There is a letter signed by top scientists demanding that science museums cut all their ties to Big Fossil, and where appropriate, kick the Koch Brothers off their boards.

The letter says, in part,

As members of the scientific community we devote our lives to understanding the world, and sharing this understanding with the public. We are deeply concerned by the links between museums of science and natural history with those who profit from fossil fuels or fund lobby groups that misrepresent climate science.

Museums are trusted sources of scientific information, some of our most important resources for educating children and shaping public understanding.

We are concerned that the integrity of these institutions is compromised by association with special interests who obfuscate climate science, fight environmental regulation, oppose clean energy legislation, and seek to ease limits on industrial pollution.

You can read the entire letter and see the signers here.

For example, Big Fossilman David Koch is a major donor to the Smithsonian and sits on its board Board. That’s the same Smithsonian who harbors science denialist Willie Soon and at least one other denier.

“It is one thing for David Koch to give money to Lincoln Center or Carnegie Hall, but it is quite another to support a science/natural history museum that has a role to play in doing research on, and helping educate the public about, climate change, the greatest threat ever to confront humanity”, said signer and Nobel laureate Eric Chivian. “The philanthropy serves to silence any criticism of the practices of the donor, and even, possibly, any critical discussion of the issue.”

“Energy companies and the Koch brothers gain social license from their association with these scientific institutions. It gives them cultural capital and credibility as supporters of science, yet they fund scientists and lobby groups that spread climate science disinformation and block action on climate change.” says Beka Economopoulos, director of The Natural History Museum, which organized the letter.

Climate scientist Michael Mann, who also signed, noted that “corporate polluters are embedding themselves in these spaces that communicate science to the public. Cloaked in the garb of civic-mindedness, they launder their image while simultaneously and covertly influencing the content offered by those institutions. It’s a public relations move of the highest order. David Koch sits on the board of our nation’s largest and most respected natural history museums, while he bankrolls groups that deny climate science. There is a clear contradiction between the mission of these museums and the politics of their patron.”

There is a petition that goes along with the letter that you might want to sign. It is HERE.

Comments

  1. #1 Kevin
    March 24, 2015

    How many of these scientists and activists are going to step up and donate to replace the donations from Koch?

    I venture to guess, none!

  2. #2 Brainstorms
    March 24, 2015

    Kevin, Clue: Who has the money? (Hint: Not the scientists & activists — people like the Koch’s make sure they don’t have enough.)

  3. #3 Candice
    Canada
    March 24, 2015

    What difference does the money make if it is all funding lies anyway. We already have a place for made up stories, Hollywood.

  4. #4 Brainstorms
    March 24, 2015

    Candice, that’s the issue: The Kochs, et al, fund lies. Only they’re not in Hollywood. They’re in your legislatures.

  5. #5 Russell Seitz
    March 24, 2015

    What ever became of the manifesto writing classes petition to relable the contents of the nation’s natural history museums in keeping with the cladastic party line ?

  6. #6 whatafraud
    March 24, 2015

    Brainstorm: No the Loch’s do not “fund lies”. It is the democratic party that lies, and AGW is perhpas their greatist whopper.

    That this undritiac support of “carbpn” as some sort of pollutant is on a site like this undermines its very claim to be about science.

    This has everything to do with the delusions of the Left and little at all to do with real science. I suggest that you have a look at the real data and the real conclusions. Climate change has been should to be a cult and not science. Moreover, the relationship of “Carbon”, what ever that means on the face of it, to any possible “climate change” has not really been proven.

    The slander against the Koch brother is pure Democrat propaganda. You really need to wise up about this,

  7. […] National Geographic ScienceBlogs, Science Museums: Cut Ties to Big Carbon, Kick Out The Kochs! […]

  8. #8 Brainstorms
    March 25, 2015

    whatafraud, you truly live up to your name.

    Not ONE sentence you wrote is true! whatafraud you are!

  9. […] (via Greg Laden) […]

  10. #10 GregH
    March 26, 2015

    whatafraud offers some insight into a couple of problems: Morton’s Demon is part of the problem, but nowadays people can live happily inside of a filter bubble that ensures they only get information form approved sources. This one is particularly insidious, as Big Media works hand in hand with big business to make their world view our common reality.

