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.

'Gas is Not a Solution to Climate Change’: Activists Interrupt Fossil Fuel Lobby Group Event at UN Climate Talks

Read time: 3 mins
Campaigners at COP24

Activists interrupted a keynote address by a gas industry lobbyist to demand the European Union do more to prove itself as a climate leader, and stem the flow of gas across the continent.

Around 30 activists conducted a “symbolic walk out” during a talk by Marco Alvera, president of lobby group GasNaturally. The campaigners rose from their seats as Alvera declared that the industry “fully supports the Paris Agreement” and said there was an opportunity for the gas industry to “capitalise” as other fossil fuels are phased out.

Countries that Blocked 'Welcoming' of Major Climate Science Report at UN Talks have Dozens of Delegates with Ties to Oil, Gas, and Mining

Read time: 3 mins
COP24 plenary

Dozens of delegates from four countries that forced the UN climate negotiations to weaken language around the acceptance of a major climate science report have ties to the oil, gas and mining industries.

At least 35 delegates from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Russia and the US are either currently employed or used to work for companies and organisations involved in the petrochemical and mining industries or lobbying on behalf of those industries.

On Saturday, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) “noted” the findings of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s (IPCC) landmark 1.5 degrees report at the annual talks in Katowice, Poland. Poor and undeveloped countries, small island states, Europeans and many others called to change the wording to “welcome” the study, Climate Home reported.

Sport, Fashion, and Tourism: Corporate Greenwash’s New Frontiers at the UN Climate Talks

Read time: 7 mins

What do Adidas, Hilton hotels, and the World Surfing League all have in common?

They’re all climate champions, apparently.

They also have a lot of customers and fans. Much more than most climate activists - just take a look at their Twitter followings - which could explain why this year’s annual UN climate talks welcomed them with open arms.

But are the industries serious about addressing the problem, or are they simply following a greenwash playbook rolled out by the fossil fuel industry each year at the talks?

US Donors Gave $177k to UK Climate Science Denying Global Warming Policy Foundation

Read time: 3 mins
Nigel Lawson

The UK’s premier climate science denial campaign group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF), received hundreds of thousands of dollars of US donations in 2017, recently published tax returns show.

The money was received at a time when the GWPF was allegedly coordinating with eight other right-wing thinktanks based in and around offices at 55 Tufton Street to push for a hard Brexit.

Another of the groups, the Taxpayers’ Alliance, received at least $286,000 (£223,300) from US-based donors in the last five years, the Guardian recently revealed — raising concerns about the influence of foreign money at a time when lobby groups are pushing to cut regulation to secure trade deals with major polluters such as India, China and the US.

3 Really Important Things the Draft Brexit Withdrawal Agreement Says About the Environment and Climate Change

Read time: 3 mins

At last, the UK and EU have agreed on Brexit. Well, sort of.

The draft Withdrawal Agreement text published yesterday and reluctantly agreed by Theresa May's cabinet still has to get through a long and tortuous process before it actually becomes 'The Deal'. But it does give a good indication of where both sides stand when it comes to some important issues.

And it's probably fair to say that if this draft was the final one, people who care about the environment would probably be pretty happy.

Campaigners File for Court Case Against Banks Group Over Protection of Great Crested Newts at UK's Newest Coal Mine

Read time: 3 mins
Great Crested Newt

A coal mining company in County Durham is facing legal action over its treatment of protected species at the UK’s newest coal mine.

Campaigners from local protest group Campaign to Protect Pont Valley are bringing a civil case against Banks Group over its treatment of the habitat of great crested newts, a protected species, at the newly-opened Bradley mine in Pont Valley, Country Durham.

Banks are accused of deliberately disturbing or destroying the habitat of great crested newts at the site. Lawyers for the campaigners say this would be a criminal offence under regulation 43 of The Conservation of Habitats and Species Regulations 2017.

Shell Ends Corporate Partnership with National Gallery

Read time: 4 mins
National Gallery

Shell is ending its corporate partnership with the National Gallery after a decade, emails seen by DeSmog UK reveal.

Campaigners have welcomed the news, saying the decision shows the company was “never a genuine philanthropist but a toxic company with an image to clean up”.

Campaigners Highlight Global Ecological Destruction and Indigenous Community Violation at Mining Giant BHP's Annual Meeting

Read time: 4 mins

Protestors from three continents gathered outside mining giant BHP’s annual general meeting this morning to demand an end to the company’s environmentally and socially destructive activities.

Campaigners from Colombia, Chile, Brazil, and the US joined supporters from the UK outside the Queen Elizabeth Conference Centre in Westminster, London, where BHP is holding its annual shareholder gathering. The protest was organised by campaign groups War on Want and the London Mining Network.

Braced against the wind and rain, about 30 protestors demanded that shareholders recognise the destruction that the company’s mines bring to communities and the environment.

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