Top Stories

August 25, 2022


British Gas to donate 10% of profits to struggling customers

Energy provider British Gas has announced it will donate 10% of its profits to help its poorer customers manage rising gas and electricity bills for the “duration of the energy crisis”. Ahead of an expected rise in the price cap on energy, the company’s owner, Centrica, said it would donate £12 million into an existing support fund. According to British Gas, grants of £250 to £750 would be given to poorer customers, and the pledge to donate 10% of profits every six months would last for the duration of the energy crisis backdated to the start of 2022. UK energy regulator Ofgem will publish its latest update to the energy price cap with a uniform expectation of a steep increase in the price households pay for energy. (The Guardian)


Climate activists take UK government to court over food strategy

Environmental campaigners have launched a legal challenge against the UK government’s food strategy for England, arguing its lack of plans to cut meat and dairy consumption breaks laws. Lawyers at Leigh Day, acting on behalf of the campaign group Feedback, filed a claim for judicial review at the High Court. They said the government breached the ‘Climate Change Act’ by failing to take into account environmental advice from its own climate change committee and its adviser in formulating the strategy. The committee has repeatedly called for the UK to reduce meat and dairy consumption by a fifth by 2030. It described the food strategy as a “missed opportunity” for the climate. The case follows another successful judicial review in which a judge ruled that the government’s net-zero plan was unlawful. (Financial Times)*


Vietnam tells medical departments being LGBTQ is ‘not an illness’

The Vietnam government has announced that being gay, bisexual or transgender should not be considered an illness and cannot be treated in what is described as a “huge paradigm shift” for LGBTQ rights in the country. The Ministry of Health said medical professionals should treat LGBTQ people with respect and ensure they are not discriminated against. In an announcement sent to health departments, the government said medics should not “interfere nor force treatment” on LGBTQ patients. The announcement goes on to say education should be strengthened, and mental health services should only be provided by experts on sexual orientation and gender identity. Lastly, it advises that supervision and inspection of medical facilities be increased. However, critics argue that it remains unclear how the decision will affect those still facing threat of conversion therapy. (Al Jazeera)


Britain imports no energy from Russia for first time on record

For the first time on record, Britain is importing no energy from Russia for after trade between the two countries collapsed following the Kremlin’s ordered invasion of Ukraine in February 2022. Figures from the Office for National Statistics released six months after the start of the war found that in June the UK’s imports from Russia were down by 97% and stood at only £33 million as sanctions took effect. In the 12 months leading up to the war, the UK imported an average of £499 million of fuel from Russia but this figure has dropped to zero for the first time since modern records began in 1997. The UK has been compensating by increasing imports of refined oil from Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, the Netherlands, and Belgium. (The Guardian)


California plans to ban sales of gas-powered cars by 2035

California air regulators are expected to issue stringent rules to ban the sale of new gasoline cars by 2035 and set interim targets to phase the cars out. The California Air Resources Board’s potential new rules would also set interim quotas for zero-emission vehicles, focusing on new models. Starting with 2026 models, 35% of new cars, SUVs and small pickups sold in California would be required to be zero-emission vehicles. That quota would increase each year, expected to reach 51% of all new car sales in 2028, 68% in 2030 and 100% in 2035. The quotas would also allow 20% of zero-emission cars sold to be plug-in hybrids. The rules would not impact used vehicles and would allow those vehicles to stay on Californian roads. (CNN)

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