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

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

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.

How Climate Science Deniers Infiltrate the UK’s Right-Wing Press

Ridley Booker GWPF composite

Given the fringe nature of climate science deniers’ arguments, the amount of press time they receive in the UK is generally pretty squeezed (Donald Trump aside).

But the UK’s most prominent climate science denial campaign group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation, still has two reliable outlets in the UK press. And it's been putting them to good use in recent weeks.

These are the Climate Science Denier MPs Lobbying for a Hard Brexit

Jacob Rees Mogg

Almost 70 MPs have been identified as backing a shadowy parliamentary lobby group pushing for a hard Brexit. In keeping with ideological links previously identified by DeSmog UK, it’s perhaps no shock that there are a number of politicians known to spread disinformation on climate change on the list.

Described as “an aggressive, disciplined, and highly organised parliamentary and media operation”, the European Research Group (ERG) is lobbying for a hard Brexit. It hit headlines earlier this week after being accused of misusing public money.

Long operating in the shadows, Buzzfeed has published a long list of MPs it has identified as being members of the group.

Insurance Companies Claim They’ve Gone Clean, But Still Invest Billions in Polish Coal

Bełchatów Lignite Coal Mine

European insurance companies are still investing billions of euros in dirty coal power plants, despite pledges to stop supporting the industry.

Six insurance giants including Axa, Generali, and Allianz have around €1.3 billion invested in Poland’s coal power plants — the dirtiest form of power production — through subsidiary businesses such as pension funds, research by campaign group Unfriend Coal has found.

One of the six companies, Aviva, has over 30 million customers in the UK, and is the second largest investor in Polish coal — with €421 million invested in the industry. A previous DeSmog UK investigation revealed the company also continues to invest in tar sands companies through its subsidiaries.

Vacancy: Deputy Editor

Newspaper stack

DeSmog UK is seeking a Deputy Editor to join its growing team of investigative journalists dedicated to cutting through the spin clouding the energy and environment debates in Britain.

The Deputy Editor is responsible for helping manage the day-to-day operations of DeSmog UK, including writing and editing articles, project managing freelancers, and undertaking in-depth investigations. Working with the Editor, they will help shape the editorial direction of the outlet and manage content flow.

Thank You to Kyla Mandel

Newspaper stack

Today is Kyla Mandel’s final day working for DeSmog UK, and the whole team would like to express our heartfelt thanks for her incredible work over the past three years.

Kyla joined DeSmog UK in November 2014, shortly after the project launched. She became Editor in March 2016.

UK Government Details Plan to Phase Out Coal by 2025

West Burton power station

The government today announced how the UK expects to phase out coal generation by 2025 — by making it impossible for plants to generate power without as-yet unproven carbon capture and storage technology.

In its response to a consultation on ‘implementing the end of unabated coal by 2025’, the government said it will legislate to limit power plants to 450 grams of carbon dioxide for each kilowatt hour of electricity produced — effectively ruling out coal power without technology that captures emissions.

Looking Back Over the Year: 11 Faces of 2017

Trump and Theresa May

1. Theresa May

What a year the prime minister has had. An election she won but also basically lost, Brexit negotiations that she’s pretty much losing but claims she’ll ultimately win, and a climate action agenda that despite her recent strong words still seems pretty uncertain at best.

As May is keen to point out, on her watch the UK has reaffirmed a pledge to phase-out coal by 2025, the UK had a coal free day for the first time since the industrial revolution, and the government has made some positive noises about electric vehicles.

But at the same time, members of her party having been busy meeting with climate science deniers in the US, and continue to push disinformation about climate change in the national media. And that’s not to mention what Brexit could do to the UK’s environmental regulations.

Climate Science Deniers and Brexit Campaigners Meet Under Banner of Free Trade

Ridley speaks at IFT Global Trade Summit

Brexit cheerleader Daniel Hannan has been busy since last June’s referendum set the clock ticking on his current job as a Member of the European Parliament.

His latest venture is the Institute for Free Trade, a “private, not-for-profit, non-partisan research foundation”, launched at the Foreign Office no less. The group “sees Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union as a unique opportunity to revitalise the world trading system” – a somewhat optimistic outlook that goes against the grain of what most experts expect.

The IFT’s inaugural Global Trade Summit, held in the heart of London in October, brought together prominent government ministers, lobbyists, free market idealogues, and climate science deniers from both sides of the pond.

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