Environmentalists go after science museums for accepting ‘tainted’ money

originsAs reported today in the NY Times, a letter was sent by environmental groups and some climate scientists asking that museums that receive contributions from fossil fuel companies stop taking those donations, even though these donors have no control over the presentation of scientific content in any way.

The letter says the “money coming from philanthropists like the Koch brothers is tainted,” and could be used in some way to deny the effects of climate change. A quick viewing of global warming exhibits all follow the basic climate change narrative that theorizes that increased carbon dioxide emissions is warming our planet. The Smithsonian takes it a step further by showing that even in a warming world, humans can adapt quickly with little to no ill effects, something the global warmists are adamantly opposed to acknowledging.

“When some of the biggest contributors to climate change and funders [sic] of misinformation on climate science sponsor exhibitions in museums of science and natural history, they undermine public confidence in the validity of the institutions responsible for transmitting scientific knowledge,” the letter states. “This corporate philanthropy comes at too high a cost.”

One of the museums being targeted by climate activists is the Smithsonian, which receives contributions from fossil fuel companies as well as the Koch Bros, a privately held petroleum byproducts in its sundry interests. Donations given to museums contain accompanying contracts that stipulate that donors names can not be used in order to protect their brand’s identity, and if their names are used, they have a right to review any documents that include their names. This is standard legalese that all companies use to prevent its brand and logo being used in a manner inconsistent with its product.

For example, Southern Company Services (SCS), a coal company and long-time donor to the Smithsonian, requires the Smithsonian to provide the coal company “advanced written copy of proposed publications … for comment and input.” In other words, if the Smithsonian is going to use the company’s name or logo in a manner inconsistent with its brand image, it needs to be notified before those materials are made public. Nothing nefarious in that request.

Joe Romm, who runs the website Think Progress, writes that these contracts give donors the legal right to influence and change displays and materials and “may be pursuing yet another strategy to influence how climate science is communicated to the public.” In a 2011 contract Romm gained access to, it shows that the Smithsonian agrees (in clause 15) that “it shall provide SCS an advance written copy of proposed publications regarding the deliverables for comment and input, if any, from SCS.”

Romm goes on to smear the Smithsonian’s National Museum of Natural History’s David H. Koch Hall of Human Origins exhibit, which includes a segment on how humans can adapt to a warming world, because it paints a picture of “don’t worry, be happy,” which isn’t frightening enough for young minds.

The exhibit, which was unveiled in 2010, is named after its largest patron, David H. Koch. Koch had no involvement in its content, presentation, or scientific musings of the exhibit, which “tells the epic story of human evolution and how the defining characteristics of our species have evolved over 6 million years as our ancestors adapted to a changing world.”

Interestingly enough, the letter doesn’t mention any fossil fuel companies by names, but it does mention David H. Koch, who sits on the advisory “boards of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History. Koch is known for giving tens of millions of dollars to these museums. … In another petition drive sponsored by Greenpeace and Sierra Club, the two environmental organizations urged the Smithsonian and the American Museum of Natural History to ‘Kick Koch off the board!'”

Because of the petition and to tamp down the misinformation being disseminated by environmental activists, Randall Kremer, director of public affairs for the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History, said that Mr. Koch serves on the “advisory board, which is a consultative board not a governing board,” and that “the museum director has no plans to ask any members to step down.” Kramer also said that Koch signed the standard gift agreement, which “prohibits donor or sponsor involvement in content.”

Roberto Lebron, a spokesperson from the American Museum of Natural History, said “Donors do not determine the interpretation or presentation of scientific content.” Exactly.