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When the Tyndall Centre loved big oil

Kevin Anderson, the deputy director of the Tyndall Centre, wondered a couple of days ago whether oil-company funding was "worse than tobacco funding".

How different to the founders of the Tyndall Centre, who were extremely keen on oil companies, discussing a strategic partnership with Shell that would include the provision of funding, placements of students with the company.

What happened in the intervening years I wonder, to change the minds of the Tyndall Centre people so far?

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Reader Comments (33)

Pedantically speaking, which is worse, an educated (seemingly) man who can't spell the short form of 'university', or one who mis-uses an apostrophe?

Oct 26, 2015 at 11:26 AM | Unregistered CommenterHarry Passfield

Sorry - where exactly does "great Britain" end and rest of us start.
I cannot see any Scottish uni's listed.

Oct 26, 2015 at 11:29 AM | Unregistered Commenterpatrick healy
Oct 26, 2015 at 11:44 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

When I last looked USS, which is the pension fund for so many academics in the UK, had as its major equity investment Royal Dutch Shell.

Funny thing is that the list of investments has temporarily vanished. Maybe just me!
though a list is promised for January 2016.

Perhaps someone would like to comment on the graph shown in this link

Oct 26, 2015 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlleagra

Since Anderson writes paper together with the potty Alice Bows-Larkin, the only people likely to take him seriously will be those already placed under restraint for their own good.

Oct 26, 2015 at 12:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

Is there another map that shows the Green funding? I couldn't find that...

Oct 26, 2015 at 12:55 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Big oil should divest from all Universities doing any climate research. As money from the Big Oil companies has been wasted on vanity projects, only to benefit the privileged few, they should pool their financial resources to help people in genuine need, and call themselves The Big Oil Company.

How about research into developing a "back-pack" portable combined solar panel and windturbine unit, for deployment into remote areas?

How about a "back-pack" portable water maker that could desalinate, and purify available water, and be run by solar/wind?

All the technology exists, and is in use, for example by people rowing the Atlantic It justs needs repackaging.

Such units would be in high demand in disaster relief emergencies, and if stamped with the Big Oil Company logo, might show up the Greens for the sham they are.

Oct 26, 2015 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Typical of these plonkers to parrot each other but Moonbat was first:

Well at least some of these clowns admit that a recession and CO2 reduction inevitably go together - unlike certain economists who talk up costs of carbon but ignore the manifestly greater benefits. But which came first; the desire to control emissions or the desire to reduce growth? Of course we know the answer because Sauven, Porrit, Oreskes and several others admitted it already. Global warming is just a convenient peg to hang the anti-growth agenda onto.

Oct 26, 2015 at 1:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

I think we should decarbonize all of them.

Oct 26, 2015 at 1:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterNeilC

Oil Funding vs. Tobacco Funding

False equivalence is a logical fallacy which describes a situation where there is a logical and apparent equivalence, but when in fact there is none. This fallacy is categorized as a fallacy of inconsistency.

A common way for this fallacy to be perpetuated is one shared trait between two subjects is assumed to show equivalence, especially in order of magnitude, when equivalence is not necessarily the logical result. False equivalence is a common result when an anecdotal similarity is pointed out as equal, but the claim of equivalence doesn't bear because the similarity is based on oversimplification or ignorance of additional factors.

Oct 26, 2015 at 1:51 PM | Unregistered CommenterSpeed

Has the Guardian's offshore trust fund divested from sensible investments, or do the pension fund beneficiaries still put income before failed dogma?

Oct 26, 2015 at 2:34 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

I studied Geology at Strathclyde Uni from '85 to '89. Until the oil price crash in '85/'86 the Uni received a lot of funding from Britoil (later taken over by BP). After the crash there was no money and I remember the department jumping on the green/CO2 bandwagon.

