Campaigners outside the London Science Museum

Members of Extinction Rebellion UK campaigning outside the London Science Museum in August of 2021. (Photo: Extinction Rebellions UK)

London Science Museum Accused of 'Jumping Into Bed With Big Coal' After Adani Sponsorship

"I can't believe that the Science Museum—of all institutions and this of all years—has accepted money from Adani, one of the greatest climate criminals."

The London Science Museum was the source of both disappointment and outrage Tuesday following the institution's announcement that a new gallery related to the climate emergency will be sponsored by an arm of the coal giant Adani.

"I can't believe that the Science Museum--of all institutions and this of all years--has accepted money from Adani, one of the greatest climate criminals," tweeted Global Witness co-founder Patrick Alley, calling it "a gobsmackingly stupid decision."

Indian-Australian climate activist Varsha Yajman called it "embarrassing that the Science Museum would support Adani, a company ignoring the science and destroying what should be preserved and sacred to the Indigenous populations of India and Australia."

She added that "if the Science Museum proceeds with this, it, like Adani, is taking away the basic rights of Indigenous populations in India and Australia."

According to a Tuesday statement from the London Science Museum, the new "Energy Revolution" gallery is set to open in 2023 and is backed by "significant financial support" from Adani Green Energy, a renewable energy subsidiary of the India-based Adani Group, which advocacy groups accuse of trampling on human rights and fueling the climate emergency through its vast coal extraction activities across the globe.

Chair of the Science Museum Group Mary Archer said "Energy Revolution" would "take a truly global perspective on the world's most urgent challenge."

The statement also included remarks from Adani chairman Gautam Adani, who said, "There is so much to learn from the history of this journey as the world writes a cleaner future and who better than the Science Museum team to depict this inspiration."

The institution had already faced criticism from climate campaigners earlier this year after Culture Unstained revealed that the institution signed a "gagging clause" with oil giant Shell barring it from criticizing the oil company as part of an exhibition sponsorship agreement. The Science Museum's previous sponsorships from oil giants BP and Equinor added fuel to that criticism.

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Jess Worth of Culture Unstained noted in a statement Tuesday that news of the Adani funding comes the same month a former museum director resigned from the Science Museum's Advisory Board over the issue of sponsorship by the fossil fuel industry. It is also particularly noteworthy--and egregious--she said, in light of the United Nations climate summit beginning at the end of the month and being hosted by the United Kingdom.

"Scientists, young people, and even their own advisors were already walking away from the Science Museum over oil sponsorship. But astonishingly, the museum's management have doubled down and signed up Adani--a coal conglomerate--to sponsor a gallery about the energy transition!" said Worth.

"Their enthusiasm for fossil fuel partnerships has turned controversy into a crisis of credibility, and they must be held to account for their reckless decisions," she said. "As COP 26 approaches, the world needs climate leadership from the U.K., not the unseemly sight of our once-renowned Science Museum jumping into bed with Big Coal."

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