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.

Campaigners Call on World Sailing and Ben Ainslie to Oppose 'Shameful' INEOS America's Cup Greenwash

Read time: 4 mins
Ineos sailing

A group of campaigners and academics has called on World Sailing’s governing body to oppose US chemical giant INEOS’ sponsorship of the UK’s America’s Cup team due to the company’s fracking activity. An open letter to the body, delivered to World Sailing's London headquarters today, says the sponsorship deal goes against the “environmentally aware behaviour” that organsiation “claims to embody and promote”.

INEOS describes itself as “the biggest player in the UK shale gas industry”. It has licenses to explore for shale gas that cover more than one million acres of the UK.

Campaigners Respond to 'Game Changing' IPCC 1.5°C Report

Read time: 13 mins
Climate activists

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released a report that outlines the “unprecedented” changes necessary to prevent the world warming by more than 1.5°C. Climate campaigners have called the report “game-changing”.

While the target may be ambitious, the IPCC scientists say there are “significant” benefits to holding warming to that level, and outline a number ways it can be achieved with current and new technologies.

Campaigners Slam 'Absurd' Government Fracking Plans as IPCC Scientists Warn of Climate Crisis

Read time: 3 mins
Fracking protestors outside BEIS

The government’s proposal to change planning rules to make it easier to frack the UK is an “insult to local democracy”, campaigners say.

Around 20 protestors gathered to erect a four-meter fracking rig outside the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) to protest against plans to make fracking sites “permitted developments”. Under the plans, fracking sites would be able to automatically proceed, rather than having to receive consent from local authorities.

The protest took place on the day the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) released a report outlining the benefits of limiting warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, and suggesting a rapid phasing out of fossil fuels was necessary to achieve the goal.

Fossil Fuel Companies Knew How Hard Keeping to IPCC's 'Unprecedented' 1.5C Limit Would Be — And Did Nothing

Read time: 6 mins
Benxi steel industry

The scientists are clear: “rapid, far-reaching and unprecedented changes in all aspects of society” are needed if the humans are going to prevent the world warming by more than 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels.

This news — emanating from the release of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) mammoth new special report —  comes as a surprise to almost no-one. Least of all the fossil fuel industry, which has known for decades that the carbon budget that keeps that goal within reach has been rapidly depleting thanks to its products.

Science Museum Actively Pursuing Fossil Fuel Sponsors Despite Climate Criticisms, Emails Reveal

Read time: 4 mins
Science Museum

The Science Museum continues to pursue a close relationship with fossil fuel companies despite campaigners’ repeated calls for the companies to be dropped as sponsor due to their contribution to climate change, emails obtained through a freedom of information request reveal.

The disclosure, obtained by campaign group Culture Unstained, comes two weeks before the start of Manchester Science Festival, where Shell is controversially sponsoring an exhibition. A low carbon NGO has already cut ties with the festival in protest at the deal.

Only You Can Keep Us Reporting from the Frontlines of Climate Activism

Read time: 5 mins
Fracking protest coverage

Whether it’s seeing a local resident break down in tears, being hassled by the police, or being mysteriously followed for miles while driving around site boundaries - some of the most intense experiences I’ve had as a journalist have been while covering environmental activism.

On every visit, I am shocked and impressed by the commitment of local people standing up to companies that want to use and abuse their communities for corporate gain. I am also shocked that I’m often the first journalist these people have spoken to.

The Day Fracking Protest Became a Jailable Offence — In Pictures

Read time: 2 mins
protestors lie in front of lorries

On Tuesday 25 July 2017, four protestors stopped a convoy of lorries going to a fracking site in Lancashire. Today, three of the activists were sentenced to custodial sentences.

Residents of Little Plumpton have been fighting Cuadrilla Resources' plans for years. What started as a handful of local residents bemused that a new fossil fuel industry was about to start in their village escalated into a resistance of national symbolic importance

Today's ruling represents a trend of escalation between environmental protestors and the police — from mass arrests of Dakota Access pipeline protestors in the US, to UK police abusing their powers when going undercover in environmental movements, and mass online surveillance of fracking activists via Facebook.

'If We Can Succeed Then So Can You': Campaigners Celebrate Rejection of Major Coal Mine Extension at Nant Llesg

Read time: 2 mins

A major new coal development in Wales has been rejected, once and for all, by the UK’s Planning Inspectorate.

Dawn Bowden, assembly member for Merthyr Tydfyll and Rhymney, where a major extension to an existing coal mine had been proposed, wrote on Facebook:

I have just been advised that Planning Inspectorate has written to the legal representatives of the appellants for the Nant Llesg appeal advising them that the appeal will now be closed, and no further action will be taken with it.”

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