Monkeypox: WHO to rename disease over stigmatisation concerns — invites suggestions

Monkeypox — a close relative of smallpox — is a viral disease typically contracted from animal bites or the consumption of improperly cooked meat, but that can spread from person-to-person by close contact. Initial symptoms of infection can include chills, fatigue, fever, and muscle aches — with more severe cases often presenting with a rash on the face and genitals that can spread elsewhere on the body before scabbing over. The virus is known to cause severe disease among certain vulnerable groups, including young children, people who are immunosuppressed and pregnant women.

In July, the WHO declared the current global monkeypox outbreak to be an international emergency — with an estimated 31,000 cases reported worldwide.

The disease has been endemic in parts of central and western Africa for decades, but has only begun to produce large outbreaks around the world in recent months.

Outside of Africa, the majority of cases have affected men who have sex with other men — with vaccine rollouts targeting this community.

As of August 8, 2022, the UK Health Security Agency has reported 2,914 confirmed and 103 highly probable cases of monkeypox in the UK, with the majority detected in England.

Monkeypox was given its name when the disease was first identified back in 1958 in research monkeys in a laboratory in Copenhagen, Denmark.

It is thought, however, that monkeys do not provide a natural reservoir for the virus — with scientists suspecting such may be found among rodent populations.

In a statement on Friday, a WHO spokesperson said that the decision to rename monkeypox was made this week following a meeting of experts — and is in line with the current best practices for disease nomenclature.

These practices, they added, aim “to avoid causing offence to any cultural, social, national, regional, professional, or ethnic groups”.

They also strive to “minimise any negative impact on trade, travel, tourism or animal welfare”.

The WHO continued: “Assigning new names to existing diseases is the responsibility of [the] WHO under the International Classification of Diseases and the WHO Family of International Health Related Classifications.

They added that the WHO “is holding an open consultation for a new disease name for monkeypox.

“Anyone wishing to propose new names can do so here (see ICD-11, Add proposals).”

It is not yet known if WHO officials have a timeframe in mind for announcing the new name for monkeypox.

Global health equity advocate Dr Ifeanyi Nsofor of the Aspen Institute told NPR: “Monkeypox should be renamed for two major reasons.

“First, there is a long history of referring to Blacks as monkeys. Therefore, ‘monkeypox’ is racist and stigmatises Blacks.

“Second, ‘monkeypox’ gives a wrong impression that the disease is only transmitted by monkeys. This is wrong.”

On Friday, the WHO also announced that in the interests of avoiding stigmatisation, it had also renamed two clades of the virus such that they use Roman numerals rather than geographical areas.

(A clade is the name given to a group of organisms that comprises one common ancestor and all of its lineal descendants.)

A WHO spokesperson said: “Consensus was reached to now refer to the former Congo Basin (Central African) clade as Clade one (I) and the former West African clade as Clade two (II).”

Subclade IIb, they explained, refers primarily to the group of variants that have been dominant in the current global monkeypox outbreak.

The WHO continued: “The naming of lineages will be as proposed by scientists as the outbreak evolves. Experts will be reconvened as needed.

“The new names for the clades should go into effect immediately while work continues on the disease and virus names.”

They added that “the naming of virus species is the responsibility of the International Committee on the Taxonomy of Viruses, which has a process underway for the name of the monkeypox virus.”

Monkeypox’s former Congo Basin and West African clades are not the only diseases to take their names from the regions in which they first originated.

Other examples include Japanese encephalitis, Marburg virus (named after the German town in the State of Hessen which saw an outbreak in late 1967), Spanish influenza and the Middle East Respiratory Syndrome.

To date, the WHO has not publicly mooted the idea of changing the name of any of these diseases.

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  • 2 часа, 37 минут назад 28.09.2022Science
    Energy crisis woes as expert reveals why UK is behind France on nuclear power

    Britain is lagging behind the French when it comes to nuclear power generation, which could prove to be a huge boost for UK energy security in the coming years. While the nation has pledged to ramp up the industry, a key part of its energy strategy unveiled in August shows it still likely has a long way to go before it matches France’s impressive statistics. It is fair to say Paris deserves the bragging rights in this department, given that a staggering 70 percent of its electricity is powered by nuclear energy. Meanwhile, most of Britain’s is still produced by burning gas.

    However, hope is not lost, given that the UK has an ambition of increasing the deployment of civil nuclear to up to 24 gigawatts by 2050, three times higher than current levels.

