Climate Change Warning Labels

… On the Handles of Gas Pumps! 
The San Francisco Bay Area city of Berkeley is moving forward with plans to put climate-change warning labels on gas pumps in what could be the first such requirement of its kind in the nation.

Scientists know that CO2 emissions contribute to climate change, just as they know that smoking causes cancer. If cigarette companies are required to post warning labels reminding consumers of the risk on their products, why not include warning labels on gas pumps, too?

Berkley’s environmental advisory panel asked the city manager last week to draft an ordinance for the labels. The city’s community environmental advisory commission called on the city manager last week to draft an ordinance for the labels. The city council is expected to vote on the ordinance in the fall

From the LA Times on June 18, 2014:

“It’s a perfect opportunity to remind people that there are greenhouse gas impacts and there are alternatives,” said Councilman Kriss Worthington, who sponsored an initial measure but then moved to send it to both commissions to vet “all possible objections” from the petroleum industry.

The design idea for the stickers, which could change, currently includes a statement reminding consumers that California “has determined that global warming caused by CO2 emissions poses a serious threat to the economic well-being, public health, natural resources and the environment of California.”

Screen-Shot-2014-06-19-at-4.10.45-PM

One of the warning labels under consideration by the City Energy Commission of the City of Berkeely

The idea was modeled on warnings on cigarette packaging and crafted by a grassroots environmental organization known as 350 Bay Area. A San Francisco supervisor is also working with the group to promote similar labeling there. A Canadian organization is moving forward as well.

Targeting All of Us, “the Consumer”
This is exciting, and shows what we can do at the local level.  Will it immediately cease purchases at the gas pump?  Maybe not. But the point of sale is a great place to have people stop and think about the impact of their purchases.  And it is consumers that can drive policy, whether it be higher gas mileage on cars and trucks; a carbon tax; or shift to cleaner sources of energy.

 

Crowd-funding video for BC One Horizon Project

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