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Greta Thunberg cancels festival talk over fossil fuel sponsor



Greta Thunberg cancels festival talk over fossil fuel sponsor. Edinburg News

Climate activist Greta Thunberg has pulled out of the upcoming Edinburgh International Book Festival, citing concerns over “greenwashing” by event organisers. 

Thunberg expressed disappointment in the festival’s decision to accept sponsorship from Baillie Gifford, an investment management company with alleged ties to fossil fuels.

Baillie Gifford defended its position, asserting that only 2% of client funds were invested in fossil fuel-related businesses, well below the market average of 11%. The company emphasised its support for open debate and discussion, highlighting its role in sponsoring the festival for nearly two decades.

The festival’s director, Nick Barley, echoed the importance of such sponsorships for the event’s survival and praised Baillie Gifford’s contributions to tackling the climate crisis. Thunberg’s canceled appearance, where she was scheduled to discuss her book “The Climate Book,” came as a disappointment to both organisers and attendees, with tickets for her talk sold out.

Thunberg expressed her stance on the matter, saying, “Greenwashing efforts by the fossil fuel industry, including sponsorship of cultural events, allow them to keep the social licence to continue operating. I cannot and do not want to be associated with events that accept this kind of sponsorship.”

The festival has issued an apology to ticket holders and assured them of refunds. Thunberg’s decision to withdraw from the festival highlights the growing tension between climate activists and corporate sponsorships, raising questions about the ethical considerations surrounding such partnerships.

The controversy underscores the broader debate surrounding the role of corporations in addressing climate change and whether financial contributions from companies with even minor fossil fuel ties should be accepted within the context of climate-focused events.

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