Zoologist Matt Ridley Should Stick to Animals Instead of Butchering Climate Science

Since when is zoologist Matt Ridley an expert on climate change science?

Yes, I get it. The state of science versus opinion is at an all-time low in human history, with perhaps the Dark Ages the only exception.

There is currently a “debate” being led by Matt Ridley (you can read all about Ridley's complete lack of credentials in the field of climate science here) brewing in the right wing press about a possible “subtle drop” in the low end prediction of how fast global warming is occurring. Ridley's quibbling comes, not coincidentally, less than two weeks before the release of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a favorite whipping post of the climate denier echo chamber. 

Ridley and his pals at the Global Warming Policy Foundation have taken to the airwaves and the right-wing tabloids ahead of the official IPCC release date to try and pre-emptively discredit the IPCC's conclusions. It is a classic political move to get out first and fast before your opponents have a chance to tell their side of the story.

What they want to do (again) is create the appearance of controversy and debate to generate headlines and the perception that climate change science is not as solid as scientists say it is. Doubt is their product.

Hopefully the mainstream media will look past the thin veneer of credibility of Matt Ridley and the Global Warming Policy Foundation, and instead speak to actual climate scientists instead of an expert on animals. The issue of climate change and the state of the science is too important to leave to rookies.   

As for what is actually contained in the IPCC report, as one real live and trained climate scientist, Dr. Andrew Weaver, told the National Post:

What we’ve learned since 2007 is not a lot of new stuff. It’s basically underscoring with greater certainty what we’ve already said. To capture it in a sound bite, it’s essentially more of the same, with a little more certainty…. Scientists have done their job. Now it’s time for policymakers and politicians to do theirs if we as a society want to deal with this problem. Here we are, in 2013, with another massive report. It’s just saying the same thing.”

In other words, the news is just as bad as it was the last time the IPCC issued a report, no matter how many amateur experts want us to think differently. 


Ridley needs to come clean. Who funds the GWPF? Where is their basic research and ground work that qualifies them as a credible voice? Why should he be regarded as authoritative?

We will not get any of this out of Ridley: we have the misfortune to be caught in circumstances that are weakening the MSM's ability to cover science [or politics, for that matter] with the care and detail it needs. The sliding fortunes of the media are coming just at the time when we need well-resourced and independent coverage that has wide circulation… We now have the situation where a down-sizing media group [News Corp] with global circulation has outsourced its climate science reporting to low-accountability lobby groups with a specific brief to manage perceptions in favour of fossil fuel corporations. The coal / oil bloc is now writing copy like Ridley's for a large part of the MSM…and  federal and state governments like Australia's and Canada's are having their energy and environmental policy distorted by their resource dependence to a greater degree than ever.

A GWPH brochure came across my my desk advising everyone to invest in shale natural gas development.

It came from the director of marketing, and yes, I work in oil and gas.

I need not point out what a failure their economic advice has been.  Over investment in natural gas has seriously damaged the drilling industry.  To my knowledge gas is now a dirty word to local geophysicists.