Top Scottish science festival cuts ties with oil majors

A leading Scottish science festival is to cut its long standing association with French oil giant Total and US firm ExxonMobil.

The Edinburgh International Science Festival announced today it will no longer accept funding from large oil and gas firms.

Fossil fuel activists had threatened to run a series of pro-science protest actions during the 2019 festival relating to funds the charity had accepted from Exxon and Total.

The festival’s new policy claims it will avoid taking funds from “fossil fuel companies and their primary trade bodies”

Organisers had accepted funds from a partnership with trade body the Scottish Oil Club.

A spokeswoman for the Edinburgh Science Festival said: said “The sector is not moving fast enough to meet the IPCC targets and that there is a conflict between their behaviour and the underlying science.”

The Edinburgh International Science Festival also faced protests following sponsorship from Shell in 2018.

Activist group Science Unstained has been pressuring festival organisers to change their policy in 2019.

The group recently launched a petition and open letter, signed by scientists including Prof Kevin Anderson, Deputy Director of the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research.

Tara Wight, spokesperson for campaign group Science Unstained and PhD student at Edinburgh University, said: “Following a year of campaigning, we welcome the decision by Edinburgh Science to distance themselves from the fossil fuel industry.

“By being associated with science outreach events, fossil fuel companies aim to clean up their image and present themselves as responsible organisations that are in alignment with scientific consensus on climate change.

“The decision by Edinburgh Science to drop fossil fuel sponsorship is an important and necessary step for upholding their scientific integrity.”

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