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Matt McGrath

Matt McGrath Environment correspondent

Welcome to my reflections and insight into what's really affecting the world all around us

Climate summit advances towards Paris deal

Ban Ki-moon
There was some cheer for Ban Ki-moon at the New York climate summit

Despite the absence of India and Australia, a majority of prime ministers and presidents did as Mr Ban had asked. They came to New York with pledges of action.

The French promised a billion dollars for the Green Climate Fund, a significant amount you might think, but miles from the goal of getting a hundred billion a year by 2020.

Following on from the Rockefeller Brothers Foundation divesting their dosh from fossil fuel, there were further significant announcements from institutional investors.

Two of the largest asset managers and pension funds in Europe, have connected with the UN Environment Programme to "substantially reduce the carbon footprint of $100bn of institutional investment worldwide".

And there was more - commodity traders Cargill, perhaps the very epitome of the type of industry that greens hate, announced that it would make its palm oil supply chains in Malaysia and Indonesia fully sustainable.

Read full article Climate summit advances towards Paris deal

The 'green blob' loves Mr Ban - but for how long?

ban
Mr Ban was joined by other high-profile friends for the march

Former British Environment Secretary Owen Paterson would not have been a happy chappy if he had been in New York for the culmination of a global day of protest against a lack of political action on climate change.

In Mr Paterson's words, the world of environmental activism is the green blob - "a mutually supportive network of environmental pressure groups, renewable energy companies and some public officials who keep each other well supplied with lavish funds, scare stories and green tape".

Read full article The 'green blob' loves Mr Ban - but for how long?

Speedy charging driving a global boom in electric cars

car charged
According to Nissan, more than 2,000 of their Leaf electric cars have been sold in the UK in the first six months of 2014

Without a whisper or a whiff, electric cars seem to be gaining ground in the UK and elsewhere.

According to Ecotricity, the company that has installed a network of charging stations along the UK's motorways, we are seeing a "revolution".

Read full article Speedy charging driving a global boom in electric cars

Coral munching bumphead fish give insight into conservation

bumphead
Dubbed the reef elephant by researchers, bumphead parrotfish are highly endangered

Life is tough if you're a blundering, buck toothed, bumphead.

You're far, far bigger than all the rest of the parrotfish in the Pacific.

Read full article Coral munching bumphead fish give insight into conservation

Matt added analysis to:

Science minister has tough job to follow

As the youngest member of the Cabinet, Liz Truss will be welcomed by many as marking a distinct change from the divisive Owen Paterson.

Mr Paterson's views on climate change, genetically modified foods and especially the badger cull earned the deep distrust of environmental campaigners while generating support among farmers.

Read full article Science minister has tough job to follow

Is Obama's climate 'regime change' unstoppable?

Gina McCarthy
The EPA's Gina McCarthy outlined the proposals on emissions from existing power plants

"It is not just about disappearing polar bears and disappearing ice caps," said Gina McCarthy, head of the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as she outlined the heavily-trailed Clean Power Plan proposal.

Cutting carbon emissions by a third by 2030, she said, was about "protecting our health and protecting our homes".

Read full article Is Obama's climate 'regime change' unstoppable?

US set 'to take very significant step' on climate

President Barack Obama
Opponents of the new rules argue that they will drive up electricity prices

President Obama is set to unveil the most significant American attempt yet made to curb carbon dioxide emissions when he announces new restrictions on existing power plants on Monday.

The president is likely to endorse a set of rules drawn up by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) that will seek to limit emissions from 1,600 existing facilities that are responsible for about a third of US CO2 emissions.

Read full article US set 'to take very significant step' on climate

Warm Texas wind blows green for Mars

texas
Wildfires in Texas have followed on from an extended drought in the state

This year is turning into a humdinger for those of us lucky enough to collect sprawling climate science reports.

Along with the block-busting trilogy from the IPCC, we've had a new tome from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and just this week, the US national climate assessment.

Read full article Warm Texas wind blows green for Mars

The IPCC, Elvis and the elephant in the room

The IPCC presents the last of three highly anticipated reports in Berlin on Sunday
The IPCC presented the last of three highly anticipated reports in Berlin on Sunday

Everywhere you go in Berlin there are nostalgic echoes of the past - in the shadow of the wall's remnants, old Trabants take tourists on nostalgic car rides to times long gone.

And at the conference centre where IPCC delegates have been ensconced for a week deliberating on how to save the world from dangerous climate change, other ghostly voices have been making their presence felt.

Read full article The IPCC, Elvis and the elephant in the room

Climate report: Creating a sense of urgency or alarm?

Coral
Corals are particularly vulnerable to the effects of ocean acidification

The cool blue cover of the latest IPCC report on the impacts of climate change belies the rather hot stuff within.

Perhaps taking inspiration from their neon loving Japanese hosts, the report is heavy with reds, greens and yellows.

Read full article Climate report: Creating a sense of urgency or alarm?

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About Matt

Originally from Tipperary in Ireland, Matt edited computer magazines for several years before joining BBC Radio 5 live at its launch in 1994. Following stints as producer and reporter, Matt became the station's science specialist in 1997. He joined the BBC World Service in 2006 as environment reporter.

He has reported on some of the major issues in science and environment in that period including BSE, foot and mouth disease, cloning, global warming and GM food.

Highlights include reporting from the solar eclipse in Alderney in 1999 and travelling to the Arctic in 2007. Matt tested the temperatures in Copenhagen by jumping into the icy harbour waters during the UN summit in 2009.

Over the years Matt has also reported extensively on the scientific impacts of doping in sport.

He was a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 2010-11.

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