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Feeling the heat

Human Race: Europe seeks to reduce gas consumption as a difficult winter approaches

A worker turns a valve wheel at a Gazprom gas well in Russia. Andrey Rudakov/ Bloomberg via Getty Images

Feeling the heat
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The European Union announced on July 26 that it will reduce its gas consumption by 15 percent between August and March in hopes of storing enough for winter in case Russia cuts off its supply. In 2021, the EU got about 45 percent of its gas from Russia, according to the International Energy Agency. Right now, the EU member countries plan to voluntarily share and ration gas, but if the EU’s goals are not met, the member states will discuss mandatory regulations.

On July 25, a large Russian energy manufacturer, Gazprom, said it would limit gas supplied to the EU through the Nord Stream 1 pipeline to 20 percent capacity. The company had already shut off the gas supply through the pipeline for repairs earlier in the month, and Russia had already stopped or reduced gas deliveries to 12 EU countries, citing supply chain problems, sanctions, or repairs.


Russia’s new space chief, Yuri Borisov, said Russia’s space agency, Roscosmos, will withdraw from the International Space Station by 2024 and create its own space station. Dimitry Rogozin, Borisov’s predecessor, had previously said that Russia would be willing to discuss keeping its astronauts on the ISS, but only if the U.S. dropped its sanctions against Russia’s space industry. Astronauts have manned the station nonstop for almost 22 years, conducting research in zero gravity and testing equipment for future space expeditions. Elon Musk’s SpaceX company now flies NASA astronauts to and from the space station, but for years NASA paid tens of millions of dollars per seat for rides to and from the station aboard Russian Soyuz rockets.


Health officials from Rockland County, N.Y., reported on July 21 that an unvaccinated adult contracted the polio virus. Officials said the patient had a vaccine-derived strain of the virus, which he likely got from someone who received a live vaccine overseas. The patient is experiencing paralysis, according to authorities, but is no longer contagious. In the United States, children receive inactivated vaccines, but live vaccines are administered to children as drops in the mouth in some other countries. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, around 93 percent of children in the United States have received at least three shots of the inactivated virus.


World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus declared monkeypox a global health emergency in late July. That does not necessarily mean the disease is especially transmissible or lethal—just that the WHO plans to invest more resources into combating it. Monkeypox has spread to more than 70 countries, with just under 3,000 cases in the United States. The virus is transmitted by contact with the skin lesions of an infected person. It is spreading primarily among homosexual men. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has sent more than 370,000 doses of a vaccine for the disease to U.S. states.


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