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The Matt Ridley prize for exposing environmental pseudoscience was inspired by Matt’s discovery that a Ridley family trust was making money from a wind farm company. All too often, hysterical groupthink, based on bad science, creates a climate in which politicians intone ‘something must be done’ and throw millions at pointless schemes. So the Ridley prize is awarded each year to the essay that best exposes the pseudoscience behind the government’s pet eco-projects.


Examples of pseudoscience include, says Matt, ‘the idea that wind power is good for the climate, or that biofuels are good for the rain forest or that organic farming is good for the planet or that climate change is a bigger extinction threat than invasive species’.

It was awarded for the first time last year to Pippa Cuckson who wrote about the environmental damage caused by hydroelectric power.

This year’s prize is for £5,000, reflecting the post-tax sum Matt’s trust receives. The prize is for an essay of 1,000 to 2,000 words and is open to writers of any age and residents of any country. Essays that have previously been published elsewhere can be submitted. The competition closes this year on 25 August.

Entries should be sent to:

The Spectator, 5 July 2013