Mat Hope

Mat Hope

Writer & Researcher, Carbon Brief

Tell us a bit about Carbon Brief

Carbon Brief is a website that is dedicated to climate change news and analysis. That means that we look at the latest research that comes out on climate science and policy and write blogs to communicate that to a wide audience.

We also fact-check media articles on climate change, go through them and check what they’ve got right and not so right, and add a bit of detail where it’s needed.

What’s your role and what does it involve?

My main job is writing blogs. I will write probably 3 or 4 blogs a week on the climate policy side. I look at anything from renewable energy policy to geo-engineering, to media analysis – looking at how newspapers and different media outlets are reporting climate change.

How did you first get involved in this work?

I did a PhD in climate change communication at the University of Bristol, although that’s definitely not a prerequisite for the job. That established my interest in this particular area. Before that I did a degree in politics, also at Bristol.

Have you always wanted to work in the environmental sector?

Climate change has always been a particular interest of mine, right the way through my university course: my undergraduate dissertation looked at George W Bush’s climate policy. That then spun off into a PhD which ultimately led me to Carbon Brief.

What kind of skills do you need to work in this sector?

You definitely need to have a passion for the subject. It’s not always the easiest field to work in, there’s a lot of debate and a lot of technical complexity which you need to get your head around, so you really need to enjoy looking into that side of things.

Specifically for what we do, you’ve really got to have a desire and a willingness to learn. I joined an incredible group of people and spent the first couple of years of my job trying to absorb as much as I could from them.

Likewise with the writing skills which you need for this job, for me that was very much a learning process. I arrived without the requisite writing skills and I was very lucky that Carbon Brief invested in me to help me develop those skills, and they continue to do so.

What’s next for you?

I’m really enjoying being where I am and doing a job which allows me to write on a daily basis. It’s a privileged position to be in and I am aware of that. So I hope to go on developing that and developing Carbon Brief’s work as we continue to grow and spread our wings.

Do you have any advice for people looking to get into this type of work?

A willingness to learn and learn from others: this is such a massively technical and complex field, and there are a lot of people that know an awful lot.

Spending time listening and learning is really important. And it’s important not to be discouraged by what are sometimes difficult debates to get your head around – keep ploughing away and eventually you start to learn and feel more sure-footed in it.