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Ailis Kane's articles

Model Insulation Program Saving Energy, Protecting Poor Families -- in the UK

By Ailis Kane

Sep 2, 2008

Rising fuel prices in the UK are boosting demand for an innovative government home retrofit scheme that reduces fuel bills for poorer families and saves thousands of tons of CO2 emissions a year. Since it began eight years ago, the scheme has brought relief to millions of UK citizens.

Poor insulation and inefficient heating systems are major contributors to huge fuel bills that put pressure on poorer families in the UK. Two programs are tackling the problem. One, run by the UK government, is called . It's a scheme which offers low-income families a one-off grant to improve insulation and in some cases, new central heating systems. The other, called the Heat Project, is funded by utility companies under a legal commitment to improve energy efficiency.

Both programs are ready for export anywhere in the world.

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At Battersea, London’s Chance To Be Bold on Green

By Ailis Kane

Jul 8, 2008

Lagging so far behind the rest of Europe in delivering green energy, the UK needs to make a bold statement. Two recent developments have collided to make that more likely.

First came the government's to up the production of renewable energy. It will require generating a third of the country’s energy from green sources by 2020 and a massive expansion of offshore wind power projects.

Second came plans to turn London’s iconic Battersea Power Station, immortalised by , into what developers claim is the UK’s largest ever sustainable development project.

The power station was a major contributor to the capital’s appalling air quality in the 20th century, including the of 1952, which scientists believe may have killed as many as 12,000 people.

The plan to place a low-energy-using office complex alongside Battersea Power Station – along with futuristic chimney and ecodome. And they want the plant to emerge from its dirty past as a green energy powerhouse – burning biomass and other waste to generate electricity.

What a fantastic symbol – the promise of renewable energy rising up through the shell of our coal-fired past and giving a new life to the defunct industrial zone in sustainable work space and housing. But skeptics have thrown cold water on the bold idea.

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Tropical Disease Warning for a Hotter, Wetter Europe

By Ailis Kane

Jun 13, 2008

Think climate change - think extreme weather like floods, droughts and hurricanes. But now Europeans are talking up another threat that could be equally dramatic – the coming of tropical diseases, aided by changing climates and globalization.

As climate change makes Europe hotter and wetter, it could become more attractive to insects able to carry diseases like dengue fever and West Nile virus, . And globalization could make the problem worse.

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