In total, more than 185 countries have now stopped adding lead to gasoline, with only six—Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, North Korea, Myanmar and Yemen—still using small amounts and expected to make the full switch over the next year or two.
The new study finds this saves more than 1.2 million people, including 125,000 children, from an early death each year and has resulted in far-reaching improvements in brain function in children, reductions in cardiovascular diseases, decline in criminality, and lower lead levels in blood by as much as 90 percent globally.
The phase-out effort was spearheaded by the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles, which is hosted by UNEP, and of which the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is a founding member. NRDC has a long history of fighting to remove lead from gasoline—first spearheading the effort in the U.S. in the 1970s and initiating a drive for a global phase-out in the 1990s.
Following is a statement from Peter Lehner, executive director of NRDC:
“This is a huge victory for children and families worldwide. Saying goodbye to lead in gas has opened the door to improved health and economic benefits for communities all across the globe.
“We live in a time when politicians and lobbyists make sport out of pitting the economy against public health. This study flies in the face of those petty politics. We don't have to sacrifice our health or our children's IQ for economic gain. In fact, choosing cleaner fuels over leaded gas has not only saved lives, but trillions of dollars.
“This success story is a testament to the power of strong partnerships and persistence. As a founder and active member of the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles hosted by UNEP, NRDC is proud to be a part of the team who succeeded in ridding the world of leaded gasoline.
“But today's announcement marks the triumph in one battle, not the entire war. We must continue the fight to make cleaner fuels available, and boost fuel efficiency around the world. And as we rid the world of one unnecessarily harmful fuel additive, we look to generate global momentum to clean up harmful diesel pollution that still shrouds so many cities worldwide.
“NRDC will continue the fight for safer, cleaner fuels across the board and around the world."
For NRDC blogs on leaded petrol phase-out and the future of clean fuels and vehicles, see:
Peter Lehner, NRDC executive director—Global Phase-out of Lead in Gasoline Succeeds: Major Victory for Kids' Health—click here.
Rich Kassel, director of NRDC's Clean Fuels & Vehicles Project—NRDC joins UNEP to celebrate global elimination of leaded gasoline—A huge step forward for children's health—click here.
The study released Oct. 27, Global Benefits of Phasing Out Leaded Fuel, will be published in the Journal of Environmental Health in December 2011. It was written by Professor Thomas Hatfield, chair of the Department of Environmental and Occupational Health at the California State University, Northridge, with researcher Peter L. Tsai.
Its key findings show the near-global elimination of leaded gasoline has resulted in:
- Health Benefits – More than 1.2 million premature deaths avoided per year (of which 125,000 are children) and blood testing has shown lead in blood levels dropping dramatically—90 percent or more—particularly in cities.
- Social Benefits – Research has indicated that children with lots of lead in their blood are much more likely to be aggressive, violent and delinquent. Since the global phase-out of leaded gas there have been higher IQs and lower crime rates (58 million fewer crime cases reported).
- Economics – $2.4 trillion (or 4 percent of global GDP) costs saved per year.
For more information, click here.
The Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) is an international nonprofit environmental organization with more than 1.3 million members and online activists. Since 1970, our lawyers, scientists and other environmental specialists have worked to protect the world's natural resources, public health and the environment. NRDC has offices in New York City, Washington, D.C., Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, Livingston, Montana, and Beijing. Visit us at www.nrdc.org
- Redwoods are the world's tallest trees.
- Now scientists have discovered they are even bigger than we thought.
- Using laser technology they map the 80-meter giants.
- Trees are a key plank in the fight against climate change.
They are among the largest trees in the world, descendants of forests where dinosaurs roamed.
Pixabay / Simi Luft<p><span>Until recently, measuring these trees meant scaling their 80 meter high trunks with a tape measure. Now, a team of scientists from University College London and the University of Maryland uses advanced laser scanning, to create 3D maps and calculate the total mass.</span></p><p>The results are striking: suggesting the trees <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">may be as much as 30% larger than earlier measurements suggested.</a> Part of that could be due to the additional trunks the Redwoods can grow as they age, <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">a process known as reiteration</a>.</p>
New 3D measurements of large redwood trees for biomass and structure. Nature / UCL<p>Measuring the trees more accurately is important because carbon capture will probably play a key role in the battle against climate change. Forest <a href="https://www.wri.org/blog/2020/09/carbon-sequestration-natural-forest-regrowth" target="_blank">growth could absorb billions of tons</a> of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year.</p><p>"The importance of big trees is widely-recognised in terms of carbon storage, demographics and impact on their surrounding ecosystems," the authors wrote<a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank"> in the journal Nature</a>. "Unfortunately the importance of big trees is in direct proportion to the difficulty of measuring them."</p><p>Redwoods are so long lived because of their ability to <a href="https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-020-73733-6" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">cope with climate change, resist disease and even survive fire damage</a>, the scientists say. Almost a fifth of their volume may be bark, which helps protect them.</p>
Carbon Capture Champions<p><span>Earlier research by scientists at Humboldt University and the University of Washington found that </span><a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0378112716302584" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Redwood forests store almost 2,600 tonnes of carbon per hectare</a><span>, their bark alone containing more carbon than any other neighboring species.</span></p><p>While the importance of trees in fighting climate change is widely accepted, not all species enjoy the same protection as California's coastal Redwoods. In 2019 the world lost the equivalent of <a href="https://www.worldwildlife.org/threats/deforestation-and-forest-degradation" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">30 soccer fields of forest cover every minute</a>, due to agricultural expansion, logging and fires, according to The Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF).</p>
Pixabay<p>Although <a href="https://c402277.ssl.cf1.rackcdn.com/publications/1420/files/original/Deforestation_fronts_-_drivers_and_responses_in_a_changing_world_-_full_report_%281%29.pdf?1610810475" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">the rate of loss is reported to have slowed in recent years</a>, reforesting the world to help stem climate change is a massive task.</p><p><span>That's why the World Economic Forum launched the Trillion Trees Challenge (</span><a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a><span>) and is engaging organizations and individuals across the globe through its </span><a href="https://uplink.weforum.org/uplink/s/uplink-issue/a002o00000vOf09AAC/trillion-trees" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">Uplink innovation crowdsourcing platform</a><span> to support the project.</span></p><p>That's backed up by research led by ETH Zurich/Crowther Lab showing there's potential to restore tree coverage across 2.2 billion acres of degraded land.</p><p>"Forests are critical to the health of the planet," according to <a href="https://www.1t.org/" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">1t.org</a>. "They sequester carbon, regulate global temperatures and freshwater flows, recharge groundwater, anchor fertile soil and act as flood barriers."</p><p><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor">Reposted with permission from the </em><span><em data-redactor-tag="em" data-verified="redactor"><a href="https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2021/03/redwoods-store-more-co2-and-are-more-enormous-than-we-thought/" target="_blank">World Economic Forum</a>.</em></span></p>
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