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.

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Read time: 1 min

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UK Declares a Climate Emergency as Scientists Recommend Going 'Net-Zero' by 2050

Read time: 3 mins
Uk parliament

The UK parliament has declared a “climate emergency”, though the legislative and policy implications of the indicative motion remain unclear.

Westminster became the third of the UK’s legislatures to declare to give the state of the climate “emergency” status, following the Scottish parliament and Welsh Assembly. Dozens of councils have also declared climate emergencies.

Two Weeks of Extinction Rebellion — In Pictures

Read time: 2 mins
Extinction Rebellion in parliament square

For a sunny fortnight in Spring 2019, you couldn’t scroll through a newsfeed without seeing the words “Extinction Rebellion”.

Thousands of protestors occupied five sites in London over the Easter weekend, demanding the government take urgent action to combat climate change. People from all walks of life were ready to sit, sing, dance, and rebel in an effort to raise awareness of the urgency of the problem.

How Big Oil Tried to Capture the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Read time: 10 mins
IPCC synthesis report meeting GCC

A secretive fossil fuel lobby group undertook a decades-long campaign to undermine mainstream climate science while spending hundreds of thousands of dollars to try and influence major scientific reports, a tranche of newly released documents shows.

The Global Climate Coalition (GCC) was a fossil-fuel backed lobby group active in the mid-90s and early 2000s. A collection of briefings, meeting minutes, notes, and correspondence from the group, released by the Climate Investigations Centre in collaboration with DeSmog and Climate Liability News, show how the GCC tried to manipulate the UN’s official scientific advisory body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).

Polly Higgins — 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.”

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.

'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.

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.

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