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.

New Lobby Group Tied to Brexit Climate Science Deniers and Koch Industries Pushes for Deregulation in Europe

Eu flag in front of statues

A new lobby group has appeared in Europe claiming to represent ‘consumers’. But a closer look reveals it is actually backed by some familiar groups known for their efforts to weaken climate and environmental regulations.

The Consumer Choice Centre (CCC) was set up in March 2017 and was promoted as “a grassroots-led movement” that “empowers consumers across the globe”.

But an investigation by Brussels think tank Corporate Europe Observatory suggests the CCC is actually working as a lobby group for a network pushing deregulation, while working closely with high-profile organisations including London-based think tank the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) and US oil billionaire Charles Koch.

Three Arrested as Protesters Continue to Disrupt Cuadrilla’s Lancashire Fracking Site

Mat Hope and Laura Creighton report from Lancashire

Three anti-fracking protesters were arrested after they locked their arms inside tubing at Cuadrilla’s anti-fracking site in Lancashire, forcing police to close off a section of Preston New Road from around 8am this morning. Five police vans and more than 30 officers were on the scene.

Though the rainy weather kept most of the protesters from the previous day away, this did not stop the three protesters who had locked on their arms inside heavy tubing from lying out on the road for more than three hours.

Protesters use the tactic to disrupt activity at the site, as police are forced to cut them out of the tubing before they can be moved or arrested.

Beyond Sea Level Rise, Survey Shows Europeans Unsure How Climate Change Impacts Oceans

UK coastal erosion

Rising temperatures can lead to rising seas, coral bleaching, fish migrations, and more acidic oceans. But public awareness of how climate change impacts oceans is still relatively limited.

A major new poll published today tried to assess how much citizens from 10 European countries including the UK know about climate change’s impact on the marine environment.

Overall, the answer is: not much. But a closer look reveals some interesting differences across people's’ views in each of the countries.

Brexit Could Harm UK and EU’s Climate Ambition — Report

EU flag in front of Big Ben

Whatever deal Brexit secretary David Davis manages to strike with the EU, it could have a negative significant impact on climate policy both on the continent and in the UK, a new report has warned.

Dublin-based think tank the Institute of International and European Affairs (IIEA) looked at four different Brexit scenarios, and found that the UK’s withdrawal from the EU would likely harm the region’s overall ambition to climate change.

In one scenario — an ultra-hard Brexit, where the UK uses its withdrawal as an excuse to roll back EU regulations to protect the environment — the country’s climate policy could be “radically altered” with the landmark Paris Agreement “threatened”, the report said.

The UK’s Uneven Emissions Map: Regions Struggle to Cut Carbon in line with Climate Goals

The last few yards are always the toughest.

The UK has been making reasonable progress down a path towards its legally binding climate goals, but it currently has no plan on how to get over the line.

Such a plan is “urgently” needed, experts warned last week. And new data shows that any strategy must take regional differences into account, with emissions reductions being felt unevenly across the UK.

Mayor's Divestment Pledge '100 percent' Does Not Commit London to Divest from Fossil Fuels

City Hall London

The Mayor of London and the London Pension Fund Authority (LPFA) have agreed a strategy to “divest” assets worth around £10 billion from fossil fuel companies, DeSmog UK can reveal.

The agreement seemingly fulfills Mayor Sadiq Khan’s campaign promise to strip the fund “of its remaining investments in fossil-fuel industries”.

But campaigners have been quick to criticise the announcement, saying the pledge’s small print means it is unlikely to mean funds are actually removed from fossil fuel companies — the core aim of the divestment movement.

BP Greenwashes Image By Pushing 'Blatant Advertising' on Schoolchildren

Cartoon image from a BP school resource

The methods may change from country to country, but it’s clear that fossil fuel companies are desperate to push their message onto kids.

US companies promote fossil fuels in schools through a weirdly sinister cast of characters including Petro Pete and Sammy Shale. And now BP has launched a new set of resources for primary school kids in the UK.

The “Science Explorers” series provides free online resources for children aged between 5 and 11 years old, and includes a few for investigating why the climate is changing. The resources are tuned towards one big question: “Why are living things the way they are?”

Brexit, One Year On: Green Tape, Fossil Fuels, and Climate Science Deniers

Brexit artwork

On June 23 2016, 46 million voters merrily skipped to the polls to have their say about whether the UK should remain in the European Union. Early the following morning, it was revealed that 52 percent of the population had voted Leave.

Most were shocked, a small majority were joyous, the rest were dismayed — including many who were concerned Brexit would mean the UK’s climate policy and environmental regulation coming under attack.

One year on, the negotiations have formally started and things have progressed… a bit.

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