The sponsorship deal between BP and the British Museum has been questioned after Freedom of Information disclosures have revealed there is an ‘ethical black hole’ at the centre of the UK’s most visited cultural institution. 
The revelations come on the same day museum trustees meet in Manchester for an ‘away day’ – believed to be the first time they will meet since the museum announced it was renewing its five-year deal with BP in July. Art Not Oil can now reveal that, despite high-profile controversy and widespread public and staff opposition,  trustees were not given a say in this decision
The new evidence uncovered by the Art Not Oil coalition reveals:
● The decision-making process as promised by former director Neil MacGregor was not adhered to. He told staff ‘Any ethical questions which arise in the context of the Museum’s activities or sponsorships are discussed and decided by the Board of Trustees.’
● The trustees were not involved in making the decision to renew the deal, which was left in the hands of new director Hartwig Fischer. Trustees were merely ‘informed’ just before the announcement was made.
● The museum has no ethics committee – and it scrapped its dedicated ethics policy on the same day that a major BP-sponsored exhibition opened.
● The museum claims that the ethics policy available on its website until recently was never official.
● The museum does not appear to have assessed the ethical issues related to BP’s sponsorship, despite the risks it posed to the museum’s reputation.
● The museum claims that no correspondence took place between staff and BP in the months leading up to the announcement.
The revelations come a week after a huge ‘splashmob’ protest in the museum indicated that opposition to the BP sponsorship deal continues to grow. Over 200 ‘actorvists’ took part in an hour-long mass ocean-themed flashmob in the museum’s Great Court, organised by theatrical protest group and Art Not Oil coalition member BP or not BP?  The unsanctioned performance featured singing mermaids, BP pirates and a giant 40-foot kraken puppet the group smuggled in despite security bag checks. The performance highlighted the bizarre irony of BP’s sponsorship of the museum’s Sunken Cities exhibition when it is making such a large contribution to global warming, and called for the new BP deal to be overturned before it officially begins in 2018.
Jess Worth, from Art Not Oil, said:
We expect dodgy deals from BP, but not from the British Museum, which appears to have an ethical black hole at its heart.
“If there had been proper ethical scrutiny, there’s no way BP’s sponsorship could have been renewed. But without a dedicated ethics policy, an ethics committee or active oversight by its trustees, the director could overlook BP’s role as one of the world’s most destructive fossil fuel companies and ignore the damage it is doing to the museum’s reputation. The renewal meets neither the ethical standards we expect of leading museums nor the ethical standards being demanded by the public. This deal is illegitimate and must be reversed.’
Clara Paillard, President of the PCS Union Culture Sector which represents many British Museum staff, commented:
‘Last year, we wrote to Neil MacGregor with the PCS Culture Sector’s concerns about BP sponsorship at the British Museum. He assured us that any ethical questions arising around sponsorship are discussed and decided by the Board of Trustees, and that they take this very seriously. I am now finding out that the Trustees were merely “informed” rather than taking the decision. This is very disappointing. When we carried out a survey of staff at the museum back in March, 62% thought oil sponsorship was not ethical. It is time for Big Oil to become persona non grata in our museums, just as tobacco companies are. Climate change is happening now and these fossil fuel corporations shouldn’t be given a license to build a reputation as philanthropists rather than the climate-wreckers they are.’
In July, BP announced a new 5-year sponsorship deal with the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, the Royal Opera House and the Royal Shakespeare Company, but slashed its total spend from £10m to £7.5m. Earlier this year, the end of BP’s sponsorship of Tate and the Edinburgh International Festival was announced after 26 years and 36 years respectively, following sustained creative protest.
7 New Technologies That Could Radically Change Our Energy Consumption
Most of our focus on technological development to lessen our environmental impact has been focused on cleaner, more efficient methods of generating electricity. The cost of solar energy production, for example, is slated to fall more than 75 percent between 2010 and 2020.
This is a massive step forward, and it’s good that engineers and researchers are working for even more advancements in this area. But what about technologies that reduce the amount of energy we demand in the first place?
Though it doesn’t get as much attention in the press, we’re making tremendous progress in this area, too.
New Technologies to Watch
These are some of the top emerging technologies that have the power to reduce our energy demands:
- Self-driving cars. Self-driving cars are still in development, but they’re already being hailed as potential ways to eliminate a number of problems on the road, including the epidemic of distracted driving ironically driven by other new technologies. However, even autonomous vehicle proponents often miss the tremendous energy savings that self-driving cars could have on the world. With a fleet of autonomous vehicles at our beck and call, consumers will spend less time driving themselves and more time carpooling, dramatically reducing overall fuel consumption once it’s fully adopted.
