A CHARITY running a major Edinburgh festival is refusing to accept funding from fossil fuel companies because they are not moving fast enough on climate change.

Activists had pledged to run a series of “pro-science” protests during this year’s Edinburgh Science Festival over funding it had received from oil giants Exxon and Total.

In a statement, Edinburgh Science Festival said: “The sector is not moving fast enough to meet the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) targets and that there is a conflict between their behaviour and the underlying science.”

The charity’s new policy states they will avoid taking funds from “fossil fuel companies and their primary trade bodies”, which refers to income from partnerships with the Scottish Oil Club.

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Tara Wight, spokesperson for campaign group Science Unstained and PhD student at the University of Edinburgh, said: “Following a year of campaigning, we welcome the decision by Edinburgh Science to distance themselves from the fossil fuel industry.

“By being associated with science outreach events, fossil fuel companies aim to clean up their image and present themselves as responsible organisations that are in alignment with scientific consensus on climate change.

“Fossil fuel companies have known about the science of climate change for decades, yet instead of taking action they have continued to expand and intensify the extraction of fossil fuels, while funding misinformation in the media.

The National:

“Sponsoring educational and cultural organisations is a cheap and effective means of improving their public image while continuing to destroy the earth.

“The decision by Edinburgh Science to drop fossil fuel sponsorship is an important and necessary step for upholding their scientific integrity.”

Climate campaigners have been calling for organisations to cut their ties with fossil fuel companies over their contribution to the climate crisis. Already this year there have been protests inside the Scottish National Portrait Gallery, who hosted a BP-sponsored exhibition, and the National Museum of Scotland, who hosted a dinner for the Scottish Oil Club. The Edinburgh International Festival dropped BP sponsorship in 2017.

Ric Lander, from Friends of the Earth Scotland said: “As the first Scottish cultural organisation to explicitly reject fossil fuel funding, Edinburgh Science have made a crucial contribution to Scotland’s fight for climate justice.”