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Matt Ridley

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Matt Ridley aka Viscount Ridley is a science writer and AGW denier on the Academic Advisory Council of the denialist Global Warming Policy Foundation.

General Information

Matt Ridley is an English science writer, journalist, zoologist and businessman. He was born in Northumberland, in the North East of England, in 1958. Ridley is most famous for his books, which mainly focus on evolution and genetics, but he has also written for the Daily Telegraph, Sunday Telegraph, the Times, the Guardian, New Scientist, New Statesman, Time, Newsweek, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal. In 1983, he joined the Economist as science correspondent and, by 1992, he had worked his way up through the ranks (becoming science and technology editor and then Washington correspondent) until 1992, when he held the position of American editor.

Ridley was educated at Eton College and went on to study zoology at Magdalen College, Oxford, where he was awarded a first. He stayed on at Oxford to complete his zoology doctorate in 1983. He has an honourary Doctorate of Science from Buckingham University 2003 [1] He is the nephew of the former Conservative Party politician Nicholas Ridley [2]

He has held directorships at Northern Investors (1994-present) and the International Centre for Life, in Newcastle, (1996-2003). Ridley is former chairman of Northern Rock Plc (2004-2007) and Northern 2 Venture (1999-present).

AGW denial

Climate expertise unclear

It is unclear what expertise Mr. Ridley has developed that leaves him more qualified to assess climate science than 97% of actively publishing climate scientists.

2011 "skeptic bingo" denier speech

A speech Ridley gave in 2011 was "a textbook Gish Gallop, full of false claims, logical fallacies, and trivially true but irrelevant “facts”. It was...“skeptic” bingo", reported the host of the blog The Way Things Break; he characterized Ridley as "a techno-optimist of the Lomborgian mold", and debunked a few of Ridley's claims[3], noting inconsistencies and errors like:

"Ridley wants us to know that the climate changed rapidly in the past- but yet we’re also supposed to believe that climate sensitivity is very small. He also flubs basic concepts- equilibrium sensitivity is not the same thing as transient sensitivity..."


Ridley sits on the advisory councils of the British lobby groups Sense About Science and Reform.

He is also on the Academic Advisory Council of the denialist Global Warming Policy Foundation[4]

Northern Rock bank failure

The failure of Northern Rock was the first run on a British Bank since 1878. Under his chairmanship, the bank pursued what the Treasury select committee later described as a "high-risk, reckless business strategy".[5] MPs identified the directors of Northern Rock as "the principal authors of the difficulties that the company has faced". They singled Ridley out for having failed "to provide against the risks that [Northern Rock] was taking and to act as an effective restraining force on the strategy of the executive members".[6]


Prizes and awards



Resources and articles

The Ridley Riddle Part One: The Red Queen
The Ridley Riddle Part Two: The White Queen
The Ridley Riddle Part Three: Like a Northern Rock

Related Sourcewatch


  1. "[1]"
  2. "[2]"
  3. Things Break (pseudonym) (2011-11-03). Matt Ridley needs to take some advice from Matt Ridley. The Way Things Break. Retrieved on 2011-11-03.
  4. "[3]"
  5. Fifth Report. House of Commons - Treasury (2008-01-26(?)). Retrieved on 2011-11-03. “The period from Friday 14 September 2007 to Monday 17 September saw the first run on the retail deposits of a United Kingdom bank since Victorian times. We analyse the causes and consequences of the run on Northern Rock, and the lessons to be learnt from it. We emphasise the advantages of legislative change on a cross-party basis and make proposals for such change, and for reforms of the Tripartite arrangements, on that basis.”
  6. George Monbiot (2010-05-31). This state-hating free marketeer ignores his own failed experiment. The Guardian. Retrieved on 2011-11-03.