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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

'Skunk power' creates confusion over nuclear fusion

Fusion
Lockheed Martin is working on a device that could become a compact fusion reactor

Aerospace giant Lockheed Martin is doing its best to shatter my favourite science cliche.

"Nuclear fusion is just 30 years away - and always will be."

The advanced projects team at Lockheed, known as Skunk Works, has unveiled a plan to develop a compact, magnetic fusion device in less than a decade.

OK, Skunk Works has a history of developing secret military aircraft over the past 70 years, but nuclear fusion?

What have they been smoking, you might say.

Read full article 'Skunk power' creates confusion over nuclear fusion

Will Obama's climate surprise deliver a global deal?

obama Xi
China and the US agree a deal on climate but does it bring a global treaty any closer?

We are a fickle bunch, us earthlings.

Back in 2009, the US signed the Copenhagen Accord and pledged that they would cut their emissions in 2025 by 30% compared to 2005 levels.

Read full article Will Obama's climate surprise deliver a global deal?

Strictly come warming: Swing time at the UN

IPCC
UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon launched the IPCC Synthesis Report in Copenhagen

Where would you rather be on a Saturday night?

Watching those familiar faces, admiring the nimble footwork, laughing at the catty comments?

Read full article Strictly come warming: Swing time at the UN

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.

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?

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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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