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.

How the Rise of Populism is Fuelling Climate Science Denial Across Europe

Read time: 9 mins
In Europe, populism points one way, climate science the other

By Mat Hope, DeSmog, and Eduardo Robaina, La Marea/Climática. Lee en español en Climática.

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.  

In December 2015, European Commission President Jean-Claude Junker stood at a podium to hail the world’s first comprehensive agreement to take action on climate change, and told the world, “the Paris Agreement now reflects our ambition worldwide.” While the European Union’s leaders stand by that sentiment, a lot has changed since then.

The Union is facing a credibility crisis, threatened by Brexit and the rise of populism across the continent. Its leadership is facing calls to simultaneously increase its ambition to tackle climate change and cut the very regulations that would deliver reductions in globe-warming pollution.

Climate policy — a seemingly unlikely candidate for controversy back in 2015 — is suddenly at the heart of a European power struggle.

Attacks on Greta Thunberg Are About More Than Anti-Environmentalism

Read time: 6 mins
Greta Thunberg mural

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 250 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.  

Freak yachting accidents do happen…”

That was how British businessman, Trump ally, and Brexit bankroller Arron Banks responded to the news that Greta Thunberg, the Swedish teen who inspired the school climate strikes movement, was sailing to America to attend the UN Climate Action Summit. His scorn was not unique. 

Many people have already spilled thousands of words of commentary explaining how personal attacks on Greta — often lobbed by old white men, sometimes mocking her Aspergers — are unacceptable. But understanding where those attackers come from, ideologically and professionally, casts an important light on some of their dark statements.

Introducing 'The New Climate Activism' Series

Read time: 2 mins
The New Climate Activism

It has been a whirlwind year for climate activism. From Greta Thunberg's explosion onto the public stage at the annual UN climate negotiations in December 2018, to hitherto hidden masses shutting down the streets of London the following summer, climate activism has been rejuvenated.

But how new is this movement? And what has it changed (if anything)? We commissioned a special collection of work to try and probe these issues.

BBC Updates Editorial Guidelines to Improve Scrutiny of Thinktank Pundits

Read time: 3 mins
BBC building

The BBC has altered its editorial guidelines after persistent calls for the organisation to improve transparency around the commentators to which it gives a platform.

The broadcaster has now added “think tanks” to a list of groups that it says presenters and producers should “not automatically assume … are unbiased”.  “Appropriate information about their affiliations, funding and particular viewpoints should be made available to the audience, when relevant to the context,” the guidelines say.

The change could have significant ramifications for representatives of anti-regulation, pro-Brexit think tanks and campaign groups based in and around offices at 55 Tufton Street, including the UK's principal climate science denial campaign group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, on which DeSmog has extensively reported.

Database Reveals How Much Pollution Big Oil’s Top Execs Are Responsible for Each Year

Read time: 6 mins
Bob Dudley

Thanks to recent analysis, we now know how much of global greenhouse gas emissions big oil companies like Exxon and Shell are responsible for. But it’s easy to forget that behind these corporate behemoths are powerful individuals, making decisions about where the companies should drill next. 

And thanks to a new database, we can now pinpoint how much of the companies’ pollution each executive is accountable for.

Divestment League Table: Only Seven UK Universities Committed to Investing in Renewables

Read time: 3 mins
University of Edinburgh

Corrected 17/07/2019: The headline and content of this article were changed to reflect corrections to errors in the original data.

With students across the world taking to the streets to draw awareness to the climate crisis, UK universities are cleaning up their act — bit by bit.

76 universities now have pledges to divest from fossil fuel companies, according to campaign group People & Planet’s updated University League Table. But only seven have commitments to directly invest in renewables, the data reveals.

The ‘Historical Jigsaw of Climate Deception’: Private Notes Show How Big Oil Spread Climate Science Denial

Read time: 6 mins
Exxon Knew billboard

We’ve all heard the dodgy arguments: ‘the science is uncertain’, ‘climate change is natural, not down to humans’, ‘science has been hijacked by politics’… Now a new cache of documents sheds light on the origins of the disinformation.  

In another verse of a now familiar refrain, a fossil fuel industry group in the 1990s publicly promoted arguments to undermine confidence in climate science while internally acknowledging their products were driving up temperatures.  

Support DeSmog: Become a Patron Today!

Read time: 1 min

Do you believe the world is facing a climate crisis? Do you think those responsible for it should be held to account? If so, support DeSmog UK today!

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