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.

These Climate Science Deniers are Spreading Misinformation about the Australian Bushfires

Read time: 7 mins
Alex Jones InfoWars

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison has doubled down on his refusal to strengthen his administration’s approach to climate policy as his country burns. While Morrison acknowledges that climate change is one factor driving the fires, he is unwilling to consider reversing his government’s poor record on climate action to help prevent similar disasters happening again.

In recent days, Morrison’s position has been bolstered by a group of fringe climate science deniers pushing conspiracy theories and misinformation about the relationship between the fires and climate change.

Looking Ahead to 2020: COP26, BoJo, and Trump

Read time: 4 mins
Donald Trump

Well, wasn’t 2019 another wild ride? The UK had two governments, three (or is it four?) tries at getting Brexit formally started, and made one major new climate commitment. So what’s in store for 2020?

In the current climate, the easy answer is ‘who knows?’. Nonetheless, there are a few agenda items on which DeSmog will be keeping a very close eye.

Boris Johnson Appoints Climate Science Denier as Wales Minister and Assistant Whip

Read time: 3 mins
David TC Davies MP

One of Boris Johnson’s first moves as the UK’s newly elected Prime Minister has been to put a climate science denier in the government.

Monmouth MP David T.C. Davies has been made a Minister in the Wales Office, and Assistant Government Whip. He has previously claimed that it is “not proven” that carbon dioxide is responsible for what he describes as a “relatively small” amount of global warming since the industrial revolution.

The UK's Pro-Brexit MEPs Didn't Want the European Parliament to Declare a Climate Emergency

Read time: 3 mins
Nigel Farage

The European Parliament has declared a climate emergency. And it did so without the help of many of the UK’s pro-Brexit MEPs.

A resolution declaring the emergency and calling on all global actors to “urgently take the concrete action needed in order to fight and contain this threat before it is too late” passed with 429 votes for, 225 votes against, and 19 abstentions on November 28.

Six of the 225 votes against were from the UK’s Brexit Party MEPs. 21 of the party’s MEPs, including party leader Nigel Farage, didn’t show for the vote, however.

Revealed: The Super Wealthy Tory Donors with Ties to Climate Science Denial and Fossil Fuels

Read time: 9 mins
Boris Johnson drawing

The Conservative Party gets vast sums from an elite club of super wealthy donors that have made their money from polluting industries or are involved in backing climate science denial in the UK, a new analysis shows.

Election 2019: Boris Johnson Top Beneficiary of Donations from Supporters of Climate Science Denial

Read time: 5 mins
Boris Johnson

This election cycle has seen an unprecedented number of announcements from all parties on renewable energy, reforestation, and other items generally reserved for only the greenest on the political spectrum. So much so that some are calling this the ‘climate election’. 

But elections are expensive things, and politicians rarely turn down a cheque. So if climate change really is going to be a vote decider, it makes sense to take a look at who is funding our politicians. In particular, where have those known to support climate science denial campaigns in the UK put their cash?

Introducing Climategate @ 10

Read time: 2 mins

On November 19, 2009, an unknown hacker published a cache of emails from the University of East Anglia's Climatic Research Unit. It was meant to be the hack that brought down climate science. But it made the research — and researchers — stronger than ever.

10 years on, this five-part series looks back at the key players that manufactured the scandal that came to be known as 'Climategate':

Election 2019: The Anti-Climate Action MPs Standing Down

Read time: 4 mins
Extinction Rebellion protesters outside parliament

More than 60 MPs are standing down in the upcoming election. While it’s always sad to bid esteemed colleagues goodbye, some MPs leaving may not be such a bad thing for the UK’s efforts to tackle the climate crisis.

From fracking supporters, to aggressive opponents of climate campaigns, here’s a quick rundown of some of those that won’t be returning to the house of fun come 2020.

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