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.

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.

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.

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.

Climate Denial Campaigner Hired by Lords’ Office Fails to Declare Lobbying Interest

John Constable of GWPF

A leading lobbyist for a climate science denial campaign group has unfettered access to UK lawmakers by being registered as a “staff” member of an associated Lord, but does not declare his role in the official register of interest.

Big Oil Companies Being Sued for Climate Impacts Could be a ‘New Normal’

Exxon Knew placard

BONN, GERMANY – Fossil fuel companies have known for a long time that their products significantly contribute to climate change. But it wasn’t until recently that scientists began to understand just how much of the climate crisis could be attributed to them – and, as a result, how much those corporations could be sued for.

Earlier this year, research from the Union of Concerned Scientists showed the largest 90 fossil fuel companies were responsible for about 50 percent of current warming.

Such research into how much damage can be attributed to fossil fuel companies is “vital” to bring lawsuits against those corporations, and holding them to account in the courts, Sophie Marjanac, a lawyer with Client Earth told an audience at the international climate negotiations currently underway in Bonn.

Thanks to the research, “we have evidence of the deliberate concealment of risk from some of these companies,” Marjanac said.

European Parliament: Say No to Fossil Fuel Lobbying at International Climate Talks

EU Flag

The European Parliament has agreed to push to curb the access of fossil fuel lobbyists at international climate negotiations.

MEPs today voted for a motion that gives a European Parliament delegation to the UN Framework Convention of Climate Change (UNFCCC) meetings license to encourage countries to limit the access of organisations that could dampen the ambition of the process.

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.

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.

Exxon Shareholders Demand Report on How Climate Policy Puts its Business at Risk

Exxon sign

It’s all a bit weird. After a shareholder vote, Exxon again finds itself in the unaccustomed position of being out ahead of the US government on climate change action.

At the company’s AGM yesterday, shareholders agreed to force the company to disclose the impacts of stringent climate policy on its business model. Exxon’s management were against the move.

The resolution doesn’t actually require Exxon to take action to cut its emissions. It just says the company must tell investors how the value of its business might be affected if the world really started to take climate policy seriously.

Revealed: How BP Puts its Branding in Local Schools While Cutting North Sea Jobs

Key documents on the BP sponsored student tutoring scheme in Aberdeenshire

Oil giant BP is promoting its brand to thousands of schoolchildren in almost 100 schools in Aberdeenshire, an area in which it recently slashed a fifth of its workforce.

Documents obtained by DeSmog UK through freedom of information requests show BP sponsoring a tutoring scheme and cooperating with the local council and universities to place its branding in schools.

DeSmog UK’s investigation shows:

  • BP’s branding has been present in primary and secondary schools in Aberdeenshire, with students aged five to 16 years old.
  • Some participating schools and tutors are unconvinced of the scheme’s benefits.
  • BP pays only £2,000 a year to get its branding in front of thousands of students, despite posting profits of almost $3 billion in 2016.
  • BP is closely involved in the design and implementation of the scheme as a member of the controlling steering committee.
  • BP retained control over some of the scheme’s output, and sought to use the resources of publicly funded co-sponsors to promote the company’s involvement.

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