LEAD Action News
LEAD Action News Volume 12 Number 2, December 2011, ISSN 1324-6011
Incorporating Lead Aware Times ( ISSN 1440-4966) and Lead Advisory Service News (ISSN 1440-0561)
The Journal of The LEAD (Lead Education and Abatement Design) Group Inc.
Editor: Anne Roberts

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With just a few days of December 2011 remaining, at the time of writing, it is a faint hope that The LEAD Group’s main ‘wish list’ item for 2011 will be achieved, namely, the total global phase-out of leaded petrol by the end of the year. On Friday 23rd December 2011, the final version of a sign-on letter will be sent to the CEO of Innospec, Patrick Williams, including:

“Your announcement of the date of the cessation of sale of TEL for MOGAS would make an historic precedent in responsible multinational enterprise achievement and a gift of health for the world, this Christmas.”

And then it’s up to Innospec: history may be made and Patrick Williams of Innospec may earn the award of Champion of the Lead Safe World, proposed by Elizabeth O’Brien, President of The LEAD Group.

Was it foolish and misguided to put forward the proposal that Innospec, the one remaining maker of tetra ethyl lead (TEL) for motor fuels (MOGAS) should simply stop supplying it, and ask, in June 2011 that the six people who could have acted to do something achieve this, do so? (See LEAD Action News, vol 11 no 4 and see the Fact Sheet below.)

Yes, and no.

Yes, in believing that it would actually happen, and allowing ‘failure’ to have at least some effect on morale.

No, in that vested interests will never, of their own accord (almost never – philanthropists excepted) propose to end anything that benefits them. Laws have to be passed by governments, the ‘public’ has to show revulsion, or an equally or more profitable but less damaging (environmentally, socially, etc.,) way has to be forced on them, or discovered for themselves. Or all of the above.

Change for the better, where vested interests are at work, can take a long time.

In ‘western’ countries our freedoms and ‘rights’ have taken many centuries to achieve (see A.C.Grayling ‘Towards the Light,’ Bloomsbury, 2007), and those freedoms and rights are under constant threat.

Bill Moyer, of the Social Movement Empowerment Project, wrote, in July 1990, “The Practical Strategist: Movement Action Plan (MAP) for Evaluating, Planning and Conducting Social Movements.” Moyer stresses gaining public support as essential.

The UN has apparently accepted that two more years’ of leaded petrol is – well, acceptable. Innospec wants to continue to sell TEL for MOGAS as long as it’s not banned in every country, and Innospec can still maximise cash flow.

Does two more years’ of leaded petrol represent failure of a campaign? Hardly, but it doesn’t represent total success, either. Public support is needed, if those two years are to be reduced.

See all the public support we’ve achieved to date in: ‘Sign-on Letter to end Leaded Petrol’, to be sent to Innospec today, Friday 23rd December 2011, in this issue of LEAD Action News and look out for the next instalment come January 2012.

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Last Updated 26 December 2011
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