    How could we convince whatafraud to grow a tiny critical thought about what he or she gets from the media? Just enough to get past the “pure Democratic propaganda” idea, because that’s pretty far out.

  11. #11 Christopher Winter
    March 26, 2015

    There are very few wealthy scientists. The only one I can think of off the top of my head is J. Craig Ventner. A little research is in order…

    This article points out that winning a Nobel Prize — even being the sole winner of the $1.5 million — seldom makes the scientist wealthy. It mentions Venter and Herbert Boyer, both in biotech companies. (It also shows I misspelled Venter’s name. But I always do that.)

    I’ve often said, and still maintain, that one sure-fire way for a scientist to become wealthy is to really disprove the mainstream view of climate change. The fact that no one has is a good indication that no one can, despite what “whatafraud” here says.

  12. […] Lately there has been concern that the mix of large donors and missions of various institutions represents … […]

  13. #13 Russell Seitz
    March 27, 2015

    “pure Democratic propaganda”

    It rarely runs higher than 99 & 44/100%

    Republicans seem stuck at 97%

  14. #14 Mal Adapted
    March 28, 2015

    whatafraud:

    I suggest that you have a look at the real data and the real conclusions.

    Outstanding 8^D! We couldn’t ask for a clearer demonstration of the Dunning-Kruger effect than your comment. Please, keep showing the world how incompetent, and how unaware of their lack of competence, typical AGW-deniers are!

    The slander against the Koch brother is pure Democrat propaganda. You really need to wise up about this,

    More stereotyped AGW-denier goodness! I’m starting to think whatafraud is a Poe. If it’s serious, it must not read Forbes (“The Capitalist’s Tool”), hardly a Democratic Party organ. In 2012, the magazine published, “Inside The Koch Empire: How The Brothers Plan To Reshape America“. The Koch’s strategy for protecting their fossil-fuel assets is a matter of public record. It’s perfectly legal, after all, so there’s no need to keep it a secret. With Koch Industries worth $115 billion, they’d be fools not to invest a few $100 million to keep the costs of AGW out of the price of oil, now wouldn’t they?

    Thanks for playing, “whatafraud”. You’re welcome to offer us such an easy target anytime!

  15. #15 elaine peters
    new york state
    March 28, 2015

    We need some progressive/liberal millionaire/billionaire to help us combat people like the Koch Brothers. Also, we need publicity to continually expose their hand in what they do.

  16. #16 Russell Seitz
    March 28, 2015

    15;

    Add up the production budgets of dystopic climate films, from Soylent Green and The Day After , on through Waterworld and The Day After Tomorrow , and you’ll easily pass the billion dollar mark

  17. #17 Brainstorms
    March 28, 2015

    Russ, you give the voting public WAY too much credit for computing political definite integrals (in their heads, no less) to arrive at correct conclusions — and associated calls to action.

    WAY too much credit… ::sigh::

  18. #18 Élan Vital
    March 28, 2015

    Russell Seitz @16,
    You forgot to mention World Gone Wild with Bruce Dern and Adam Ant…

  19. #19 Russell Seitz
    March 29, 2015

    It may be hard to get E.O.Wilson to play Adam Ant in the remake.

  20. […] Get the Kochs out of science exhibits. […]

  21. […] museums should work to de-Kochify […]

  22. #23 Robyn (u15021689)
    April 6, 2015

    I agree with Kevin (the first comment) – who else will fund museums? Museums themselves should make policies that will reduce the influence of their donors on the information that they put out to the public. Furthermore, museums that generate thought are better than no museums at all.

  23. #24 cornelius(u15213201
    South Africa
    April 6, 2015

    honestly i cant see the

  24. #25 Carl C
    Philly PA
    April 7, 2015

    nobody ever went broke underestimating the greed and stupidity of white-trash America. The Koch’s (and their defenders) just prove old US robber baron Jay Gould’s old line: “I can pay have the working class to kill the other half.”

  25. #26 Fedupanddisgusted
    United States
    April 12, 2015

    Let’s just let Corporations run everything. The one with the most capital can write our text books, dictate morality, our belief systems, what is true and what is false, and ultimately decide who deserves to live and who deserves to die. No Federal Government to give citizens the least bit of a shot at having their opinions heard. Yep, that’s the way to solve all of the problems in this nation.
    Robyn, yes, I’m sure the Koch’s will willingly sign a contract designed by the Museums where they are not allowed to have any control, because that’s just the kind of fellows they are. John Birch has risen again and we should all thank them for hoarding money to further their cause to impose whatever the hell they want on the rest of the nation. Because that’s freedom, Yes, science is no longer science, it is now officially a branch of politics.