    But this amount of nuclear power would still only represent a projected 25 percent of the projected electricity demand, with the rest likely to come from renewable sources if the UK manages to stick to its net zero pledges.

    And there are plenty of projects in the pipeline, from the eight designated nuclear sites to Rolls-Royce’s revolutionary small modular reactors which are far easier to build than traditional nuclear stations. Meanwhile, the Government also launched a £120million Future Nuclear Enabling Fund in April to help to support projects and get them through the construction phase.

    But according to Dr Tim Stone CBE , chairman of the Nuclear Industry Association, the UK’s nuclear energy story has been one of “neglect”, even though “our nuclear power stations are the most productive low-carbon assets in British history” and “vital bastions of our energy security”, he wrote in the Telegraph.

    Noting that in the 1970s, Dr Stone explained that France and Britain both had the same nuclear capacity at 6.4GW, but the French pulled far ahead by the 1990s, with 56 GW compared to the UK’s 11.

    While the French were undertaking a historic nuclear drive, the UK reportedly prioritised North Sea gas and oil, which Dr Stone appears to suggest was more of a quick fix rather than a long-term solution for energy security that would power the country securely for decades.

    He wrote: “We deregulated our energy markets to take advantage of the bonanza of cheap gas, without preserving sovereignty for our country.

    “We allowed the burning of gas for electricity, previously thought a foolish extravagance (which will come back to haunt us in the future when we need feedstocks for chemicals and pharmaceuticals), and ploughed money into cheap-to-build, quick-to-start gas-fired stations without considering the broader ramifications.”

    Now, as the UK scrambles to decarbonise, it has been forced to use gas as a “transition” fuel as it gradually weans itself off fossil fuels by 2050. But due to the volatile nature of the market, the energy source which was once cheap for Britain has become astronomically expensive due to Russia’s war in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s slashing of supplies to Europe.

    While Britain may have some of its own North Sea supplies, this gas gets sold to customers on the integrated market, which is impacted by the supply shocks felt in Europe, in turn having a huge knock-on impact on bills.

    This dependence on North Sea supplies which were once cheap, argues Dr Stone, has come back to bite us. Making this worse, ignoring nuclear in previous years has also meant we now have a system that relies too much on imported gas, exposing Britons to the volatile markets as explained above.

    Another issue, Dr Stone claims, is that Britain has tried to ramp up its renewable energy capacity without expanding the complement of baseload nuclear to provide stability, which does not rely on weather conditions unlike wind or solar power.

    To resolve this, Dr Stone argues in the Telegraph: “We should deploy nuclear reactors in fleets, meaning multiple units on every site we choose, and multiple sites using the same technology to capture the benefits of replication.

    “There is no greater folly than building nuclear reactors one at a time, with great gaps in between. To build one at a time increases cost, time, and risk. To build in fleets, as other countries have proved, is the only proven way to cut these.”

    However, while France may be ahead in the nuclear game, it is not in the best of situations currently. In fact, it has even appealed to the UK to help keep the lights on this winter after French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Liz Truss agreed to cooperate on energy.

    It came after France’s nuclear power output plummeted by 37.6 percent in August due to corrosion issues with its ageing nuclear reactors. Coming to its assistance, the UK may send electricity to France via interconnectors that link the two countries together to trade power.

    Dr Jeff Hardy, Senior Research Fellow at the Grantham Institute, Imperial College London, told Express.co.uk: “The UK is interconnected via high voltage cables to several European countries, including France, Norway, Belgium and the Republic of Ireland. Interconnection is a good thing as it diversifies our supply, enhancing electricity system resilience.

    “France has been suffering from nuclear power outages, which has led to a tight electricity market in France. Historically, France has supplied the UK with cheap power from its nuclear fleet. Now, it needs help, which is exactly why interconnection is a good thing for European security.”

  • 4 часа, 37 минут назад 28.09.2022Science
    EU members lock horns in bust-up over energy crisis – ‘We must be very careful’

    EU members are locked in a heated disagrement over how to address the energy crisis in Europe. While 12 nations have urged the Commission to introduce a cap on the price of gas, which has soared astronomically due to Russia’s war in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s supply cuts, at least four nations are said to be rejecting the proposal. It comes as EU energy ministers are set to meet this week to discuss measures on how to deal with the deepening energy crisis, which is “hitting households and businesses hard”.

    A letter signed by 12 EU countries has reportedly been seen to Politico, in which the signatorees called on Brussels to introduce a price cap on gas.

