Edinburgh Science Festival sponsors

Total S.A.

Total are a one of the six biggest publicly-traded oil producers in the world and as such have been listed as one of the top 20 companies most responsible for causing climate change.

Their Chief Executive says “we will remain first and foremost an oil and gas company” in the long term, with only 20% of its assets low-carbon by 2035.

Total’s Sullom Voe plant in Shetland is one of the UK’s biggest sources of CO2 and in 2015 they were fined over £1 million for one of UK’s biggest ever gas leaks. They have been criticised for planning to drill for oil near a reef in the Amazon rainforest.

In January 2019, Total announced the largest new gas discovery in the North Sea for over a decade.

Total sponsored the Edinburgh Science Festival’s ‘Generation Science’ programme in 2018-19.


Exxon are the world’s second largest publicly-traded oil and gas company and have been named amongst the top five companies most responsible for causing climate change.

A Harvard study from 2017 found that Exxon misled public about climate change for decades. It found that over 80% of papers from company scientists in the past four decades stated that climate change was real and caused by humans, whereas 80% of their public facing communication expressed doubt.

“On the question of whether ExxonMobil misled non-scientific audiences about climate science, our analysis supports the conclusion that it did,” Geoffrey Supran and Naomi Oreskes of Harvard University wrote in the study, published today in the scientific journal Environmental Research Letters.

“ExxonMobil contributed quietly to the science and loudly to raising doubts about it,” the evidence was unambiguous.

They have also been accused of human rights abuses, including being taken to court by Indonesian villagers who claimed ExxonMobil hired security forces, who were part of the Indonesian military, to protect the natural gas extraction facility

In 2001, eleven villagers from the Indonesian province of Aceh, filed suit against ExxonMobil in US federal court alleging that the company was complicit in human rights abuses committed by Indonesian security forces in the province of Aceh. The plaintiffs allege that the security forces committed murder, rape and torture against villagers during that time.

Exxon sponsored the Edinburgh Science Festival’s ‘Generation Science’ programme in 2018-19.


Shell is the world’s largest publicly traded oil company and has been named as the company 9th most responsible for global climate change.

They have paid millions of dollars of fines for pollution caused by their operations in Nigeria and have threatened to drill in the fragile environment of the Arctic. The company is involved in shale gas fracking, a highly polluting form of drilling in the Permian, Haynesville and Appalachian basins in the United States. As of April 2018, 8,000 Dutch citizens are imminently taking Shell to court for its historical contribution to climate change.

An independent assessment of Shell’s business plans found that “Shell’s current business model and base case for planning is consistent with 3–5°C+ of global warming” and that Shell has “no immediate plans to move to a net-zero portfolio over our investment horizon of 10-20 years.”

Shell have repeatedly covered up the risks of climate change. An internal report from Shell from 1988 predicted that global warming was likely to cause the disintegration of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, resulting in global sea level rise of “five to six meters,” enough to cover entire low-lying countries.

Shell sponsored the Edinburgh Science Festival’s ‘EcoVille’ exhibition in 2018.