(C. Jardin) #1
1 February 2020 | New Scientist | 7

THE UK government has decided
to allow technology from Chinese
company Huawei to be used in the
country’s superfast 5G network,
despite intense pressure from the
US for a ban. The decision, made
by prime minister Boris Johnson
this week, was branded a major
blow for the US.
Huawei is the world’s biggest
producer of telecoms equipment,
but critics have warned that
allowing the firm to supply the
UK’s 5G infrastructure is a national
security risk. The US threatened to
cut off intelligence sharing if the
deal went ahead.
Now the UK has said it will
give Huawei access, albeit with
several limitations. The UK’s
National Cyber Security Centre

will tell telecoms operators that
Huawei – and any other “high-risk
vendors” – must be excluded from
“core” functions that manage
the network, as well as critical
national infrastructure. The firm’s
technology will also be barred
from nuclear and military sites.
As part of a decision made by
the UK’s National Security Council
on Tuesday, Huawei will only be
allowed to contribute up to 35 per
cent of the peripheral network
infrastructure, which connects
devices to cellphone masts. That
figure will be kept under review
and the government said it would

act swiftly to mitigate any risks.
“It is necessary to have tight
restrictions on the presence of
high-risk vendors,” said the UK’s
digital secretary, Nicky Morgan,
in a statement. Huawei said it was
“reassured” by the decision, which
would “keep the 5G roll-out on
track”. Trade body Mobile UK
welcomed the move, which it said
provides access to the “latest and
most innovative technologies”.
However, US Republican Newt
Gingrich quickly tweeted: “[The]
British decision to accept Huawei
for 5G is a major defeat for the
United States.” ❚

The Chinese telecoms firm Huawei will be allowed to provide 5G
technology to the UK, despite security fears, reports Adam Vaughan

Greenhouse gases

Australian fires add
to carbon forecast
THE UK’s Met Office is
forecasting a near-record
annual increase in the
concentration of carbon
dioxide in the atmosphere
in 2020, made worse by
the huge wildfires burning
in Australia. Around 2 per
cent of the predicted rise
will be due to those blazes.
The fires are estimated
to have emitted between 0.
and 0.7 gigatonnes of CO 2 ,
says Richard Betts at the Met
Office. That is a lot, though
not as much as the fires in
Indonesia in 1997 to 1998,
which may have produced
between 3 and 9 gigatonnes.
Before the industrial age,
CO 2 levels – gleaned from
ice cores – were around
280 parts per million (ppm).
When we began measuring
them directly at the Mauna
Loa Observatory in Hawaii
in the 1950s, they were
around 315 ppm and rising
by less than 1 ppm per year.
During the past decade,
levels have risen by more
than 2 ppm per year on
average. Betts and his
colleagues have forecast
that the average level at
Mauna Loa will rise to
414.2 ppm in 2020 from
411.5 ppm the year before.
CO 2 levels are on the rise
due to the 37 gigatonnes
of the gas emitted every
year by burning fossil fuels.
However, only half the CO 2
we emit stays in the air.
The rest is taken up by the
oceans and plants. The
annual CO 2 rise therefore
varies greatly depending
on global weather patterns
that affect plant growth. ❚
Michael Le Page

Huawei can build UK 5G




U^ A




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