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500 Researchers Ask Universities to Reject Fossil-Fuel Cash – Mother Jones

500 Researchers Ask Universities to Reject Fossil-Fuel Cash – Mother Jones

500 Researchers Ask Universities to Reject Fossil-Fuel Cash – Mother Jones

Harvard University. Zuma Press.

This story was originally published in the Guardian and is reproduced here as part of the Climate Desk collaboration.

Universities must stop According to an influential group, distinguished academics, accepting funding from fossil fuel corporations for climate research is acceptable, even if the research is intended to develop green and low-carbon technology.

Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, Peter Kalmus (NASA data scientist) and Michael Mann (US climate scientist) are just some of the 500 academics from the US who have sent an open letter to all US university leaders, urging them to reject funding from fossil fuel corporations.

Accepting money from fossil fuel companies represented “an inherent conflict of interest” and could “taint” essential research and “compromise” academic freedom, they wrote. For the companies, it was a chance to “greenwash” their reputations and skew the findings of research in a way favorable to them.

The letter is a direct comparison to the tobacco industry and its disinformation campaigns, noting that numerous public health and research institutions reject tobacco funding for these reasons and calling on fossil fuel cash to be treated similarly.

“Universities and the research they produce are vital to delivering a rapid, just transition away from fossil fuels. Funding from the fossil fuel industry can jeopardize such efforts. Academics should not be forced to choose between researching climate solutions and inadvertently aiding corporate greenwashing,” the signatories wrote.

Michael Mann, director at Pennsylvania State University’s Earth System Science Center, spoke to the Guardian: “This sort of funding has been used to compromise leading academic institutions. It’s a two-for for polluters: they purchase the imprimatur of these institutions and their presumed authority and objectivity, while funding research that often translates into advocacy for false solutions and ‘kick the can down the road’ prescriptions like massive carbon capture, which is unproven at scale, and geoengineering, which is downright dangerous. That is entirely the wrong path forward.”

Genevieve Guenther, founder and director of the End Climate Silence campaign, and an affiliate at the New School university in New York, said: “Funding research enables oil and gas companies to ground their promotional statements in enough truth to give substance to the green shadows in which they hide their most polluting and deadly activities. We must remove fossil-energy interests from our institutions so that our children can have a chance at a liveable future.”

Universities were Under pressure from their students, and some academics for several years to divest their investments, such as pension funds and endowments, away from fossil fuels, and Many others have done it.. Senior academics have made it clear that they are ready to cut all research ties to fossil fuel companies.

There is no consensus on the cost of this. How much money universities will accept from fossil fuel companiesBecause most sources are not published, An investigation by the Observer last yeOnly four years ago, more than $117 million was received from oil companies by UK universities.

Some scientists disagree with the letter. James Hansen, Former chief scientist at Nasa One of the first scientists to warn governments about the impending climate crisis, he told the Guardian: “It’s the wrong focus, causing young people to waste their energy on unproductive activities, while they actually have the potential to lead a solution.”

Bob Ward, Grantham policy director Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the London School of Economics, said it was reasonable for universities to accept funding from fossil fuel companies if those businesses showed genuine commitment to transforming themselves. “Fossil fuel companies that are genuinely committed to the transition [to a low-carbon economy]University researchers can and should help with net zero emissions. This includes the development of technologies for carbon capture, storage, renewables, and emission reductions. However, universities should be careful about accepting funding directly or indirectly from oil, gas and coal companies that are not genuinely committed to the clean energy transition and which are attempting to greenwash their reputations.”

A spokesperson for Imperial College London which the Observer found last year had accepted £54m (about $71 million) from oil companies since 2017, said: “Decarbonization is our top priority when working with energy companies. This goal requires a radical change in industrial systems, technologies, business models and industrial systems in the energy sector. We will leverage our expertise and influence to accelerate the transition and engage with energy companies to encourage them to achieve the Paris Agreement targets. We will monitor progress and only continue to work with companies who demonstrate commitment and credible action to achieving these targets.”

Some academics believe that fossil fuel funding is necessary to develop the technologies required for a low carbon economy. This funding will not be accepted by western universities if it is rejected by them.

Guenther disagreed: “It’s a Myth that fossil energy companies are spending large sumsTo support the green transition. According to the IEA’s 2021 World Energy Investment report, a mere 1 percent of fossil-energy companies’ capital expenditure is devoted to research, development or deployment of technologies that either abate or do not produce greenhouse gas emissions.”

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will publish the third section of its Third Part at the end of the month. Comprehensive review of climate scienceThis will examine the potential ways to reduce greenhouse gases emissions. This includes technology such as nuclear power and renewable energy, as well as innovative ideas such as Carbon dioxide from the air by sucking.

The report will shine a spotlight on potential technological solutions for the climate crisis. It will require tens to hundreds of billions of dollars in funding to bring them to market and to be widely used around the world.

Jason Hickel is an economic anthropologist and signed the letter. “The US and UK are among the richest countries on Earth, and their governments enjoy total monetary sovereignty. They can finance the research required many times over with the click of a button. Most of the major innovations and public projects that have changed history over the past century have relied on public funding for research,” said Hickel, who is professor of environmental science at the Autonomous University of Barcelona and a fellow of the LSE.

The letter didn’t specify whether companies with fossil fuel interests should be included in a wider portfolio. Harvard student Ilana Cohen led the organization of this letter. She said it was targeted at the top 200 fossil fuel companies.

Cohen stated that the organizers have limited the call to US and UK universities at the moment because these are where many fossil fuel companies concentrate their funding. However, it is possible to expand the call in the future to a global effort.

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