The UK Science Museum Group Is Partnering With the Fossil Fuel Company Adani

Protests and resignations have arisen following the announcement.

A ‘greenwashing machine’ at the protest outside the Science Museum. Vuk Valcic/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

Following the news that the UK Science Museum Group has signed a sponsorship deal with Adani, a fossil fuel company, two trustees from resigned from the group’s board, new reports indicate. Protests have also arisen in opposition to the sponsorship deal’s announcement. The UK Science Museum Group includes five different museums: The Science Museum in South Kensington, London, The Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, The National Railway Museum in York, Locomotion in County Durham and The National Science and Media Museum in Bradford. Specifically, Adani is supposed to be sponsoring a new gallery that will open in 2023 entitled Energy Revolution: the Adani Green Energy Gallery. The two trustees who are stepping down are Jo Foster, the director of the UK charity Institute for Research in Schools and Hannah Fry, a professor in the Mathematics of Cities at University College London.

“I share the concerns of many that energy companies present themselves as transitioning, while spending vast sums on creating new mines and finding new oil fields,” Fry said in a statement. “I worry about how easily distracted we are by investment in renewable energy and carbon capture storage, without realizing that, given increased global energy demand, it means nothing unless it provokes a marked reduction in burning fossil fuels.”

In 2019, the Royal Shakespeare Company cut ties with the British multinational oil and gas company BP after students threatened to boycott the premises, and the National Galleries of Scotland announced that they too would be terminating its relationship with BP. So clearly, there’s precedent in the UK for large institutions divesting themselves from big fossil fuel organizations. However, what’s less certain is determining which ones will be up to the task.

The historian Sarah Dry similarly withdrew from the UK Science Museum Group in March. “When I was still a Science Museum trustee, I argued against taking £ from Adani for a new energy gallery,” Dry tweeted. “I was not listened to. Now that the announcement is public, many others are making the same case.” The UK Science Museum Group Is Partnering With the Fossil Fuel Company Adani