CLIMATE CRISIS: End of leaded fuel use a ‘milestone for multilateralism’ - UN via GEO´ PR Wire
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The global phase-out of leaded fuel represents a “milestone for multilateralism”, UN Secretary-General António Guterres said on Monday, marking the end of a 20-year campaign to eliminate a major threat to the health of people and the planet.

“Lead in fuel has run out of gas – thanks to the cooperation of governments in developing nations, thousands of businesses and millions of ordinary people,” António Guterres

Healthy, wealthy and wise

The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) spearheaded the initiative to put the brakes on a century of leaded petrol use. The move is expected to net the global economy $2.45 trillion in savings.

Mr. Guterres highlighted the health benefits.

“Ending the use of leaded petrol will prevent more than one million premature deaths each year from heart disease, strokes and cancer,” he said. “And it will protect children whose IQs are damaged by exposure to lead.”

Inger Andersen, the UNEP Executive Director, echoed his message.

“Overcoming a century of deaths and illnesses that affected hundreds of millions and degraded the environment worldwide, we are invigorated to change humanity’s trajectory for the better through an accelerated transition to clean vehicles and electric mobility.”

Road to riddance

The world officially said goodbye to leaded petrol in July, when service stations in Algeria stopped offering it to drivers.

Vehicles have been running on leaded fuel since 1922, when the compound tetraethyllead was added to gasoline to boost engine performance.

By the 1970s, almost all petrol produced worldwide contained lead, UNEP said. The health impacts have been catastrophic, as the Secretary-General pointed out, but the environment has suffered too, with air and soil contamination just two examples.

Most high-income nations had prohibited leaded petrol use by the 1980s, but almost all low and middle-income countries were still using it as late as 2002.

That same year, UNEP began the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV), the public-private alliance behind the campaign.

The initiative brought together all stakeholders, and its activities included raising awareness and overcoming resistance from local oil dealers and producers of lead, as well as investing in refinery upgrades and providing technical assistance. Learn More/...