The UK faces serious risks, according to a new government list. These threats include Vladimir Putin’s potential to disrupt the world’s energy supply, a deadly pathogen that could be accidentally released from a laboratory, and extreme weather events related to the climate crisis.
The Cabinet Office has published a register to help prepare the country for the worst-case scenarios. The Independent reports that in addition to a future pandemic and “Putin’s energy ransom,” the possibility of malicious use of drones and cyberattacks on health and welfare systems are also listed as important risks.
Offshore wind power as a hedge
Britain’s Deputy Prime Minister Oliver Dowden plans to visit an energy supplier in Hartlepool on Thursday, according to The Independent. The purpose of the visit is to launch what he describes as the most comprehensive risk assessment ever published by the UK government. This assessment aims to enable the government and its partners to develop well-considered plans to be prepared for all possible scenarios.
In addition, Dowden will highlight the world’s largest offshore wind farm as a strategic means of strengthening Britain’s energy independence. The move is being seen as a way to guard against what Dowden calls “Putin’s energy ransom.” This wording seems to indicate concerns that Russia could use its energy supplies as a bargaining chip, particularly in the context of recent events in Ukraine.
Pandemics feared with catastrophic consequences
According to the register cited by The Independent, the likelihood of a new pandemic is between 5 and 25 percent and its impact could be “catastrophic”. Likewise, the register highlights the risks of wildfires and droughts, and there are indications that the frequency and intensity of storms is likely to increase in the future.
New to the list are malicious use of drones, cyberattacks on health and welfare systems, sabotage of vital undersea internet cables, and disruption of space-based services. The climate crisis has already changed the risk of certain types of extreme weather in the UK. This latest register is the most transparent since its original release in 2008 and the first update since 2020.