“Frackademics” – Letter to heads of dept/faculty in connection with the Guardian open letter

To: Professor David Jolley – Head of School of Geoscience, Chair in Geology – University of Aberdeen, Professor Nicholas Rawlinson –  Chair in Geophysics – University of Aberdeen, Professor John Howell – Chair in Geology & Petroleom Geology – University of Aberdeen, Professor Randell Stephenson – Chair in Geology & Petroleum Geology – University of Aberdeen, Professor Colin Macpherson – Head of Department – Chair of the Board of Studies in the Department of Earth Sciences – University of Durham, Dr Ed Llewellin – Director of Postgraduate Studies in the Department of Earth Sciences – University of Durham, Professor Jon Gluyas – Professor in CCS & Geo-Energy & Dean of Knowledge Exchange in the Department of Earth Sciences – University of Durham, Prof Richard Davies – Dean of Knowledge Exchange and Impact in the Department of Earth Science – University of Durham, Dominic Tatum – Deputy Programme Director – Institute of Petroleum Engineering – Heriot-Watt University, Prof. Mehran Sohrabi – Director – Centre for Enhanced Oil Recovery and CO2 Solutions – Institute of Petroleum Engineering – Heriot-Watt University, Professor Gideon Henderson – Head of Earth Sciences – University of Oxford, Professor Philip Allen – Chair in Earth Science – Department of Earth Science & Engineering – Imperial College London, Professor Johannes Cilliers – Head of Department and Chair in Mineral Processing – Imperial College London, Professor Alastair Fraser – EGI Chair in Petroleum Geoscience – Imperial College London, Dr Lorraine Craig – Associate Dean for Learning and Teaching –  Department of Eath Science and Engineering – Imperial College London, Dr Stephen Boult – Programme Director – School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences – University of ManchesterProfessor, Ann Webb – Associate Dean – Graduate Education – School of Earth, Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences – University of Manchester, Professor Alexander Tudhope – Head of School – School of GeoSciences – University of Edinburgh, Professor Kathryn Whaler – Head of Earth and Planetary Science Research Institute – University of Edinburgh, Professor Hugh Rollinson – Head of Geosciences, College of Life & Natural Sciences – University of Derby, Dr Richard Brooker –  Manager of Experimental Petrology Research Laboratory – University of Bristol, Professor Michael Walter – Head of School of Earth Sciences – University of Bristol, Professor Simon Hodgson – Dean – School of Science & Engineering – Teeside University, Dr Stuart Egan – Head of School – School of Physical and Geographical Sciences – Keele University, Dr. Zoe Robinson – Director for Environment & Sustainability – Keele University, Professor Ian R. Hall – Head of School – School of Earth & Ocean Sciences – University of Cardiff, Professor Sunil Vadera – Head of School – School of Computing, Science and Engineering – University of Salford, Professor Peter Burgess – Head of Department – Department of Earth Sciences – Royal Holloway University of London, Professor Rachel Mills – Head of Ocean and Earth Science – University of Southampton, Professor Simon Bottrell – Head of School – School of Earth and Environment – University of Leeds, Professor Kevin Jones – Executive Dean – Faculty of Science & Environment – University of Plymouth, Dr Mark Anderson – Head of School – School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences  - University of Plymouth, Dr Nigel Richardson – Head of Department of Geography – Edge Hill University, Professor George Talbot – Dean of Arts & Sciences – Edge Hill University, Professor Gerald Roberts – Head of Department – Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences – Birkbeck College, Prof. Gavin Gillmore – Head of School – Geography, Geology and Environment – University of Kingston, Prof Peter Cawood – Chair in Geology of the Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences – University of St. Andrews.

We are writing to you in connection with our latest report, which analyses the relationships between science and academia, PR companies and the fossil fuel industry.  Your University or organisation has been cited in connection with PR reports generated by the industry, and the conflicting professional or institutional roles or interests of those involved, which lead to questions about bias. Furthermore, the use of ‘scientists’ to represent the Government and industry case, and the reports they have produced to justify government policy, raise questions of official bias within the use of science based evidence.

Our report illustrates the dangers of the close relationships between institutions such as yours and the industry, and how this can seriously damage public confidence and trust in scientific research, academia and your institution, which is now under question.

Our conclusions question and undermine the four pillars (reports) that the Government and industry have relied upon to support their case for exploiting shale gas in the UK.  The four scientific reviews commissioned by Government agencies are as follows:

• The Royal Society/Royal Academy of Engineering review of shale gas (2012);

• The Mackay-Stone review of the climate impacts of shale gas (2013);

• The Public Health England (PHE) review of the health impacts of shale gas (2014);

• The Scottish Government commissioned its own expert study on unconventional gas.

Is it normal practice for your Professors to engage in supporting PR exercises on behalf of the fossil fuel industry, lending their credentials and those of your institution to support non-scientific arguments?  For example, the Guardian open letter (case study 5) and the activities of the Science Media Centre (case study 4)?

We would like to know in light of our findings, whether you will take appropriate actions to protect the reputation of your institution, and what those will be?  We are writing to the Guardian with our report and we are certain they will be interested in its findings and your response.

We have also written to some of the named Professors within the report questioning the ethics of their involvement and whether they think it ethical for academics to put the credibility of their institutions at risk by engaging in PR initiatives from the oil and gas industry.

We look forward to hearing from you as soon as possible.

Sincerely,

Talk Fracking