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.

Fossil Fuel Giant Shell to Sponsor Exhibition at Manchester Science Festival

Read time: 3 mins
Shell logo evil

They’re at it again.

Despite campaigners’ repeated calls for publicly-funded museums to drop controversial commercial deals, the Museum of Science and Industry has agreed a deal with fossil fuel giant Shell to sponsor a new exhibition, DeSmog UK can reveal.

The exhibition, Electricity: The Spark of Life will run for six months, as part of the Manchester Science Festival. It will be sponsored by Shell UK, North West Electricity, and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council.

Campaigners said they were “hugely disappointed” at the museum’s decision.


To see details of more fossil fuel company sponsorships, check out our Greenwash Database


Troubled History Resonates as Local Campaigners Resist Northern Ireland's Gold Rush Over Cyanide Fears

Read time: 12 mins
Protest signs at 'Greencastle People's Office'

As you drive up through the undulating hills near Greencastle, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, you’ll see a sign for a local attraction: a Mass rock — not an unusual sight in this part of the world. But turn right, and in a hundred metres or so there's something more surprising: a caravan, surrounded by a dozen or so national flags, and hand-painted signs warning of a “toxic future”.

Return to the main road, drive on a couple of minutes, and you’ll start to pass small construction sites. Normally there’s a truck or two, a yellow porta-cabin, and a few men in overalls. They stand beside a drill bore working its way into the ground, before turning their attention to you. Not engaging, but watching. 

This is what it’s like living in and around the proposed site for a new gold mine as a Canadian exploration outfit, Dalradian, tests the quality of the riches beneath the earth.

Scientists Urged to Take a Stand Against BBC’s False Balance on Climate Change

Read time: 4 mins
BBC sign

It was all a bit retro… A BBC radio presenter, looking out the window and seeing it’s (still) hot, and leaning into his microphone to ask “does this mean climate change is real?”

Do not adjust your wireless. This really is the opening question on a segment about climate change. In 2018.

BBC Radio Cambridgeshire’s decision to have climate science denier and UKIP supporter Philip Foster on to debate a (non-climate) scientist about whether or not humans have caused climate change immediately drew much ire.

From Russian Winds to Cruise Ships: Exploring the Local Problems Driving the UK's Air Pollution Crisis

Read time: 13 mins
Cars and children pollution

You’ve probably seen the startling headlines — “Air pollution linked to spikes in hospital and GP visits”,“Air pollution causes nearly 15,000 cases of type 2 diabetes in UK each year”, “Young girl's death first to be linked to illegal levels of air pollution”.

It’s obvious that the UK has a major air pollution problem.

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire Refuses to Revoke Planning Permission for Controversial Pont Valley Opencast Coal Mine

Read time: 3 mins
James Brokenshire

Communities Secretary James Brokenshire has confirmed he will not revoke the planning permission for a controversial coal mine in County Durham.

Brokenshire revealed his decision in a letter to Green party MP Caroline Lucas. In the letter he states that:

… although there is a reserve power to revoke planning permission, it has been used very rarely and it is the department’s policy that such an intervention can only be justified in exceptional circumstances. The power will only be used if the original decision is judged to have been ‘grossly wrong’ …”.

From Donald Trump to Theresa May: How a US-UK Network Pushes Climate Science Denial and Lobbies for a Hard Brexit — Mapped

Read time: 7 mins
Network map of US-UK climate science deniers

Donald Trump has finally come to the UK, 20 months after he won the election to make him the 45th President of the United States.

During that time, a trans-Atlantic network of business people, think tank analysts, and lobbyists have grown in influence — pushing a free market ideology and spreading climate science denial on both sides of the Atlantic.

DeSmog UK first mapped the network when Trump was sworn into office in January 2017. Things have moved on a bit since then.

What #ShellKnew and How it Was Used to Stall International Climate Change Negotiations

Read time: 7 mins

Shell, one of the world’s largest oil companies, has gained privileged access to the UN climate change negotiations while pushing the same unworkable solutions for almost 20 years, internal company documents reveal.

DeSmog UK has previously reported on a tranche of documents first unearthed by Jelmer Mommers of De Correspondent published on Climate Files, that reveal Shell knew about the causes and impacts of climate change since at least the 1980s.

Analysis of these documents, combined with new sources freshly uncovered by DeSmog UK, shows that while Shell’s understanding of the science developed, its proposed solution to the problem has remained remarkably static.

‘Our Rivers are Black with Coal’ — Fleeing the Siberian Coal Mines Powering the UK

Read time: 9 mins

When you hit the switch on the kettle, what do you think about?

The lovely cup of tea that’s about to mask a myriad of office-based frustrations? The wonder of a modern power grid that means tea can go from concept to reality in under a minute? Probably, you think nothing at all.

And fair enough — you just wanted a cup of tea.

In the circumstances, pausing for respite in the two metres of linoleum and IKEA cupboards that pass for most office kitchenettes, it’s unlikely you would have thought about where the electricity to make that cup of tea has come from.

But perhaps we all should.

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