Out now: The Environment, September 2022

A Brave New World

The September issue of The Environment explores innovation – the fresh ideas, technologies and approaches that support our transition to a greener, safer, more sustainable world.

Hydrogen is emerging as a strong contender to replace fossil fuel-based energy sources, particularly for transport and the energy grid. But not all hydrogen is equal. So-called blue hydrogen is made from natural gas, a fossil fuel. It’s central to National Grid’s gas-transition strategy, as you’ll see in this month’s issue.

Government backs blue hydrogen as a transition fuel, buying time to scale up production of green hydrogen from surplus wind and solar power. Protium founder Chris Jackson disagrees with that premise. He sets out his case to go green first in this month’s exclusive interview.

Is innovation about inventing new things – or is it being smarter with what we already have?

This month’s article on the circular economy argues for redesigning product endings, rather than inventing new things to sell.

And this month’s op-ed by entrepreneur Julia Davies debunks investors’ obsession with unicorns – landing that one multi-billion pound find that’ll make them wildly rich. Green investment means backing firms based on impact, not on speculative returns, Davies argues.

Back in the 1930s, chemical firms thought PCBs were the hot new product – a wonder material for industry, manufacturing, cosmetics and cooking products. It took 60 years to understand the risks from these forever chemicals’ – the way they build up in the environment, often with deadly consequences.

Our cover story looks at PCBs’ legacy impacts in South Wales – and at how climate change may expose this buried threat. And this month’s policy pages explore the UK’s plans to manage chemicals post-Brexit.

It’s easy to get excited about new products, services and approaches. It’s far harder to understand their whole-life impacts on people, wildlife and places, now and in the future.

Karen Thomas is editor of The Environment

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