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Exeter University tops list of UK unis receiving highest funding from fossil fuel sources

Exeter is receiving over twice the funding of the runner-up institution


Exeter University is the largest beneficiary of fossil fuel funding among UK universities.

Data from climate journalism site, DeSmog, revealed that Exeter University is the largest beneficiary of fossil fuel funding among UK universities, with a staggering £14.7 million in funding since 2022. This is when we naively believed that Penny C’s bins were the worst of our ecological footprint.

In second place, Imperial College receives a sizeable £6,725,769 in funding from oil, gas, and coal companies: A figure eclipsed by a university with students that will ironically “bleed green” for a Wednesday TP ticket.

DeSmog’s data was released just two months after a protest by Just Stop Oil disrupted the first day of Exeter University’s graduation week, where orange paint was used to coat the Forum’s steps.

Many UK universities continue to see an increase in total funding from fossil fuel companies despite pledges to stop accepting such funds. Between 2017 and December 2021, they accepted £89 million, with an additional £40.9 million since then, as reported by The Guardian.

The £14.7 million in funding results from an agreement signed by Exeter University with the oil giant Shell in November 2022, as part of an existing agreement framework established by the each institute in 2017. This agreement coincided with the announcement of a promising research program between Shell and the university, aimed at contributing to the efforts in the race for carbon sequestration (which refers to the prevention of carbon emissions from entering the atmosphere).

A spokesperson for the university told DeSmog that the institute’s work with Shell will “contribute to the race of net zero”. This research program is in line with Shell’s goal of becoming a net-zero emissions energy business by 2050.

It may appear a farce to label Exeter as the largest beneficiary of fossil fuels among UK universities, given that our investments are expectedly focused on carbon sequestration and reducing dependence on fossil fuels. However, a revealing article published by the Exeter Students’ Guild in May 2023 ensures to out-farce this farce faster than a father can trans-far their silly Exetah student their trust fund.

The release of DeSmog’s data provides insight into Exeter’s questionable ecological footprint and gives us, as students, an opportunity to reflect on our impact on the wider world. Let’s aspire to “bleed green” out of pride in our university rather than for the lure of an extra mil or two in fossil fuel funding, however tempting: And this is coming from someone with a maxed out overdraft not even three weeks into term.