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Say no to Shell poster

Shell has been accused of ignoring its responsbility to clean-up the ongoing legacy of its oil operations in Nigeria

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Anger at opening of Shell-sponsored climate change exhibition

Tom Levitt

6th December, 2010

Campaigners accuse oil giant of trying to 'buy itself goodwill' within government and academia by donating £1 million to a new exhibition at The Science Museum in London

Oil companies should be banned from partnering with public institutions like Tate Modern and the Science Museum, say environmental campaigners.

Shell's £1 million funding for a new exhibition on climate change at the Science Museum was 'ludicrious', they added, given the company's role as one of the world's biggest carbon emitters.

'A decade ago, tobacco companies were seen as respectable partners for public institutions to gain support from,' said Kevin Smith from the campaign group Platform.

'Now it is socially unacceptable for tobacco to play this public role, and it is our hope that oil and gas will soon be seen in the same light, as the public comes to recognise that the sponsorship programmes of BP and Shell are means by which attention is distracted from their impacts on human rights, the environment and the global climate.'

Platform said Shell used sponsorship of cultural institutions like the Science Museum to link its brand to good and progressive organisations and to help lobby government officials and business leaders.

The company's sponsorship of The Natural History Museum's 'Wildlife Photographer of the Year' exhibition ended after strong opposition from the direct action group Rising Tide and Art Not Oil.

The Science Museum exhibition, atmosphere: exploring climate science, which has recently opened to the public, promises to allow visitors to 'dig deeper into the story of the science behind our changing climate' with Chris Rapley, the museum's director, saying it would 'not state a position on whether or not climate change is real, driven by humans or threatening'.

A spokesperson said Shell was one of a number of sponsors of the exhibition, which cost £4.5 million and that the Museum had 'full editorial control over the exhibition content'.

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