Top US Environmental Group Calls Out Matt Ridley’s Climate Denial

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It seems Viscount Matt Ridley is gaining international recognition for his climate denial as US environmental advocacy group the Natural Resources Defence Council (NRDC) calls into question his “rational optimism”.

Labelling the coal mine owner “England’s most prominent global warming sceptic,” Brian Palmer of the NRDC’s onEarth magazine writes: “Ridley is one of the most capable spokesmen for climate change denial 2.0.”

With the highest respect for what Ridley has accomplished in a distinguished career, I believe his position amounts to climate change denial on stilts,” Palmer argues. “Ridley’s view is akin to an alcoholic saying he’s not in denial about his problem because he fully acknowledges that he sometimes drinks a beer. Denying the severity of a problem is to deny the problem itself.”

The article forms part of the NRDC’s series on international climate deniers. The group criticises Ridley for his “selective use of data” in order to downplay the severity of climate change, “slyly” omitting facts to suit his argument.

Ridley’s preferred tactic is to shade his characterization of the data in order to minimize the scale of the problem,” explains Palmer.

However, what the NRDC fails to highlight is that Ridley isn’t just a ‘climate denier abroad’ (in Britain he is a member of the notorious climate denying Global Warming Policy Foundation) but he also acts on their home turf in the US.

Ridley is a frequent contributor to the New York-based Wall Street Journal, with opinion articles including “Whatever Happened to Global Warming? and “Fossil Fuels Will Save the World (Really)”.

These articles subsequently formed the basis of coal giant Peabody Energy’s March 2015 submission to the White House in which the company declares that greenhouse gases are a “non-existent harm”.

In fact, Ridley was the most cited individual in this report, showing the penetrating impact of his sly style of denial.

Photo: IAB UK via Flickr

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Kyla is a freelance writer and editor with work appearing in the New York Times, National Geographic, HuffPost, Mother Jones, and Outside. She is also a member of the Society for Environmental Journalists.

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