The climate denier and Tory peer whose coal mine was targeted by protesters has been quietly lobbying government, documents newly released under Freedom of Information rules confirm.
Matt Ridley, author of Rational Optimist, benefits financially from millions of tonnes of coal extracted from open-cast mines on his Blagdon Estate, just north of Newcastle.
But he does not mention this vested interest in any of the letters sent to Baroness (Sandy) Verma attacking government subsidies to renewable energy, a commercial rival to coal.
Ridley demands to know the cost of climate change policies for homes and businesses and expresses his fury at apparently being fobbed off in an earlier response.
He wrote: “I know that a number of pressure groups and consumer organisations are understandably irritated by this refusal to provide the information, and I know that many businesses require price impact information and rely on it.
“It surely represents a reduction in the governmental transparency to withhold it, in abrupt contrast to the promises this government has rightly made.”
Ridley himself refuses to say how much money he makes from the coal mined on his estate.
Embarrassingly for the Viscount, his attacks on climate policy in further letters are roundly rebuffed. Indeed his fellow peers defend renewable energy.
Lord Borne, a parliamentary under-secretary at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, praised Bill Gates for investing $1 billion in energy efficiency “including battery storage, next-generation nuclear and free air carbon capturce”.
He added: “We need a portfolio of technologies to be developed in order to meet our own 2050 targets.
“Technology innovation will help improve the efficiency and effectiveness of our existing low carbon technologies, but collaborative research is also needed for breakthrough, novel technologies too.”
The Freedom of Information request was made by Guy Shrubsole, who later D-locked himself to an excavator on Lord Ridley’s coal mine, and along with follow protesters, closed the mine for the day.