  26. #27 u15062644
    South Aftica
    April 12, 2015

    I do believe for the sake of the valid information being issued and not one muddied by various conflicts of interest that major fossil companies should not exert any level of influence in the works of science. But admittedly these companies are probably major contributors that cannot merely be replaced by public donation. Unless the taxpayer is willing to sacrifice another portion of his income, I believe there should just be laws put in place to ensure that it is a crime for major donors to have influence on what kind of information is brought forth with huge penalties at stake. Better yet, perhaps even people earning a substantial amount should be taxed for these institutes as they are the donors in any case.

  27. #28 u15062644
    South Aftica
    April 12, 2015

    I do believe for the sake of the valid information being issued and not one muddied by various conflicts of interest that major fossil companies should not exert any level of influence in the works of science. But admittedly these companies are probably major contributors that cannot merely be replaced by public donation. Unless the taxpayer is willing to sacrifice another portion of his income, I believe there should just be laws put in place to ensure that it is a crime for major donors to have influence on what kind of information is brought forth with huge penalties at stake. Better yet, perhaps even people earning a substantial amount should be taxed for these institutes as they are the donors in any case. u15062644

  28. #29 Greg@long
    April 12, 2015

    Agreed on that one Kevin. Unless these scientists actually decide to take responsibility for these things why should they even bother.

  29. #30 Bob haskins
    April 12, 2015

    Why don’t they just stop the donors from messing with information.

  30. #31 Katuchero u15017606
    April 15, 2015

    The donors are just doing what they think is right so honestly i don’t think we can blame them

  31. #32 Kleinbooi
    April 15, 2015

    The donor are the ones messing up the information so they have to be stopped from doing that and Katuchero you are wrong they are the one to blame

  32. #33 mabena phumela
    pretoria
    April 16, 2015

    these Koch brothers fund science for their benefit of getting social license,the do not have best interest of science.this is a pure greed.this have everything to do with making their pockets fat than making it possible to find more information about science.

  33. #34 u13027744
    up
    April 18, 2015

    The real question lies on who is willing or capable to provide funding instead of having to rely on large greedy corporations . as long as they provide the money they will always have more say and influence .

  34. #35 Ming-Hsueh (u15011187)
    April 19, 2015

    I also agreed that museums should derive policies that decrease the influence of their donor from the information that they publish to the public. Because this the reduce the donor getting overpowered and have the controls on their hands

  35. #36 Sipho
    April 19, 2015

    Doners should not have more power then the other people.

  36. #37 Greg
    April 19, 2015

    allowing donor to influence the information published can cause unnecessary problem.

  37. #38 Hamish Craze (15030335)
    Pretoria
    April 19, 2015

    The problem lies in the fact that if the scientists did try and stand up and say ‘Hey, don’t mess with our research’, I’d wager a guess to what would happen to their funds…i.e it would stop. And secondly, to ask scientists to fund the research is like asking for infinite energy by plugging an extension cord into itself. The funding they get from these corporations ARE their salaries! Not every scientist wants to throw away there life savings for trivial research purposes . (like the reason no one is funding hydroluminescence, it’s damn near pointless)

  38. #39 A. Durand
    Pretoria
    April 20, 2015

    This is a classical catch 22 situation and I’m sure we could debate the positive and negatives of the matter at hand for hours. In my personal opinion I believe that a balance should be found when it comes to funding from large( often with a bad environmental reputation). corporations. If the funding is cut the research and education of that would benefit future generations would not exist, but on the other hand funding from the wrong people like the Koch Brothers would steer the research into the wrong direction as pointed out in the blog. I will definitely put my vote on the petition. (15078869)

  39. #40 James
    April 22, 2015

    Research will always be dominated by where funding comes from, and the funding will always almost entirely come from big corporate to fund the research that benefits them. It is a sad fact of the world we live in – Big corporations call the shots at the expense of citizens.
    15263968

  40. […] will less ideologically tainted money come from? Greg Laden explores the thorny issue, and also shares a letter signed by 67 top scientists and a petition that you can add your name to as […]