A HISTORY OF INDUSTRY INFLUENCE
In order to support the continued use of oil and gas, fossil fuel companies have funded research centers that focus on energy, the environment, and climate change at universities across the United States for years. This has damaged academic integrity and delayed climate action. In addition to divesting, universities must stop accepting fossil fuel funding for research.
The Center for American Progress documented ten such partnerships in 2010.
Since 2014, ExxonMobil has spent at least $75 million to help establish 5 energy centers at 6 universities, including Massachusetts Institute of Technology (2014), University of Texas at Austin (2016), Stanford University (2018), and Princeton (2015).
In 2023, Divest Harvard Alumni published their white paper A Fossil Fuel-Free Harvard which outlines the damaging fossil fuel relationships compromising Harvard's academic integrity.
This video explains the relationships between universities and fossil fuel companies and why universities need to dissociate completely.
impact of fossil fuel funding on research
12/13/2022 Nature Universities: cut research links with fossil-fuel companies
"fossil-funded centres are more favourable in their reports towards natural gas than towards renewable energy, and tweets are more favourable when they mention funders by name. Centres less dependent on fossil funding show a reversed pattern with more neutral sentiment towards gas, and favour solar and hydro power."
10/2022 Nature Academia–industry ties under scrutiny
9/2022 British Medical Journal (BMJ) Stealing from the tobacco playbook, fossil fuel companies pour money into elite American universities
In 1998, the American Petroleum Institute, the largest US trade association for the oil and gas industry, laid out a plan to defeat government action on climate change through a multimillion dollar programme, to be enacted over several years. Part of this plan was to create a centre with a board of climate scientists that would have the mission of advancing scientific uncertainty. ... When this proposed policy leaked to the media, the American Petroleum Institute denied implementing it. But two years later, in 2000, British Petroleum and Ford motor company donated a combined $20m to Princeton to launch the first major programme at an American university to tackle climate change. In 2020, Princeton extended its partnership with ExxonMobil to advance new forms of research on carbon capture technology...
"In an effort to capture and store carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel-burning power plants, the Department of Energy has allocated billions of dollars for failed C.C.S. demonstration projects. The bankruptcy of many of these hugely subsidized undertakings makes plain the failure of C.C.S. to reduce emissions economically."
10/12/2017 Union of Concerned Scientists The Fossil Fuel Industry Hid the Truth about Its Funding of Fracking Research
12/12/2012 NPR Conflicts, Errors Revealed In Positive Fracking Study
resources & articles
May 2023 The Chronicle of Higher Education Big Oil Helped Shape Stanford’s Latest Climate-Research Focuss
April 2023 Sacramento Bee The University of California system must stop taking millions from big oil | Opinion
April 2023 Exxon Knew Shell sold out the planet for short term profits, new documents show
April 2022 PBS - Frontline - The Power of Big Oil - 3 part series
Drilled Season 7: The ABCs of Big Oil, a collaboration with Earther: Big Oil infiltrated schools across the country. Inside the campaign to miseducate American students. Season 7 episodes and transcripts
September 28, 2021 Tracing Big Oil’s PR war to delay action on climate change
September 16, 2021 U.S. House panel to probe oil companies over climate disinformation
The New Yorker 5/7/20 Big Oil’s Reign Is Finally Weakening
Guardian 3/13/17 The fossil fuel industry's invisible colonization of academia