Mat Hope

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Mat Hope is Deputy Editor of DeSmog UK. Mat began working with DeSmog UK 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. 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.

Fake News: Mail on Sunday Forced to Correct ‘Significantly Misleading’ Article on Global Warming ‘Pause’

Mail on Sunday headline and IPSO complaint confirmation

The Mail on Sunday has been forced to publish a 659-word correction to an article alleging a scientific study exaggerated the extent of global warming and was rushed in an attempt to influence the Paris Agreement negotiations.  

Activists Come Together to ‘End the Story’ of European Coal

ende gelände march

Is the coal industry on its last legs in Europe? A quick look at the statistics suggests it might be.

Since 2007, coal power production has fallen by about 20 percent, and several EU countries, including the UK, have pledged to phase-out coal completely before 2030.

But coal is not dead yet.

Stalled Agriculture Emissions Cuts Show Need for Green Brexit

Cows in a field

The UK has failed to make any cuts to emissions from agriculture. Again.

New government statistics released 22 August show UK farming emitted 49.1 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalent in 2015, the exact same amount as a year before and remaining at about the same level since 2008.

UK's Largest Independent Oil and Gas Producer IGas 'Poised' for Fracking

Fracking rig

One of the UK’s largest oil and gas companies has reiterated its optimism for the prospects of a UK shale gas industry. The statement comes days after fracking company Cuadrilla finally starting to drill in Lancashire, despite months of public opposition and geologists questioning the feasibility of a UK industry.  

IGas is “poised to capitalise on its potential” having restructured the organisation towards the UK fracking industry, and secured planning permission for new shale gas projects, its non-executive chairman, Francis Gugan, writes in the company’s annual report published online this week by Companies House.

The company is due to commence drilling at a site at Tinker Lane and Springs Road in North Nottinghamshire – likely later this year – once final conditions around its planning permission are agreed with local authorities. IGas told DeSmog UK it expects to give an update on its plans to the market at the end of September.

Using ‘Love’ to Tell the Story of Climate Change at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival

Climate Theatre: The Hero Who Overslept

There was a graph. Then there were some balloons. And then they started dancing.

You find some pretty weird things at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. But I can (almost) guarantee there’s only one show with a waltzing climate change Prof.

The Hero Who Overslept is a two-man “lecture-drama hybrid” that its creators say tries to take climate change science out of the world of “thinky thinky” and into the realm of “feely feely”.

Cheap Gas and Money for Schools: An Oil Industry Plan to Save the World

fossil fuel industry

Given its history of human rights abuse, environmental destruction, and penchant for multimillion dollar executive bonuses, the oil industry doesn’t immediately spring to mind as natural actor to help solve a global poverty crisis.

Nonetheless, a new 97-page UN-sanctioned report authored by an industry group and World Bank offshoot outlines the oil and gas sector’s vision to be a “key part” of efforts to encourage sustainable development.

The report acknowledged that fossil fuel companies “can have both positive and negative impacts on a range of areas covered by the SDGs” – the UN’s sustainable development goals for 2030.

Pro-Brexit Oil Company Boss and Major Tory Donor Named as Director of Climate Science Denying GWPF

Tufton Street sign

Climate science denial campaign group, the Global Warming Policy Forum (GWPF), has a new director – a well-connected, pro-Brexit, millionaire Tory funder with a vested interest in slowing the UK’s transition to a low carbon economy.

Terence Mordaunt was quietly announced as having joined the board of directors of former chancellor and prominent climate science denier and Brexiteer Nigel Lawson’s GWPF in April.

Revisiting the Resistance on England’s Fracking Frontline

Protesters sit on a tower overlooking a police van at Preston New Road fracking site

There are fewer ribbons tied to the hedgerow, and most of the funny signs are gone. In their place stand weary protesters, greater in number than before, parallel to a bulked up security detail.

We can’t really call this a protest anymore,” says Nick Sheldrick. We're talking while once again perched opposite the Lancashire site shale gas company Cuadrilla are trying to frack.

No, it’s peaceful direct action,” adds Louise Robinson, who has been at Nick’s side almost daily for three months.

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