- Magnetocaloric tech. The magnetocaloric effect isn’t exactly new—it was actually discovered in 1881—but it’s only recently being studied and applied to commercial appliances. Essentially, this technology relies on changing magnetic fields to produce a cooling effect, which could be used in refrigerators and air conditioners to significantly reduce the amount of electricity required.
- New types of insulation. Insulation is the best asset we have to keep our homes thermoregulated; they keep cold or warm air in (depending on the season) and keep warm or cold air out (again, depending on the season). New insulation technology has the power to improve this efficiency many times over, decreasing our need for heating and cooling entirely. For example, some new automated sealing technologies can seal gaps between 0.5 inches wide and the width of a human hair.
- Better lights. Fluorescent bulbs were a dramatic improvement over incandescent bulbs, and LEDs were a dramatic improvement over fluorescent bulbs—but the improvements may not end there. Scientists are currently researching even better types of light bulbs, and more efficient applications of LEDs while they’re at it.
- Better heat pumps. Heat pumps are built to transfer heat from one location to another, and can be used to efficiently manage temperatures—keeping homes warm while requiring less energy expenditure. For example, some heat pumps are built for residential heating and cooling, while others are being used to make more efficient appliances, like dryers.
- The internet of things. The internet of things and “smart” devices is another development that can significantly reduce our energy demands. For example, “smart” windows may be able to respond dynamically to changing light conditions to heat or cool the house more efficiently, and “smart” refrigerators may be able to respond dynamically to new conditions. There are several reasons for this improvement. First, smart devices automate things, so it’s easier to control your energy consumption. Second, they track your consumption patterns, so it’s easier to conceptualize your impact. Third, they’re often designed with efficiency in mind from the beginning, reducing energy demands, even without the high-tech interfaces.
- Machine learning. Machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) technologies have the power to improve almost every other item on this list. By studying consumer patterns and recommending new strategies, or automatically controlling certain features, machine learning algorithms have the power to fundamentally change how we use energy in our homes and businesses.
Making the Investment
All technologies need time, money, and consumer acceptance to be developed. Fortunately, a growing number of consumers are becoming enthusiastic about finding new ways to reduce their energy consumption and overall environmental impact. As long as we keep making the investment, our tools to create cleaner energy and demand less energy in the first place should have a massive positive effect on our environment—and even our daily lives.
Responsible Energy Investments Could Solve Retirement Funding Crisis
Retiring baby-boomers are facing a retirement cliff, at the same time as mother nature unleashes her fury with devastating storms tied to the impact of global warming. There could be a unique solution to the challenges associated with climate change – investments in clean energy from retirement funds.
Financial savings play a very important role in everyone’s life and one must start planning for it as soon as possible. It’s shocking how quickly seniors can burn through their nest egg – leaving many wondering, “How long your retirement savings will last?”
Let’s take a closer look at how seniors can take baby steps on the path to retiring with dignity, while helping to clean up our environment.
Tip #1: Focus & Determination
Like in other work, it is very important to focus and be determined. If retirement is around the corner, then make sure to start putting some money away for retirement. No one can ever achieve anything without dedication and focus – whether it’s saving the planet, or saving for retirement.
Tip #2: Minimize Spending
One of the most important things that you need to do is to minimize your expenditures. Reducing consumption is good for the planet too!
Tip #3: Visualize Your Goal
You can achieve more if you have a clearly defined goal in life. This about how your money can be used to better the planet – imagine cleaner air, water and a healthier environment to leave to your grandchildren.
Investing in Clean Energy
One of the hottest and most popular industries for investment today is the energy market – the trading of energy commodities. Clean energy commodities are traded alongside dirty energy supplies. You might be surprised to learn that clean energy is becoming much more competitive.
With green biz becoming more popular, it is quickly becoming a powerful tool for diversified retirement investing.
The Future of Green Biz
As far as the future is concerned, energy businesses are going to continue getting bigger and better. There are many leading energy companies in the market that already have very high stock prices, yet people are continuing to investing in them.
Green initiatives are impacting every industry. Go Green campaigns are a PR staple of every modern brand. For the energy-sector in the US, solar energy investments are considered to be the most accessible form of clean energy investment. Though investing in any energy business comes with some risks, the demand for energy isn’t going anywhere.
In conclusion, if you want to start saving for your retirement, then clean energy stocks and commodity trading are some of the best options for wallets and the planet. Investing in clean energy products, like solar power, is a more long-term investment. It’s quite stable and comes with a significant profit margin. And it’s amazing for the planet!
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