Oct 26, 2015 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

The Geological Society of London still has some similar conflicts of loyalty. While a big percentage of its membership works in the oil/gas/coal sector - for which most will have their fees paid for by their employer, the GeolSoc seems to be taking an anti-big oil position, certainly with respect to demonising fossil fuels.
Its Climate Change Policy Statement is well known.
But Ted Nield, the editor of its monthly members magazine, Geoscientists prmoites a particularly polarised and distasteful position in his editorials.
This month, he compares Senator Inhofe with the murderers of anti-Creationist scientists in Bangladesh. However, given his record in anti-AGW sceptic rhetoric, we can assume his intention is to smear all AGW-sceptics with a similar brush. 'Dying for Science':

"International condemnation of these senseless murders has been swift.... ‘…on the very day that Roy…was bludgeoned to death yards from where he was signing copies of his latest astronomy book, another American stood on the floor of the Senate with a snowball in his hand, and claimed that what his gut told him was a better basis for preparing for the future than the scientific contributions of thousands of individuals the world over… who have built an understanding of what nature is telling us about our planet's past...‘In that sense, [Senator James Inhofe, Oklahoma] stands not with Roy, Rahman and Das, but with those who opposed them. This is why the deaths of these three science advocates in Bangladesh … is a matter of consequence the world over.

The previous month he specificaly named Willie Soon as a scientist with serious conflicts of interest.

"In geosciences, the problem was highlighted by the activities of Willie Soon, a solar physicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics,...Soon, a ‘global warming sceptic’, failed to disclose in a 2010 paper on climate-change policy, that he was funded from Southern Company - an electricity provider in Atlanta, Georgia, which has lobbied against emissions limits. This was not his only transgression." [while conflcit of interest is clearly an issue in today's published science, its notable that he only mentions those on the 'dark side']

I am surprised that others in the society allow this. Regardless of your position on AGW, this is a very distasteful and un-scientific way to behave.

Oct 26, 2015 at 3:10 PM | Unregistered Commentersamson

How about percentages of funding by Green vs Oil?

Oct 26, 2015 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterBruce

This makes me REALLY angry, seeing Greenpeace attack perfectly legitimate industrial support for universities, both in research and in training.

What's wrong with an oil company funding a chair in earth sciences, or petroleum geoscience, or MSc places? Why is it any different to Greenpeace or others funding a chair in environmental science? Oil companies need educated and trained staff in disciplines relevant to the employment of those individuals in professional careers.

As usual, Greenpeace is conflating the fact of legitimate oil industry funding with the idea that funding isbeing used for propaganda or subversive purposes<\i>. They have lumped all oil industry funding together and said it must all be suspect. I would strongly doubt that ANY oil industry funding of this type gets used for the fantasy "fossil fuel industry denialist" agenda. This is conspiracy theory writ large.

I despair of when this reversal of the enlightenment will end.

Oct 26, 2015 at 3:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterthinkingscientist

OT, but interesting!

It is in the news at present, & they've tried a few times to link this with AGW!

Oct 26, 2015 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan the Brit

Oil companies should be BARRED from "cooperating" with these lefty "charities" who are "against oil" anyway.

Otherwise this leaves the door wide open to BLACKMAIL DANEGELD.

Oct 26, 2015 at 5:45 PM | Unregistered CommenterVenusNotWarmerDueToCO2

A list of companies currently supporting climate science and charities promoting it for their own purposes, would be very helpful for years to come, especially when former employee advocates find themselves actually looking for a job involving work, and expecting pay in return.

Oct 26, 2015 at 6:13 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Not to mention the CRU at UEA, part funded by both BP and Shell

Oct 26, 2015 at 6:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterBarbara

Activism for its own sake is like a mania.

This Twitter Twaddle is simply demonstrating that he's paranoid too....

"Only untainted taxpayer funds must be used to fund academic endeavor and you can only work on what I say is acceptable"

What a sad waste of resources this chap and his chums are.

Oct 26, 2015 at 7:47 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Hey, that's my favourite climategate quote you've got there !

This is a smoking gun. Shell want control over the research agenda to promote a carbon trading .

"Shell International would give serious consideration to what I referred to in the meeting as a strategic partnership with the TC, broadly equivalent to a 'flagship alliance' in the TC proposal. A strategic partnership would involve not only the provision of funding but some (limited but genuine) role in setting the research agenda etc.

Shell's interest is not in basic science. Any work they support must have a clear and immediate relevance to 'real-world' activities. They are particularly interested in emissions trading and CDM. [Clean Development Mechanism]"

source uea-tyndall-shell-memo.doc 11 September 2000

Oct 26, 2015 at 7:51 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Alice is the perfect name for a little girl who fell down a rabbit hole and met a mad hatter called Kevin Anderson. He truly is a deep ecology nut if there ever was one.

Oct 26, 2015 at 7:53 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

Climategate: George Monbiot, the Guardian and Big Oil -James Delingpole

But who is it that sponsors the Guardian's Environment pages and eco conferences? Why, only that famous non-fossil-fuel company Shell. (Though I notice their logo no longer appears on top of the Guardian?s eco pages: has the Guardian decided the relationship was just too embarrassing to be, er, sustainable?)

