DeSmog

Happy 1st Birthday, DeSmog UK – A Look Back Over the Year

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One year ago today, DeSmog UK was launched to combat climate denial in Europe ahead of the Paris climate talks in December.

We have certainly managed to come a long way since then. We’d like to thank all our readers for your continued support and engagement.

And, a quick shout-out to our more high-profile followers: BBC, Bloomberg, Koch Industries, ExxonMobil, Defra, the Met Office and the House of Commons; we’re thrilled to have you all!

So, whether you’re just tuning in now or have followed us from the start, here are our top five favourite stories from the past year, in no particular order.

1. Exposed: Lawson’s Climate Denial Donors’ Links to Tobacco and Oil Backed Think Tank

Until this time, the former chancellor – who retains considerable influence over his successor, George Osborne – had successfully kept the identities of almost all his financial backers a closely guarded secret for five years after the Global Warming Policy Foundation was first launched, despite the consternation of MPs and climate campaigners alike.

2. Exclusive: Koch Industries Lobbying Europe on Environment, Energy and Free Trade

In July, DeSmog UK broke the story that, between 2012 and 2015, Koch Industries had spent up to £0.5 million on their European lobby efforts. Owned by Charles and David Koch, Koch Industries is known for funding climate denial groups.

3. The Creation of the UK Infrastructure Act

We kept a close eye on the hodgepodge Infrastructure Bill as it went through Parliament over the winter. This led us to reveal the 15 fossil fuel giants behind the controversial law to maximise UK oil and gas extraction that was embedded in the Act, as well as how the definition of fracking was changed.

4. Pope Francis Should Answer to ExxonMobil Rather Than God, Imply Climate Deniers

In April, we travelled to Rome as the clowns of the climate denial travelling circus pitched their tent in Vatican City to demand that Pope Francis ignore the dangers of global warming. (If you enjoyed this, you should check out our coverage of the Heartland Institute’s denial-a-palooza conference in Washington, DC.)

5. Matt ‘King Coal’ Ridley’s Climate Denial

Matt Ridley is a powerhouse of climate denial in Britain. At the beginning of 2015, the landed aristocrat started work on two new profitable open cast coal mines. The peer’s Blagdon Estate, held by a family trust, today covers a significant part of the open mines at Shotton and Brenkley Lane, north of Newcastle, which together contain 8.3 million tonnes of coal, worth an estimated £336 million on the spot market.

Bonus round: We’ve been telling the history of climate change denial. In order to challenge climate denial, we must first understand the cause. In our exclusive series, DeSmog UK charts the origins of climate denial through to its earliest roots in the neoliberal movement. 

So, as we head into year two, if you haven’t already, do take a minute to follow us on Twitter and Facebook, and sign up for our newsletter on our homepage, so that you can stay up to speed on all of DeSmog UK’s activities.

Photo via Pixabay

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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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