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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

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.

Greens were quick to put the boot into the departing Mr Paterson dubbing him the "worst environment secretary in decades".

"Mr Paterson has wilfully ignored scientific evidence on climate change, championed pesticide firms instead of bees and massively underinvested in flood defences, leaving thousands of households at risk of future flooding," said Andy Atkins from Friends of the Earth.

But Mr Paterson's adoption of new measures to tackle bovine TB including the controversial badger cull won him hearts and minds in the countryside.

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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".

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Climate report aims to blossom in Japan

Springtime in Japan
It's springtime in Japan and the blossoms are spectacular as usual

Haiku, high towers and the scent of cherry blossom all come into play as government officials and scientists discuss the global impacts of climate change.

"There are no strangers under the cherry blossoms," said Mr Nobuteru Ishihara, Japan's minister for the environment, as he welcomed members of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change to what's likely to be a fractious session here in Yokohama.

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Taking the war out of global warming

floods
The widespread flooding in parts of England and Wales has encouraged debate about climate change

I once had a dream (or was it a dram?) in which the things we thought we knew for certain about the world were suddenly turned upside down.

In this strange universe, the cold war seemed to suddenly return, Ireland began to perform consistently at rugby, and arch-climate sceptics began to believe in dangerous levels of global warming.

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Frolick and Yap to solve climate change?

coal station
President Obama is using executive authority to impose emission limits on coal fired power stations like this one

Tackling the causes of climate change has worn the patience of some of the world's biggest brains.

Attempts to put together a comprehensive global treaty have stumbled like drunks, somehow remaining on their feet but struggling to gain any forward momentum.

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Blue lagoons and higher roads to curb flood threat?

Floods
The floods have spread across thousands of acres of Somerset

Would a large lagoon the size of 12,000 football fields have prevented the flooding of the Somerset Levels?

According to Roger Falconer, professor of water engineering at Cardiff University, the Bridgewater Bay Lagoon proposal would have helped the waters flow away from the flat lands of the county.

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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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