    Addressed to Energy Commissioner Kadri Simson, the letter reads: “The energy crisis … is now causing untenable inflationary pressures which are hitting our households and our businesses hard. We have yet to tackle the most serious problem of all: the wholesale price of natural gas.”

    It was signed by Italy, Spain, Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Poland, Malta, Latvia, Lithuania, Slovenia, Romania and Croatia.

    However, the Netherlands, Hungary and Denmark have signalled their disapproval of the proposal, according to diplomats. Germany is also one of the leading voices rejecting the proposal.

    It comes as Europe faces the highest spot prices for natural gas on the planet, currently between six to 10 times more expensive than in the US, largely as a result of its huge dependence on Russian gas supplies, which have plummeted in recent months, plunging further after Moscow suspended flows through the Nord Stream pipeline indefinitely.

    Now, the bloc is scrambling to replace Russia’s pipeline gas with liquified natural gas shipped from alternative producers. However, it does still receive (LNG) brought in from Russian, US and middle eastern ships.

    EU ministers and diplomats are furious over being charged more than their Asian counterparts for the shipments, but the bloc has been warned cargo ships may look for other customers if they are paid less by the EU for gas shipments under a proposed cap.

    Germany’s minister of state for Europe warned the EU should be “very careful” about capping all gas imports entering the trading bloc.

    Germany is the biggest economy and gas consumer within the bloc, and there are fears the possibility of shifting cargo ships onto other importers would worsen the crisis and pose a threat to the security of supplies.

    Ms Lührmann told Euronews: “The issue with the price cap is that: if you introduce a price cap, as the EU unilaterally, and all the other consumers around the world don’t do it, then the gas will go to other consumers and thus we might have a shortage in gas supplies.

    “So, I think we should be very careful with these kinds of price caps and do everything we can to diversify our supply structure. That will also help to address the price issues.”

    However, several high-profile figures within the bloc have snubbed these claims, such as former Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi (also a former European Central Bank chief). They argue that there is in fact no supply risk, as do the EU countries that were importing LNG for decades before Russia’s pipeline issues and its war ramped up requests for LNG shipments, such as Belgium.

    Instead of calling for a simple cap, supporters of the measure argue it will be a “dynamic price cap” which will still be slightly above what importers fork out so it doesn’t risk shifting sellers onto them.

    European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen initally floated a proposal to slap a price cap down on Russian gas only. However, following Putin’s threats to “freeze” Europe after the EU eyed a gas cap, while members agreed on price cap on Russain oil, pressure for the bloc to cap Russian imports has since been pulled back.

    But Murray Douglas, a senior analyst at Wood Mackenzie, has warned slapping down a price cap that goes beyond Russian oil be a “real challenge”, deeming it unlikely that the measure will be agreed upon in the Friday meeting.

    The EU is also set to discuss a measure to impose a revenue cap of €180 (£161) per megawatt hour on cheap electricity production. It is also eyeing a 33 percent levy on fossil fuel with companies’ profits higher than normal levels.

  • 4 часа, 37 минут назад 28.09.2022Science
    Energy crisis lifeline as battery storage facility to provide cheap power to 11,000 homes

    An energy firm is turning an old gas station into a new 50 megawatt facility which could provide power to tens of thousands of households amid a crisis which has seen bills soar. Centrica Business Solutions has reportedly started working on the plant, at Brigg in Lincolnshire. It could provide energy storage for 43 onshore wind farms across the county, and is the largest investment made by the firm in its entire history. The decomissioned gas station, now set to become a battery storage facility, is set to remain in operation for 25 years after it comes online late next year.

    It is working in partnership with GE to construct the site, which it claims will be able to maximise the potential of every megawatt of green electricity to provide enough energy to provide a full day’s consumption to 11,000 homes, or around 15 percent of homes in North Linconshire.

    By storing energy, it allows better control over the peaks and troughs associated with renewable energy generation, which can sometimes be the downfall of powering homes and industry with these kinds of energy sources. The faclility will work by charging the batteries when electricity demand is low, and then will discharge them when demand is at its highest point.

    Greg McKenna, Managing Director of Centrica Business Solutions, said: “Investing in low carbon energy assets that boost the UK’s ability to store more renewable energy is key to getting to net zero. Lincolnshire has 242MW of onshore wind power capacity but when supply outstrips demand some of those green electrons will go to waste if not stored.