And which company has one of the largest carbon trading desks in London, cashing in on industry currently worth around $120 billion ? an industry which could not possibly exist without pan-global governmental CO2 emissions laws ? BP (which stands for British Petroleum)

And how much has Indian steel king Lakshmi Mittal made from carbon credits thanks to Europe?s Emissions Trading Scheme? £1 billion.

And which companies were the CRU scientists revealed cosying up to as early as 2000 in the Climategate emails? There?s a clue in this line here: ?Had a very good meeting with Shell yesterday.?

And how much was Phil Jones, director of the discredited CRU, found to have collected in grants since 1990? £13.7 million ($22.7 million)

And why does this Executive Vice-Chairman of Rothschild?s bank sound so enthusiastic in this (frankly terrifying) letter about the prospects of the ?new world order? (his phrase not mine) which result from globally regulated carbon trading?

Or why not try this blog, in which a German Green party MP is revealed being given hefty donations by a solar power company?

Or how about this tiny $70 million donation to the climate change industry from the Rockefeller Foundation?

Oct 26, 2015 at 7:56 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff


Thanks for the references - loons like Kev are largely immune to the charge of hypocrisy. The best hope is I suppose that he implodes.

Perhaps Kev might consider allying with this lot? ?

Kev & Co's activist antics to my mind have no legitimate place in our higher education system - the simply stupendous quantity of hypocrisy and willful delusion being deployed by this twit and blizzard of sociological progressive gobbledegook spouted makes me seriously wonder if he's actually in the correct university department - really Does he lecture undergrads and do they have a nickname for him?

Oct 26, 2015 at 9:14 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Climate science depends on a protection racket. Power companies are threatened with GreenSlime Blackmail, unless they pay money to protect climate science's income streams.

The Guardian's conscience is not troubled by it's wealth preserving hypocrisy, because without the income, the Guardian would cease to exist, as happens to other businesses flogging products that nobody wants.

Oct 26, 2015 at 9:35 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Ya won't believe this folks. He's an another oil man.

"Kevin has a decade’s industrial experience, principally in the petrochemical industry."

Oct 26, 2015 at 11:03 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff


I saw that - he's remarkably coy about what he actually did in the "oil industry".

In fact so reticent is he that one suspects volunteering the details might be uncomfortable. Unless of course he's another Ian Crane .....

Oct 26, 2015 at 11:30 PM | Registered Commentertomo


He isn't a normal climate scientist, he is a very public, extremist mouth piece in the manner of Bob Ward. Who knows ?

Gore, Pachauri and the new IPCC gu, Lee are oil industry connected too. Margaret Thatcher (created the Tyndall Centre) was the wife of an oil executive. The supposed, little Irish geologist that promoted peak oil was an oil industry executive and an oil company owner.

Oct 26, 2015 at 11:55 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

My position is that once Enron created the multi trillion dollar carbon trading scam, climate science became a vehicle to promote that. That's why it's a pack of lies from beginning to end. It's not a conspiracy theory because the climate community is happy to go along with it. There is no conspiracy as such, just mutual self interest.

Oct 26, 2015 at 11:55 PM | Unregistered Commenteresmiff

my take on Kev - what a complete & utter nutter
(AKA - TWIT) did i spell that correst

Oct 27, 2015 at 12:35 AM | Unregistered Commenterdougieh

I read his statement about top universities taking millions from Shell etc and my immediate thought was so what. It's a non story from a non entity based on some drivel from Greenpeace.

I tend to take the view that there are lies, damned lies and Greenpeace, who have plenty of form when it comes to lying about both fossil fuels and man made climate change.

Oct 27, 2015 at 9:08 AM | Unregistered CommenterStu

As usual, Greenpeace is conflating the fact of legitimate oil industry funding with the idea that funding is being used for propaganda or subversive purpose

Thinkingscientist noted the above but this is not surprising because that is what Greenpeace itself does all the time. Its funding of "friendly" academics is always used for propaganda and it cannot understand why anyone else might be different.

Oct 27, 2015 at 11:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterArthur Dent

We'll all keep the Consensus Silence, I hope, and not ask if government climate science funding is worse than tobacco funding.

Oct 27, 2015 at 2:43 PM | Unregistered CommenterPunksta

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