Is it time to ban PVC? Ohio freight train crash reopens the debate

Humanity isn’t always a good tenant of the world we live in. What can we do to make things better?

Environmental issues take us round the world in this issue, but let’s start with the Coronation. Whatever you think of him or the monarchy, you have to admit that the newly crowned King Charles III was there early, talking about global warming, conservation and many other environmental issues long before they were fashionable, let alone mainstream. We look at his record. Will Charles III make a good green king? Constitutionally, he’d find it hard to ever be as vocal as king as he could be as prince, and he seems to accept that. But our feature looks at what difference his passion for the environment and sustainability can realistically make in the future.

Our Washington correspondent looks at the world’s LNG dilemma. The fuel crisis made it a tough winter for many, but importing, saving and storing gas combined with warmer weather than feared and government measures helped Europe through what could have been a worse winter. What happens now? Paul Dempsey counts the cost in financial, environmental and political terms. What does it all mean for the future of energy supply?

We dip into energy saving as well. Scotland is toughening its standards to make new houses follow the Passivhaus principle, originally developed in Germany. Rather than just offsetting energy use by renewables, Passivhaus buildings use much less energy in the first place through tighter insulation and ventilation, effectively sealing them from the elements.

Will air travel ever be guilt-free? In reviews, ‘Flying Green’ author Christopher de Bellaigue admits the title of his book might sound unlikely given the record of aviation’s first century, but hopes the sector can rediscover the pioneering zest of its earliest years.

Our cover story looks at the resurgence of concerns about PVC following the environmental disaster resulting from an Ohio train derailment and questionable actions to deal with it. Should American companies be transporting such dangerous chemicals on such a rickety old rail network? Is there an alternative transport? Is there an alternative to PVC? Our investigative journalist, Conor McGlone, reported a few exclusives online for E&T. Now he reports on the environmental and social implications.

Finally, to something not very green at all. Le Mans is 100 years old this month. The 24-hour endurance event was inaugurated in the early days of the motor car to showcase what’s new in automotive technology, and innovations have come and gone ever since. Nick Smith traces the story in pictures, from the early days when drivers ran to their cars at the start, to today’s new Hypercar class. Question: which of these stars raced Le Mans: Paul Newman or Steve McQueen?

Mona Lisa bridge

Graphic News

Image credit: Graphic News

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