|LEAD Action News vol 11 Number
4, June 2011, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times (ISSN 1440-4966) & Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor: Anne Roberts
The Global Peace Index (GPI) is a numerical measure of how at peace a country is with itself and other countries. A staggering 33 indicators are used.
Key Findings from the 2011 Global Peace Index, from The Institute for Economics and Peace
‘The top five nations (from most to least peaceful) are Iceland, New Zealand, Japan, Denmark and the Czech Republic. The least peaceful nations (from 153rd to 149th) are Somalia, Iraq, Sudan, Afghanistan and North Korea.’
The ranking, out of 153 countries was as follows:
Algeria, least worst of the leaded group (129), Burma (Myanmar) (133), Yemen (138), North Korea (149) and Iraq (152). Please note that these numbers do not represent the ‘score’ given by The Institute for Economics and Peace, but how the countries rate in relation to each other. Of all 153 countries, Iceland was top, New Zealand second, Canada 8, Australia 18, the UK 26 and the USA 82.
Peacefulness and the Elimination of Leaded Petrol in 2008
‘In 2008, peacefulness data was available for the following countries which continued to use lead additives in their vehicular fuels: Afghanistan, Algeria, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Egypt, Iraq, North Korea, Macedonia, Morocco, Myanmar, Serbia, Tunisia, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Yemen (Taylor 2008; Vision for Humanity 2008). Data was not available for Kosovo, Montenegro, Tajikistan or Western Sahara (Taylor 2008; Vision for Humanity 2008). The Global Peace Index for 2008 assessed the peace levels of 140 countries throughout the world (Vision for Humanity 2008).
‘A majority of countries which had eliminated lead from their vehicular fuels fell to the left of the histogram (indicative of high levels of peacefulness), while the countries which had not eliminated lead from their vehicular fuels were spread more evenly along the histogram, with a tendency to fall to the right of the histogram (indicative of low levels of peacefulness). The leaded country exhibiting the lowest levels of peacefulness in 2008 was Iraq.
‘Recalling that lower peacefulness values denoted higher levels of peacefulness, it can be confidently asserted from these findings that in 2008 the likelihood that a country was leaded was related to its level of peacefulness, and that leaded countries were substantially less likely to be as peaceful as unleaded countries. While it is not possible in the absence of comparable time series data to definitively state that the relationship between low peacefulness levels and continuing use of leaded vehicular fuels was causative in nature, it is clear that a close relationship between the two existed. These findings provide strong support for the proposition that failures to address the low levels of peacefulness present in countries that continued to rely on leaded petrol may have been inhibiting the global effort to eliminate lead additives from vehicular fuels in 2008. [Ed’s italics.]
Peacefulness and the Elimination of Leaded Petrol in 2010
‘In 2010, peacefulness values were available for the following countries which continued to use lead additives in their vehicular fuels: Afghanistan, Algeria, Iraq, Myanmar, North Korea and Yemen. The Global Peace Index for 2010 assessed the peacefulness levels of 149 countries throughout the world (Vision for Humanity 2010).
‘From the finding of a statistically significant difference between the two datasets, it is possible to conclude with confidence that, as in 2008, a relationship existed between peacefulness values and the elimination or non-elimination of leaded additives from vehicular fuels in 2010. The finding of the statistical significance of the difference between the datasets for leaded and unleaded countries indicates that the relationship between higher peacefulness values (indicative of lower levels of peacefulness) and a failure to eliminate lead from vehicular fuels (evident in the frequency histogram of the two datasets) did not emerge by chance.
‘Furthermore, this result indicates that the divergence in the peacefulness values of leaded countries as compared with unleaded countries was even greater in 2010 than it was in 2008.
‘From these findings, it can be confidently asserted that the likelihood that a country is leaded is related to its level of peacefulness, and that the relationship between peacefulness levels and the elimination of leaded petrol operated throughout the period 2008 to 2010. It is clear that leaded countries are substantially less likely to be peaceful than unleaded countries, and as time has progressed this trend has become even more pronounced.
‘As the correlation between low peacefulness levels and reliance on leaded petrol became more pronounced in 2010 than it was in 2008, it can be asserted that the need to address the low levels of peacefulness present in leaded countries in order to further the global effort to eliminate lead additives from vehicular fuels was more compelling in 2010 than it was in 2008.
‘The study indicates high levels of correlation between continuing use of leaded vehicular fuels and levels of democracy, levels of corruption, levels of press freedom, levels of economic freedom and levels of peacefulness. [Ed’s Italics]While the absence of comparable time series data precludes a definitive determination of whether observed relationships between isolated determinants of environmental policy and the elimination of lead additives to vehicular fuels are causative in nature or simply highly correlative, it is possible to determine that these relationships did not emerge by chance, and that these relationships are of substantial practical effect. Read in light of the wider body of literature, these results provide strong support for the proposition that failures to address the high levels of corruption and low levels of democracy, press freedom, economic freedom and peacefulness present in countries reliant on lead additives to vehicular fuels may be inhibiting the global effort to eliminate lead additives from vehicular fuels.’
The data examined by Cooper indicate a relationship between five factors examined – namely, corruption, democracy, press freedom, economic freedom and peacefulness, and whether or not a country still had leaded petrol. Those with high degrees of corruption, and low degrees of the other 4 factors, were likely to still use leaded petrol. On the other hand, two factors – namely per capita GDP, and human development, if there appeared to be a relationship, it was by chance.
Afghanistan, Algeria, Burma (Myanmar), Iraq, North Korea and Yemen, it seems fair to say, have more on their minds than a switch to unleaded petrol. Therefore the only way seems to be to cut off the supply of lead additives.
Directions for future research on factors preventing countries switching to unleaded petrol
‘The inability of this study to definitively characterise the relationships between determinants and the global effort to eliminate lead additives from vehicular fuels as causative or merely correlative is a serious limitation of this paper. A study that was able to produce comparable time series data in order to develop a definitive test of causality would have considerable value in further illuminating existing barriers to the global effort to eliminate lead additives from vehicular fuels. An analytical framework built on multiple regression analysis would aid in this endeavour, and would also enable a comparison of the relative influence of each potential determinant as a barrier to environmental reform in the area of the elimination of leaded vehicular fuels.’
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Updated 26 January 2012