Matt Ridley is a powerhouse of climate science denial in Britain. The self-styled 'Rational Optimist' is an advisor to Lord Nigel Lawson’s secretly funded charity, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), and acts as a one-man think tank to his brother-in-law, the sacked environment secretary Owen Paterson. Ridley writes frequently in the Wall Street Journal and The Times promoting fossil fuels while at the same time earning considerable wealth from coal mining.
At the beginning of 2015, the landed aristocrat started work on two new profitable opencast coal mines. These are situated close to his Grade I listed stately home and acres of beautiful national park that make up a 8,500-acre estate which the White-Ridley family has owned in Northumbria since 1700. 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 8.3m tonnes of coal, worth an estimated £336m on the spot market. This DeSmog UK investigative series exposes these vested interests.