Students accuse Cambridge university of 'greenwashing' ties with oil firms

(The Guardian, 24 Nov 2019) Activists call Cambridge Zero initiative a ‘PR stunt to divert attention from links to fossil fuel industry’.

Student activists at Cambridge have accused the university of attempting to greenwash its relationship with oil and gas firms by stealing their group’s name for a project led by an academic linked to the fossil fuel industry.

Cambridge University is to launch its Cambridge Zero initiative at an event in London next week. The project’s website, which is already live, touts it as a “bold response to the world’s greatest challenge”.

It says that, along with developing greener technology, it will “harness the full power of the university’s research and policy expertise, developing solutions that work for our lives, our society and our economy.”

The project is to be led by Dr Emily Shuckburgh, a climate scientist and mathematician who previously spent 13 years as a researcher with the British Antarctic Survey.

Cambridge Zero’s portfolio of research will include work on zero-carbon energy alternatives, policies, industries, financial processes, transport and climate repair. The university says its 2018 carbon reduction strategy makes it the first university taking science-based steps to achieve “absolute zero” net carbon by 2048.

Cambridge has come under criticism for its links to the oil and gas industry, most recently over a £6m donation from Shell to a laboratory studying methods of hydrocarbon extraction. The university has begun to lobby journalists for positive coverage of the launch.

External link

The Guardian, 24 Nov 2019: Students accuse Cambridge university of 'greenwashing' ties with oil firms