Brendan Montague's blog

How the Climategate Email Hack Laid the Foundations for the Fake News Era

Read time: 8 mins
I wish this were fake news poster

DeSmog UK’s first editor, Brendan Montague, shares his personal experience of investigating climate science deniers at the time of Climategate.

Lord Lawson stepped to the curb hailing a taxi. We had both been at an event in a swish Fleet Street hotel discussing illegal phone hacking by journalists. I had followed him out onto the pavement and asked whether the hacking of scientists' emails from the servers of the British university had been unethical — as well as criminal. “It was a whistleblower,” he scowled. The black taxi took off, leaving me in a cloud of diesel.

Power Protesters Blockade Gas Power Station to Launch 'Groundswell' Climate Campaign

Read time: 3 mins

Protesters inspired by the success of the occupation of Lord Ridley’s opencast mine continued a wave of direct actions by storming the site of a new gas fired power station this morning.

The activists, from the campaign group Reclaim the Power, blockaded the construction site of the Carrington Gas Fired Power Station in Salford, to the north west of Manchester, from about 7am today.

The action is part of “Groundswell” - a year of protests planned by climate change activists to put pressure on government and industry “to keep fossil fuels in the ground in 2016.”

Has Tory Climate Denier Matt Ridley Benefited Financially From his Attack on Wind Farms?

Read time: 5 mins

Lord Matt Ridley is Britain’s most prominent climate denier, and also profits from a huge opencast mine on his sprawling family estate to the north of Newcastle

The Tory peer and Times columnist declares an interest in coal but has done everything he can to downplay any suggestion that he may benefit financially from his anti-climate science views, or that his financial interest may influence his opinions

However, an investigation by DeSmog UK established that the company mining coal from his country estate is facing heavy losses from investments in wind and at the same time increased coal production on the Ridley estate. The firm also has £54m in “wind farm secured loans”.

Climate Denying GWPF Academic Chairman Ross McKitrick Resigns In Wake of Greenpeace Sting

Read time: 3 mins

Climate denier Professor Ross McKitrick has resigned as chairman of the academic advisory council of Lord Lawson’s Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), according to a statement released by the charity.

The senior fellow of the ExxonMobil- and Koch-funded Fraser Institute in Canada told DeSmog UK he had informed Lord Lawson at the GWPF in September that he intended to stand down citing increased work commitments.

The academic confirmed his stepping down had nothing to do with the high-profile investigative sting by Greenpeace last month which raised serious concerns about the council’s claims to conduct peer reviews of its publications.

Matt Ridley Mining Firm Hit with £100,000 Bill for Climate Protest

Read time: 4 mins

The coal mining company working on climate denier Matt Ridley's country estate tried and failed during a court case yesterday to impose £100,000 in costs on eight protesters who had successfully closed down its operations last October. This represents the total estimated loss for the day the mine was shut.

The climate activists will have to pay almost £10,000 to Banks Group to cover wages for miners unable to work when the protesters locked themselves to a large excavator and blocaded the only road onto the site at Blagdon, north of Newcastle.

The campaigners snuck onto Ridley's estate, which is home to Shotton Surface Mine, before dawn on October 26, where they chained themselves to machinery, while others lay across the entrance with their hands locked inside concrete-filled tubes.

Climate Hustle Is the Deniers' Last Desperate Gamble

Read time: 7 mins

Surrealism reached a pitch this week in Paris that Salvador Dali could only dream about. The premier of the independent film Climate Hustle began in a maelstrom of the bizarre. But for me, a single moment seriously stress-tested my own sanity.

But first, the context. Delegates representing almost 200 countries are currently at the COP21 conference in Paris burning the midnight oil negotiating a new international agreement aimed at reducing carbon emissions and preventing devastating climate change.

Amber Rudd, the Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change, is heading the UK team and also the European Union block. Barack Obama, the US president; David Cameron, the UK prime minister and Francois Hollande, the French president, will return to Paris at the end of the week to announce the final agreement.

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