    “Working with GE we’ll store green energy produced locally and use it as efficiently as possible. As the UK’s power generation capacity becomes more distributed and the share of renewables increases, generation flexibility becomes critical to keep the lights on securely, sustainably and affordably.

    “Brigg battery storage investment will ensure we can maximise the use of the green energy generated by nearby wind farms – storing when the wind blows and discharging when it doesn’t.”

    Prakash Chandra, renewable hybrids chief executive officer at GE, said: “The UK has been one of the earliest and largest players in the battery energy storage space and the installed capacity keeps growing.

    “However, there is a need for more if the country wants to achieve its Net Zero emission target for the power sector by 2035. We are glad to bring another project to life together with Centrica.”

    This comes as the UK scrambles to ramp its own homegrown energy to boost security and ramp up energy independence as Russia continues to “weaponise” supplies. The UK has pinpointed wind in its April energy strategy as one of the crucial parts of scuppering its remaining links with Russia, despite only getting four percent of its gas from Moscow last year.

    While the UK still views gas, which has been made more expensive by Russia’s actions, as a transition fuel as it gradually weans itself of fossil fuels to reach in zet zero target by 2050, experts warned there could still a long delay before the UK grid is ready to cope with the vast influx of renewable projects set to come online.

    However, once it is ready, renewable power could offer households cheaper energy as clean power is said to potentially come at the cheapest cost. But despite this, the cost of electricty is often set by the power source with the highest cost, which is gas.

    This is why experts and ministers have been scrambling to decouple electricty and gas prices with a market reform in a bid to unlock the cheaper cost renewable energy should offer

    Back in July, the Government launched REMA, a major review into Britain’s electricity market harness the cost benefits of cheaper energy to help it trickle down to consumers in the long term.

    Chancellor Kwasi Kwarteng, who was Business Secretary at the time of the announcement, said: “We’ve just seen the price of offshore UK wind power fall to an all-time low and gas is a shrinking portion of our electricity generating mix, so we need to explore ways of ensuring the electricity market is adapting to the times.

    That includes ensuring the cost benefits of our increasing supply of cheaper energy trickle down to consumers, but also that our system is fit for the future – especially with electricity demand set to double by 2035.

    “In what could be the biggest electricity market shake up in decades, I am confident that this review will significantly enhance GB’s energy security and supply for generations to come.”

  • 4 часа, 48 минут назад 28.09.2022Science
    Electric vehicles in the US have gone up 87% in the last year – with Elon Musk’s Tesla on top

    The number of electric vehicles in the U.S. has increased by 87.5 percent in the last year, a new report reveals, but the country will need to speed up infrastructure investment in order to have enough charging outlets to meet the growing demand.

    Zutobi, a driver education company, showed a total of 543,610 EVs in America in its 2021 edition of the U.S. Electric Vehicle Charging Point Report – meaning that there are just over a million EVs in the country today.

    However, even with the explosion of interest in EVs, they still account for a small fraction of America’s overall car market. The EV share of the overall U.S. car market hit 4.6 percent this year and it’s estimated that only around 1 percent of the 250 million cars, SUVs and light trucks on American roads are electric, according to Car and Driver.

    Separately, Electrek reports that Tesla had cornered 68 percent of the market for electric vehicles in the U.S. – which is down slightly, amid far more competition for consumer EV dollars from companies like Ford, GM and Toyota.

    Out of the top five best selling EVs in the U.S. this year, Tesla produced four of them: Model Y, Model 3, Model S and Model X. Ford’s Mustang Mach-E also cracked the top of the list at number three.

    The growth of places to charge EVs is not keeping up with demand. According to Zutobi, there were 98,422 public charging outlets in 2021 and that grew to 128,554, for a 31% increase.

    ‘We believe that shortly, more and more people will think about switching to electric cars. It’s not just about reducing emissions, which are vital for our planet, but also about saving money. After all, the increase in fuel costs will significantly affect drivers’ budgets and strain many families,’ Zutobi co-founder Leo Waldenback told Teslarati.

    ‘But there are many hurdles in the way as well – drivers need to be sure that they can charge their EVs without waiting in long queues, and they also need to know that they aren’t limited to certain areas.

    ‘This requires significant investments into charging infrastructure across the United States, a massive bottleneck if left unaddressed.

    The report also shows which states have the highest and lowest numbers of chargers, along with the most and least number of registered EVs.

    North Dakota, Wyoming and Mississippi have the largest number of charging points per electric vehicle.

    Perhaps not surprisingly, California, Hawaii and Washington top the list for the highest number of registered EVs.

