edge technologies and nature-based solutions being developed to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and makes clear that, alongside reducing carbon emissions, carbon capture and storage can be one contribution in the fight against climate change.”

Bill McGuire, a professor emeritus of geophysical and climate hazards at University College London, has voiced concerns over the partnership.

“How can it be anything other than a bad move? The only reasons fossil fuel companies are keen on link-ups such as this is to give the impression that they are actually bothered by the climate emergency. This is both greenwash and hogwash,” he said.

“For decades, fossil fuel companies have worked hard to cloud the climate change issue and obfuscate science … now the facts are known and the urgency of the crisis is clear and present, they are taking the tack that they are concerned about it and that they are actually doing their bit.”

Greenwashing

A spokesperson from Shell said: “Shell and the Science Museum have a longstanding relationship, based on shared interests to promote engagement in science, which will be a key enabler in addressing the challenge to provide more and cleaner energy solutions.”

The company previously sponsored the Science Museum’s Atmosphere: Exploring Climate Science gallery, which explores the Earth’s multi-billion year climate history. According to claims made by The Guardian in 2015, Shell tried to influence information included in the gallery, which explores billions of years of the Earth’s climate history, and raised objections to Climate Change programming it was sponsoring at the museum. Blatchford denied these claims, insisting that the museum retained editorial control of the gallery.

In a blog post written in late 2020, Blatchford set out the SMG’s approach to climate change, including its work with sponsors.

“The major energy companies have the capital, geography, people and logistics to be major players in finding solutions to the urgent global challenge of climate change and we are among the many organisations that regard a blanket approach of severing ties as being unproductive,” he said.

“I am sceptical about the argument that such sponsorships are greenwashing. It would be much easier for companies to seek a quiet life by not sponsoring high profile institutions, because working with us exposes them to exceptional scrutiny.”


 
© Kazoo 5 Limited 2021