1st February 2024: HXR protest with XR Scientists and Greta Thunberg at Science Museum debate

Posted by: Hils - Posted on:

This evening. on Thursday, 1 February, Extinction Rebellion protesters, including HXR doctors and scientists, targeted a panel debate organised by the Science Museum on scientific predictions for 2024. They were joined by climate activist Greta Thunberg who had just left the first day of her trial at Westminster Magistrates court.

For the duration of the sold out event HXR member Dr Kush Naker stood next to the panellists in silence, holding a banner saying “2024 – MORE DROUGHTS, FLOODS AND DEATHS FUELLED BY SCIENCE MUSEUM OIL AND COAL SPONSORS”.

The event became chaotic when the Science Director Roger Highfield started talking about climate change and was challenged from the floor by a restive audience over his hypocritical support of the museum’s coal sponsor, Adani. 

While the organisers tried to bring the event to an end, and not allowing questions, Greta was forced to shout from the audience to challenge the museum’s partnership with coal giant Adani for their role in the escalating climate crisis: “The science is clear. During an escalating climate crisis, is it responsible for a public body like the Science Museum to invite Adani to sponsor its Energy Revolution gallery? Adani has just invested 16 Billion Australian dollars in a new coal mine and, as your own due diligence revealed, is accused of environmental crimes, human rights abuses and corruption.”

At the start of the event, HXR member Dr Katherine Fallon, announced that the activists were not planning to stop the debate but intended to remind the audience, and the panel of experts, that the Museum’s sponsors BP, Equinor and Adani were still investing in new oil, gas and coal projects, despite advice and warnings from climate scientists [1], the International Energy Agency [2] and the United Nations [3] that this is incompatible with keeping global average temperature rise within the Paris Agreement target of 1.5°C.

Dr Fallon said: “We love the Science Museum but we are here to protest against the museum accepting sponsorship from companies that are planning to continue new expansion of fossil fuels. You do not have to be a rocket scientist or a doctor to know that in 2024, fossil fuel induced climate change will bring more droughts, floods and deaths.”

Dr Kush Naker. said: “As a doctor it is my responsibility to warn people when their health is being threatened. The sponsors of the science museum are the greatest threat to the health of my patients. They are polluting the air we need to breathe, driving famines, droughts, and the spread of deadly infectious diseases. Accepting money from these companies is totally unacceptable, and that is why I am part of this protest.”

Award-winning science presenter and Associate Lecturer in Theoretical Astrophysics at the University of York, Dr Emma Osborne had already withdrawn from an event later that evening as a result of a letter sent to all the Science Museum panellists in advance, asking them to reconsider their participation.

[1] Unextractable fossil fuels in a 1.5 °C world https://www.nature.com/articles/s41586-021-03821-8

[2] IEA chief slams climate ‘contradictions’ from oil companies https://www.dw.com/en/iea-fatih-birol-new-oil-gas/a-65200519

[3] New fossil fuels ‘incompatible’ with 1.5C goal, comprehensive analysis finds https://www.carbonbrief.org/new-fossil-fuels-incompatible-with-1-5c-goal-comprehensive-analysis-finds/