    California, which recently passed a strict law to require all new cars, pickups and SUVs to be electric or hydrogen-powered by 2035, currently has 425,300 registered EVs out of a total of 13.9 million registered automobiles.

    The report states: ‘While it’s encouraging that more people are choosing to buy electric vehicles, the speed at which chargers are installed clearly needs to improve alongside this, and could be set to do just that in the coming years, with the president promising to have 500,000 installed by 2030.’

    President Biden, who has prioritized the promotion of EVs with various tax incentives, recently took credit on Twitter for EV sales having tripled since he took office. The Democrat did not mention Musk or Tesla in his comments.

    Tesla has said it plans to deliver 50 percent over last year’s numbers, which is an ambitious target considering the company delivered over 930,000 vehicles in 2021.

    ‘Our new research data confirms a worry that the number of electric vehicles on the roads is increasing much faster than the number of charging stations. Unless addressed, the United States won’t be able to undergo the EV revolution most people expect is around the corner.’

  • 6 часов, 37 минут назад 27.09.2022Science
    Millions handed huge energy lifeline with change to slash £448 off bills this winter

    Experts have warned Express.co.uk millions of homes in the UK could be facing crippling bills increases, which can be mitigated significantly by boosting the homes’ energy efficiency. The skyrocketing costs of wholesale gas are being passed down to consumers, as households in the UK are set to pay a record £2,500 per month on their energy bills after the £3,549 price cap was scrapped by Prime Minister Liz Truss. While this saves families about fo £1,000 on their energy bills, this is still a huge increase that could push families into fuel poverty.

    However, new research has found about many households in the UK could save about £448 this winter, by increasing energy efficiency in their homes.

    Kingfisher found two-thirds of households in England and Wales rated Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) D or below will face an average bill increase of £989 a year from next month.

    Meanwhile, the rest of the homes that meet the Government’s target energy efficiency rating of C or above face an increase of £541 a year, meaning inefficient houses could save £448 by reaching EPC C.

    EPC band C is the targeted rating the Government has said that it is “committed to upgrading” as many homes as possible by 2030, while the average home in the UK lies in band D.

    According to a recent report by the Committee on Climate Change, 19 million of the 29 million homes in the UK lie below the C rating, meaning they could pay £748 more per year.

    Speaking to Express.co.uk, Nick Laken, Group Director of Corporate Affairs at Kingfisher said: “Come the 1st of October, the cost of energy for consumers is still going up, it’s just going up less than it was, and our estimation is that on average it’s almost £500 pounds a year more if your home is more energy inefficient.

    “You then go back to the principle that the best type of energy is the one that is never used. If you look further out at 2050, 80 percent of the homes that will be here in 2050 have already been built.”

    He noted that because of this, there needs to be a major push for “making all the existing homes more efficient and clearly that energy use becomes more important the more expensive it becomes.”

    A recent survey of 2,000 UK adults who own or rent property found that despite energy bills growing, only about half are planning to make efficiency improvements this year, with the 34 percent citing upfront costs of installation as the biggest reason for not doing so.

    Mr Lakin said: “We know from our own research, we found that about 30 percent of people said that they want to take action but they can’t afford to now and that’s even before the October increase.

    He added energy efficiency will not only help Britons’ financial situation: “But also the health and well-being, because a better insulation home is often a healthier home, obviously for climate change impact, but also for energy security for the country.

    “Actually better than that is the growth opportunity for the UK as well because the UK can really grow by creating energy efficiency national programme. You’ll create jobs across the country retrofitting homes and also taking into account decarbonisation.”

    The research, undertaken in partnership with economics consultancy Cebr, also uncovered a significant regional divide in household energy efficiency.

    Households in Wales, Yorkshire and the Humber, and the West Midlands, which are three regions with highest poverty rates, are set to be hardest hit as they have the lowest energy efficiency, while Londoners have the most energy-efficient housing, saving hundreds on bills.

    Jess Ralston, Senior Analyst at the Energy and Climate Institute noted there are “stark differences between highly insulated and poorly insulated homes show the real-world impacts insulation could have in time to dent exorbitant bills this winter.

    “The most vulnerable, such as the elderly, tend to live in colder homes and these are the groups that are being placed at risk by inaction from the government on energy efficiency.

  • 6 часов, 37 минут назад 27.09.2022Science
    Truss handed cost-cutting masterplan to save £100bn of UK cash with energy revolution

    The UK could spend a staggering £473billion on fossil fuels by 2050, but the Prime Minister has been handed a blueprint to slash the costs that Britain would have to pay for international gas decarbonising its economy, according to a new report.

