The American Petroleum Institute has withdrawn its offer of sponsorship for a planned Smithsonian Institution exhibit on oceans at the Natural History Museum. Kudos to James Grimaldi and the Washington Post for exposing this story, and giving it the prominence necessary to persuade the Smithsonian’s board, and embarrass its corporate sponsors.
API formally took its $5 million offer to sponsor the exhibit off the table the day after the Post also revealed that curators assembling a 2006 exhibit on the Arctic were pressured to tone down language on global warming.
“The Post obtained a hand-scrawled note by a curator on the project indicating there was “concern that scientific uncertainty hasn’t come out enough.” Edits to a “final script” show notations about where to add “the idea of scientific uncertainty about climate research.”
“The effort to tone down the Arctic presentation offended other scientists involved in the project, according to an e-mail written by NASA scientist Waleed Abdalati to his superiors in June. “Something strange happened,” he said in the e-mail. “For the focus to be shifted from scientific content to political content, I found disturbing for a museum.”
“The additional review was prompted by “political sensitivities as opposed to content,” Abdalati wrote.”
“You know that I am not an alarmist,” Abdalati noted, “but I will say that a museum can’t do an honest exhibit about what is happening in the Arctic without causing people some serious concern.”
As the father of a young boy who loves to spend his weekend days exploring the fantastic spaces and exhibits that the Smithsonian has to offer, I want to just thank Grimaldi, the Post, and Senator Patrick Leahy for this excellent effort.
The original Post story can be found here.
For a laugh, try this response to the issue from the Competitive Enterprise Institute. The poor misunderstood oil industry, the vast left wing blah blah blah.
Seems as if the Separation of Oil & State is well underway.