Students used ABBA lyrics to urge the University to take urgent actionMarine Mercier / Cambridge Climate Justice with permission for Varsity

Student protesters staged a flashmob in Grand Arcade shopping centre on Friday (01/12), using ABBA lyrics to draw attention to the University’s “delay” on climate action.

Student members of Cambridge Climate Justice (CCJ) sang a parody of ABBA’s ‘Money, Money, Money’ in the shopping centre, dramatising the ongoing research partnerships between Cambridge and fossil fuel companies.

The action comes after the University accepted the recommendations of the Topping report, which deemed that taking research funding from the fossil fuel industry poses “high reputational risk.”

These recommendations, however, were caveated with the appointment of a new Pro-Vice-Chancellor and the development of a “Climate Research Strategy,” which activists estimate have added a year to the University’s timeline for action.

CCJ’s parody of the ABBA song replaced the Swedish group’s chorus with: “All the greenwash they do, when they take the oil money, for fossil-fuelled research.”

Sam Hutton, a spokesperson for Cambridge Climate Justice, said: “ABBA made the point quite well: there’s something funny about the University continuing to accept polluters’ dirty money, limiting academic freedom, greenwashing Big Oil, and tarnishing the University’s reputation as a climate leader. We’re always going to call out this kind of behaviour, with music or without.”


Mountain View

University delays kicking oil companies out of research funding

Will Bajwa, another student involved in the action, said: “the latest delays to implementing the Topping Report form just part of a pattern of procrastination from Cambridge University.”

“We’ve had a vote on a vote, open letters on a vote on a vote, a report published months after the deadline: it’s all been delay, delay, delay. The planet is burning and they’re kicking the can down the road,” they continued.

Responding to allegations of delay, a University spokesperson said: “Work is already underway on the Topping Study’s recommendations. The proposed Pro-Vice-Chancellor with responsibility for sustainability will play a key part in driving progress on the University’s sustainability ambitions.”