    The study by the IEEFA claims an alternative energy pathway could knock a staggering £100billion off the bill Britain may to fork out to its foreign gas suppliers over the coming years and decades. If it continues down the current route advocated by the Government’s climate advisors, then billions of pounds could leak out of the economy, threaten the security of supply and leave Britain exposed to volatile markets, the report adds.

    The Climate Change Committee, the Government’s climate advisors, called for the UK to phase out gas emissions by 2050, in what it calls an ambitious target to limit greenhouse gases and reach net zero. It says this can only be done with clear, stable and well-designed policies to slash further emissions across the economy are implemented now.

    But according to the IEEFA, this target may not be ambitious enough. In fact, leaving it this long to completely cut ties with gas could come at an enormous cost, its report warns.

    By following a different pathway, the National Grid ESO’s “Future Energy Scenarios – Leading the Way” pathway, the report argues this will slash volumes of expensive foreign gas that need to be imported, which in the UK is expected to remain above pre-pandemic levels for most of the decade and is likely to be hit with carbon taxes in the coming years.

    The report also warns focusing too much on gas could scupper the opportunity to invest significantly in renewable power generation, which it argues would protect consumers from future energy supply scares and skyrocketing prices.

    By switching to National Grid ESO’s pathway, which involves the electrification of heating and efficiency measures, the report claims Britain would be able to meet its net zero target while ensuring energy security, boosting long-term employment and productivity, developing local and export supply chains, and slashing the trade deficit, the report adds.

    The pathway offers a roadmap to slash natural gas demand by 400 billion cubic metres (bcm) by 2050. This marks a huge 27 percent drop from the CCC’s “Balanced Net Zero Pathway”—the same as 12 years of net UK gas imports, based on 2020 levels.

    Andrew Reid, IEEFA guest contributor and author of the report, said: “There is no economic case for sustaining gas demand at levels suggested by the CCC’s Balanced Net Zero Pathway, which will leave the country vulnerable to price fluctuations.

    “The UK is in a strong position to speed up the deployment of indigenous renewable generation capacity and support investment in local infrastructure while avoiding huge economic outflows through the purchase of international gas supplies.”

    “Adopting a pathway to 2050 that minimises the UK’s reliance on fossil gas will shield the economy from the risk of high-emission, high-cost energy imports, and it could avoid some of the impacts we are seeing now, with millions of people facing fuel poverty and potential shortages in the UK this winter.”

    It comes after gas prices soared as a result of Russia’s war in Ukraine and Vladimir Putin’s supply cuts to Europe. While the UK only got four percent of its gas from Russia, much of the gas Britain imports from countries like Norway, Belgium and the Netherlands was more costly due to the volatile market, having a huge knock-on impact on UK billpayers.

    While the Government announced a £60billion energy support scheme, along with a huge tax-cutting package, it appears Westminster is going on a spending spree that will require vast amounts of borrowing to cover the costs.

    But the energy bailout will only put a pause on soaring bills in the short-term, with the crisis laying bare the urgent need to ramp up homegrown energy to boost security and energy independence. While it is argued that this can be done with renewables, critics of net zero say that the grid is not ready for these projects, while maintaining that gas, which is cleaner than coal, must be used as a transition fuel as the UK gradually weans itself off fossil fuels.

    And while the UK does plan to ramp up its renewable energy capacity, current restrictions are reportedly slowing the rollout. It comes after reports emerged of developers facing delays of up to a decade to connect new capacity to the electricity grid, which could pose a huge threat to the Governmnet’s net zero pledge.

    While the UK plans to more than double its existing renewable generation capacity by adding 50 gigawatts of offshore wind by 2030, 70GW of solar by 2035 and 24GW of nuclear by 2050, developers have said they may have to wait six to 10 years to connect to the regional distribution networks due to constraints on National Grid’s network.

    Catherine Cleary, a specialist engineer at consultancy Roadnight Taylor told the Financial Times: “The majority of large developers are now seeing construction-ready projects being delayed as a result of long queues and excessive charges to get access to the transmission system. Although there are proposals for new infrastructure, the lengthy timelines for this threaten to derail the net zero targets.”

    The Climate Change Committee has also claimed that current policy is insufficient for even the existing targets.

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Science Monkeypox: WHO to rename disease over stigmatisation concerns — invites suggestions