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.

Government's Pro-Fracking Planning Policy Ruled Unlawful

Read time: 3 mins
Lancashire frack pad

A failure to recognise the latest science around the negative climate impacts of fracking means the government may now have to revise some parts of its national planning policy.

A judge has ruled that the government failed to consider scientific evidence presented by campaign group Talk Fracking when revising the National Planning Policy Framework (NPPF). This is despite such evidence having “a direct bearing upon a key element of the evidence base for the proposed policy and its relationship to climate change effects”, the judge said.

Revealed: How the Tobacco and Fossil Fuel Industries Fund Disinformation Campaigns Around the World

Read time: 11 mins
fossil fuels and tobacco funding

Fossil fuel companies have a long history of adopting public relations strategies straight from the tobacco industry's playbook. But a new analysis shows the two industries’ relationship goes much deeper — right down to funding the same organisations to do their dirty work.

MIT Associate Professor David Hsu analyzed organisations in DeSmog’s disinformation database and the Guardian’s tobacco database and found 35 thinktanks based in the US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand that promote both the tobacco and fossil fuel industries’ interests.

Poll: Most Brits Think Climate Change is a Major Threat, UKIP Supporters Less So

Read time: 3 mins
UKIP rosette

Correction 11 February 2019: This article was amended to correct the statistics on populist parties and political polarisation. The headline was also amended.

Most Brits consider climate change to be the greatest threat to the UK. But not everyone is worried. As you may expect, there are some significant political and demographic differences between those who list 'climate change' as the biggest threat, and those that are more worried about North Korea or Isis.

If you’re on the left and identify as a woman, you’re much more likely to think climate change is a threat. But if you’re a politically right-wing or a man, you’re much less likely to be worrying about global warming, according to a new report from Pew Research Centre.

Thinktank with Ties to Climate Science Denial Censured by Charity Commission for Hard Brexit Lobbying

Read time: 3 mins

A prominent London thinktank has been censured by the Charity Commission for explicitly lobbying for a hard Brexit.

The commission said the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) had breached rules regarding political activity, which are meant to prevent charities campaigning on issues outside of their charitable remit.

The IEA is officially registered as an educational charity. The commission ruled that the IEA's ‘Plan A+’ report was “calling for a change in government policy and for a particular approach to the UK’s exit from the European Union”, which “does not further educational purposes, and so constitutes a breach”.

Government Revisits Decision to Grant Planning Permission to the UK's Newest Coal Mine

Read time: 3 mins
Coal extraction at the Bradley mine

The government has agreed to revisit its decision to grant planning permission to a new coal mine in County Durham after admitting “a flaw” in the decision making-process. Residents have long argued that the mine would be inconsistent with the government’s coal phase-out plan.

The Department for Communities, Housing and Local Government has agreed to revisit the decision to allow the Bradley coal mine, in Pont Valley, to proceed after a judicial review was brought by local resident June Davison, who lives less than 300 metres from the mine.

Comment: Why It's Too Soon for Newspapers to Claim Gatwick Disruption is the Fault of an 'Eco-Warrior'

Read time: 4 mins

Many newspapers this morning have speculated that the current chaos at Gatwick airport is down to an “eco-warrior”. Their basis for this claim? Almost nothing.

The Telegraph’s frontpage reads “Environmental protestors suspected of orchestrating Gatwick drone chaos”. The Times has an article headlined “Gatwick chaos: Eco-warriors may be behind disruption”, and The Sun declares that the “hunt continues” for “eco-warrior drone pilot”.

So that’s three of the UK’s biggest newspapers, including its most widely circulated, making the connection between this mass disruption and “eco” activists.

Extinction Rebellion Demands BBC Improve Climate Coverage and Divest from Fossil Fuels

Read time: 3 mins
Extinction Rebellion sign

As a renowned public service broadcaster, the BBC is expected to set an example for global media. And the issue of climate change is no exception.

Extinction Rebellion, a campaign group becoming famous for its peaceful civil disobedience tactics, has submitted a letter to the BBC asking it “to play a key role in enabling the transformative change needed so that we can face this emergency together”.

Dodgy Deals, Climate Denial, and People Power — DeSmog UK's 2018 Year in Review

Read time: 9 mins
DeSmog UK frontpages

It has been quite a year - Brexit (still), Trump (still), and the inevitable crescendo towards the annual climate talks (which delivered a deal many think falls way short of the necessary action to avoid catastrophic climate change).

With the jingle bells ringing, and everyone rushing to get the 5.01pm train home for Christmas, now seems a good time to reflect on the year that’s (almost) past.

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