Nearly forty scientists sent an open letter to natural history museums, including the Smithsonian, urging them to cut ties with the fossil fuel industry and specifically the Koch Brothers.
The letter, which was signed by Nobel Prize winners, former museum presidents, and dozens of college professors, said, 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.”
The signees said they were also worried that the ties to the fossil fuel industry, because of its efforts to “obfuscate climate science, fight environmental regulation, oppose clean energy legislation, and [efforts] to ease limits on industrial pollution,” will compromise the integrity of the museums.
“David Koch is a major donor, exhibit sponsor and trustee, and on the Board of Directors at the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History, and the American Museum of Natural History,” the letter continued. “David Koch’s oil and manufacturing conglomerate Koch Industries is one of the greatest contributors to greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Mr. Koch also funds a large network of climate-change-denying organizations, spending over $67 million since 1997 to fund groups denying climate change science.”
Allowing Koch and other anti-climate-change donors to sponsor exhibitions in these museums “undermine[s] public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge.”
The scientists also posted a petition asking for signatures in support of kicking Koch off the museums’ boards.
“Energy companies and the Koch brothers gain social license from their association with these scientific institutions,” reads the petition. “It gives them cultural capital and credibility as supporters of science, yet they fund scientists and lobby groups that spread climate science misinformation and block action on climate change.”
“These museums are centers of learning and homes for science. There’s no place for David Koch, or anyone behind funding the denial of man-made climate change, on the board of these trusted institutions.”
The petition will be delivered to the American Museum of Natural History before its annual board meeting the first week in April and the Smithsonian before its board meeting in June.