South Asia Solidarity Group and nearly a dozen collectives protested the London Science Museum taking sponsorship from Indian coal-producing conglomerate Gautam Adani Wednesday at their ‘India Lates’ art event.
Over 1000 tickets booked for Wednesday night’s “Science Museum India Lates” event went unused, as protesters called for the cancellation of the Museum’s new sponsorship deal with Adani.
Groups including young people, teachers, grandparents, local residents and scientists were represented by protesters holding giant event tickets outside the Museum.
The other organisers of the demonstration are Culture Unstained, Scientists Warning Foundation, London Mining Network, UKSCN London, Scientists for XR, XR Hammersmith and Fulham, , Fossil Free London, Coal Action Network and Jubilee for Climate.
Representatives of the South Asia Solidarity Group gave an unsanctioned speech inside the Museum, shining a spotlight on the damaging impacts of Adani’s operations.
The Science Museum announced last October that Adani Green Energy, part of the Adani Group run by Indian multi-billionaire Gautam Adani, will sponsor the museum’s new gallery.
According to the Museum. “Energy Revolution: The Adani Green Energy Gallery will explore the latest climate science and the energy revolution needed to cut global dependence on fossil fuels and achieve the Paris targets to limit global warming to around 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.”
Yet Adani has been heavily criticised for its destructive coal projects in Australia and India, where Indigenous communities are opposing mining on their lands, and is India’s biggest investor in coal-fired power generation.
It is dramatically ramping up its coal production, and increasing its investments in coal-fired power stations – even though the UN’s International Panel on Climate Change and the International Energy Agency have both warned that reaching net-zero carbon emissions by 2050 means no new coal developments as of 2021.
“We’re outraged that Adani – a coal conglomerate which supports Modi’s fascist regime– is sponsoring a new gallery about the energy transition. This sponsorship is a blatant attempt to greenwash the Adani Group’s destructive activities – an attempt the Museum sadly seems all too happy to play along with,” said spokesperson for South Asia Solidarity Group.
More than 125 artists, writers and academics – including Anand Patwardhan, Julie Christie, Ken Fero and Shailaja Patel signed a letter to performers at the event, asking them to “stand against companies that have supported both political repression and environmental destruction.”
Documentary-maker Anand Patwardhan, a signatory to the letter, said: “Narendra Modi’s favorite crony, the robber baron Adani, is destroying the environment and democracy across India. The UK and other countries will face the same destruction as his tentacles reach out. Nature, science, media, nothing is sacrosanct. I am happy to be part of the world wide resistance.”