A history lecturer at the University of Exeter's Penryn Campus has supported the actions of Just Stop Oil activists who sprayed paint over buildings on the site last week.

In a letter to the Packet, Dr Timothy Cooper said he was not surprised by the Just Stop Oil protest last Thursday, October 12.

At around 11am, Ethan Paul, aged 22, a renewable energy engineering graduate from Exeter, used buckets of paint and spray cans to cover the walls of the University of Exeter’s Stella Turk building at Penryn.

At the same time, on the opposite side of the road, Holly Astle, 28, a Falmouth illustration alumna, used a fire extinguisher to paint the Falmouth Link Building.

Falmouth Packet: A protestor sits in front of one of the painted buildingsA protestor sits in front of one of the painted buildings (Image: Supplied)

The University of Exeter recently announced a fourteen million pound research partnership with the oil company Shell. The £14.7m, five-year deal with Shell was signed in November for a project on “carbon storage and sequestration”.

A spokesperson for the University of Exeter told the Guardian website that its work with Shell would “contribute to the global race to net zero”.

But Dr Cooper said by taking the money the university was failing in its responsibility of care for young people.

“Historical research is now revealing that oil companies and their lobby organisations knew of the environmental effects of their products in the 1960s,” says Dr Cooper in his letter.

“As early as the 1970s, some were privately using sophisticated modelling techniques that accurately predicted the impact of global warming and warned it could be disastrous.

“Despite this, oil companies chose to help organise disinformation by funding lobby organisations such as the American Petroleum Institute. Shell helped fund climate denialism at a critical time through its membership of the Global Climate Coalition until 1997.

“The science underpinning human-caused global warming has been known for many decades. Despite this, half of all industrial era greenhouse gas emissions have taken place in the last 25 years. We should not be surprised that our children and grandchildren now turn and point to our failure to protect them.

“Universities have contributed significantly to that failure. By taking oil money, the University of Exeter is still failing its responsibility of care for young people.”

Two people were arrested on suspicion of criminal damage by Devon and Cornwall Police following the incident.