Mat Hope

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Mat Hope is Editor of DeSmog UK. Mat began working with DeSmog UK as Deputy Editor in October 2016, shortly after the UK voted to leave the EU, and has been working on expanding our coverage of newly empowered networks. He writes, edits and commissions articles on all issues covered by DeSmog UK. He became DeSmog UK’s third Editor in October 2017. Mat previously worked as an Associate Editor for Nature Climate Change, handling its social science coverage and writing on how political, social and economic analysis is key to understanding the challenges associated with climate change. From 2012 to 2014, Mat was an analyst and writer for Carbon Brief, covering all facets of the UK’s energy and climate change debate, from fact-checking denier positions to reporting on the government’s role in international negotiations. Born in Cambridge, UK, Mat studied at the University of Bristol. In 2012, he completed his PhD on political communication strategies in US Congressional climate change debates, which won the Hilary Hartley prize as the best thesis in his department’s graduating class. Mat is a member of the National Union of Journalists.

Shell and Exxon’s Brent Oilfield Decommission Shows How Industry Hits Communities and Environment to the Very End

Read time: 8 mins
A diagram of the Brent oil field infrastructure

The North Sea oil and gas industry is the gift that keeps on giving when it comes to emitting dangerous greenhouse gases.

Shell and Exxon are packing up and moving out of the famous Brent oil and gas field in the North Sea. As a final hurrah, almost 800,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide will be emitted as four platforms are dismantled and parts are either left to erode in the ocean or moved onshore and recycled.

That’s equal to about five percent of the UK's North Sea industry’s annual emissions — from the start to very end, the Brent oil field continues to contribute to climate change.

But emitting hundreds of thousands of tonnes of dangerous greenhouse gases including carbon dioxide, nitrous dioxide and sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere is not the only environmental danger that comes with plugging and abandoning the wells.

UK Climate Diplomacy Staff Cut Again as Post-Brexit Links to Trump and US Deniers Strengthen

Read time: 3 mins

With Donald Trump set to become the President of the United States, the international climate change political scenery has shifted.

The president-elect’s stance on “quitting” the Paris Agreement seems to have softened in recent days. But countries are still going to need strong diplomatic teams to shore-up the global commitment to tackling climate change, reiterated at the Marrakech climate talks last week.

So it’s notable that the UK’s climate diplomacy team appears to weakening.

For the second year in a row, the foreign office reduced the number of people working on climate change and energy, documents released by the government this week under a freedom of information request show.

Polly Higgins — Meet the Lawyer Taking on Big Oil’s ‘Crimes Against Humanity’

Read time: 7 mins
Polly Higgins

Polly Higgins is a woman on the hunt. And you get the sense that, after decades of working towards holding powerful polluters to account, her prey may finally be in sight.

When you're looking at any crime, you're looking at who are your suspects,” she tells me in a soft Scottish accent that belies the hard truths she regularly delivers. “Within a corporate context, you're looking at CEOs and directors. Within a state context, it is ministers and Heads of State.”

'Let's Come Out Fighting' — Frack Free Four Activist Reflects On Life After Prison

Read time: 11 mins
Simon Roscoe Blevins, Credit: Kristian Buss (c)

Image: Kristian Buus ©


Simon Roscoe Blevins swears softly, compulsively, and often. The criminal justice system is “shit”, he says. Fracking? It’s “fucked”.

He’s a man familiar with both. Last year, he was one of four protestors jailed for stopping a convoy of lorries going to a fracking site in Lancashire. His expletive-laden jibes aren’t borne of aggression, so much as a deep-rooted frustration about the politics of shale gas extraction in the UK.

Police Delayed Review of Tactics for Controlling Fracking Protest as Conflict Escalated, Leaked Emails Show

Read time: 17 mins
Drawing of police guarding a fracking site

Police have been criticised for repeatedly delaying a review of official guidance for policing fracking protests after a cache of leaked correspondence highlighted ongoing problems with the consultation process. More than two years after the review was first promised, DeSmog and the Guardian can exclusively reveal it has now been delayed for a fifth time.

Dozens of leaked emails between the National Police Chiefs Council (NPCC) Lead on Shale Gas and Oil Exploration — Lancashire Assistant Chief Constable Terry Woods — and Green MEP Keith Taylor show how the process has been repeatedly delayed, with the review’s remit changing without any prior warning.

And So Ends 30 Years of Climate Science Denial — Christopher Booker Has Written His Last Telegraph Column

Read time: 3 mins
Christopher Booker column

30 years after he first graced the Sunday Telegraph’s comment pages, Christopher Booker has at last put down his pen. With the death of his column goes one of the last remaining regular outlets for outright climate science denial in the UK’s mainstream press.

Of course, he wasn’t going to go quietly. In his final column, he runs down what he sees as his greatest achievements, which of course he says includes challenging mainstream climate science and the UK’s decarbonisation project.

Government's Pro-Fracking Planning Policy Ruled Unlawful

Read time: 3 mins
Lancashire frack pad

A failure to recognise the latest science around the negative climate impacts of fracking means the government may now have to revise some parts of its national planning policy.

A judge has ruled that the government failed to consider scientific evidence presented by campaign group Talk Fracking when revising the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This is despite such evidence having “a direct bearing upon a key element of the evidence base for the proposed policy and its relationship to climate change effects”, the judge said.

Revealed: How the Tobacco and Fossil Fuel Industries Fund Disinformation Campaigns Around the World

Read time: 11 mins
fossil fuels and tobacco funding

Fossil fuel companies have a long history of adopting public relations strategies straight from the tobacco industry's playbook. But a new analysis shows the two industries’ relationship goes much deeper — right down to funding the same organisations to do their dirty work.

MIT Associate Professor David Hsu analyzed organisations in DeSmog’s disinformation database and the Guardian’s tobacco database and found 35 thinktanks based in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand that promote both the tobacco and fossil fuel industries’ interests.

Poll: Most Brits Think Climate Change is a Major Threat, UKIP Supporters Less So

Read time: 3 mins
UKIP rosette

Correction 11 February 2019: This article was amended to correct the statistics on populist parties and political polarisation. The headline was also amended.

Most Brits consider climate change to be the greatest threat to the UK. But not everyone is worried. As you may expect, there are some significant political and demographic differences between those who list 'climate change' as the biggest threat, and those that are more worried about North Korea or Isis.

If you’re on the left and identify as a woman, you’re much more likely to think climate change is a threat. But if you’re a politically right-wing or a man, you’re much less likely to be worrying about global warming, according to a new report from Pew Research Centre.

Thinktank with Ties to Climate Science Denial Censured by Charity Commission for Hard Brexit Lobbying

Read time: 3 mins

A prominent London thinktank has been censured by the Charity Commission for explicitly lobbying for a hard Brexit.

The commission said the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) had breached rules regarding political activity, which are meant to prevent charities campaigning on issues outside of their charitable remit.

The IEA is officially registered as an educational charity. The commission ruled that the IEA's ‘Plan A+’ report was “calling for a change in government policy and for a particular approach to the UK’s exit from the European Union”, which “does not further educational purposes, and so constitutes a breach”.

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