York & North Yorkshire

Science Museum Group defends BP links over climate protest

Extinction Rebellion protest at National Railway Museum, York Image copyright Kit Taylor
Image caption Protesters poured fake oil over themselves during the demonstration on Sunday

The Science Museum Group has defended its links with oil giant BP, saying "demonising" it was unproductive.

It come after members of Extinction Rebellion held a protest at the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York, which is part of the group.

The museum group's director said it had long-standing relationships with several energy companies.

BP said it sponsors the Science Museum Group's Academy and does not have a direct relationship with the NRM.

About 30 people poured fake oil over themselves during the protest on Sunday.

Patrick Thelwell, from Extinction Rebellion in York, said their actions were designed to persuade the group to renounce its ties with BP.

"It's companies like BP that use funding for science museums to sort of greenwash and promote that they are somehow an ecologically sustainable company," he said.

Image copyright Kit Taylor
Image caption The protest took place in the main hall of the museum

In addition to the NRM, the group also runs museums in London, Manchester, Bradford and County Durham.

BP is a founding partner of the group's academy, which offers training and resources for teachers and science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals.

Sir Ian Blatchford, director of the group, said he believed it was right to engage with companies like BP.

"These companies have the capital, geography and people to be major players in finding solutions to climate change and demonising them is unproductive."

Mr Thelwell said it was "essentially hypocritical" to suggest BP had a role to play: "They are still British Petroleum and are still contributing to the climate crisis which threatens everyone."

A BP statement said: "As we have repeatedly said, the world needs to move towards net-zero carbon emissions, and to achieve this everyone will need to play their part - governments, companies and individuals."

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