Quantcast
Climate

This City is the World's First to Mandate Climate Change Warning Labels on Gas Pumps

What if every time you fueled up at your local gas station, you were reminded that the world's addiction to oil contributes to climate change? Would it change your habits? The city of North Vancouver, British Columbia is hoping so. The city council voted unanimously earlier this week to approve mandatory climate change labels on gas pumps.

This is one of the warning labels proposed by the nonprofit Our Horizon. Photo credit: Our Horizon

It's a "historic global first," said Rob Shirkey, the founder of the nonprofit Our Horizon which lobbied for the law. He told CBC News that "other Canadian and American cities have come close by supporting similar initiatives, but the city of North Vancouver is the first to make it mandatory." San Francisco, Berkeley and Seattle have all recently considered instituting warning labels.

The city council still has to approve designs for the stickers, which they are hoping to do by early next year. Once they do, they will require gas pumps to have them as part of a business license. City staff are currently working on pitching ideas for the exact message of the sticker. City officials don't think that residents of North Vancouver are going to just abandon their cars overnight, but they're hoping it will shift the way they think about climate change.

“[The goal] is not to have someone drop the pump and walk away from the vehicle,” Shirkey explained. “We have a habitual automatic downstream behavior—we don’t think about pumping gas. We all say in Canada, ‘shame on Alberta, shame on tar sands,’ but by pointing finger up-stream, we distance ourselves from the problem. We’re providing most of the demand for that product.”

In other words, they're hoping the stickers remind residents of their own complicity in causing climate change and start to change people's behavior. It's important to offer "pragmatic solutions an ordinary person could implement," said North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto.

"The message is that burning fossil fuels causes climate change and … to add a positive spin, here are some tips when using your automobile on how to make it more fuel efficient," Mussatto added. "I couldn't live without my vehicle, but I can certainly reduce the number of trips I do use it for."

Shirkey cautioned, though, that the city shouldn't "shy away from negative messaging" too much. He said it's been an effective strategy for health warnings on cigarettes. "If it's too positive, which is what the industry is advocating for, then we're avoiding the problem and not addressing the issue of climate change," Shirkey said.

The stickers will cost the city between $3,000 and $5,000 to make. Here are some sample messages from a city staff report:

  • Benefits of active transportation: “Walking has zero GHG emissions and improves your health”
  • Electric vehicle incentives: “Get $5,000 towards a purchase of a new electric car”
  • B.C. Scrap-It program: “Trade in your clunker for a transit pass worth $1,360”
  • Facts about vehicle idling: “Idling your vehicle for more than 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting your engine”
  • Facts about climate change: “Burning fossil fuel contributes to climate change”

Our Horizon also offered some ideas:

Photo credit: Our Horizon

Photo credit: Our Horizon

Photo credit: Our Horizon

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

NASA Carbon Map Shows Which Countries are Polluting the World

4 U.S. Cities That Have Gone 100% Renewable

10 Photos Show the Reality of a Warming Planet

Bernie Sanders: ‘Climate Change Is Directly Related to the Growth of Terrorism’

Show Comments ()
Sponsored
Popular

New Mexico Tribes Step Up to Protect Land Before Fossil Fuels Vote

Native American tribes are voicing concerns and demanding input on regulations on fossil fuel development in a New Mexico county, in the latest wave of tribal voices growing louder on oil and gas development across the country.

Sandoval County, home to 12 Native tribes, will hold a final vote in January on a draft ordinance to regulate oil and gas development in the county. In packed public meetings over the proposed ordinance last week, tribal leaders called out the lack of tribal input in the draft ordinance and raised concerns over the ordinance's lack of protections for water, air and land resources.

Keep reading... Show less

Why Thanksgiving Is the Perfect Time to Give Up Meat

By Peter Kalmus

Of all our holidays, Thanksgiving is my favorite. It's a time out from the frenetic pace of life, a time for families to slow down and gather in the kitchen—to just be. It doesn't lend itself to the garish onslaught of commercialization. (You can sense the capitalist frustration and over-compensation in that oddest of add-ons, Black Friday). And for me, Thanksgiving was the perfect time to finally give up meat.

My journey to vegetarianism has been one of gradual awareness. In college, while living off campus, I discovered the wonders of cooking Indian food. Because the one cookbook I owned was from the Vaishnava tradition, my Indian cookery was strictly vegetarian. At a formative period of my life, I fell in love with the flavors of India. Those dishes never wanted for meat.

Keep reading... Show less
Red wolf in Randolph, North Carolina. Valerie / Flickr

Senate Republicans Push for Extinction of North Carolina's Red Wolf

Tucked away in the Senate report accompanying Monday's funding bill for the Department of the Interior is a directive to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to "end the Red Wolf recovery program and declare the Red Wolf extinct."

"Senate Republicans are trying to hammer a final nail in the coffin of the struggling red wolf recovery program," said Perrin de Jong, staff attorney at the Center for Biological Diversity. "It is morally reprehensible for Senator Murkowski and her committee to push for the extinction of North Carolina's most treasured wild predator. Instead of giving up on the red wolf, Congress should fund recovery efforts, something lawmakers have cynically blocked time and time again."

Keep reading... Show less
Health
Pexels

Connecting With Nature Improves Minds and Moods

By Marlene Cimons

Twentieth Century German social psychologist Erich Fromm first advanced the notion that humans hold an inborn connection to nature. Later, it was popularized by biologist E.O. Wilson as "the urge to affiliate with other forms of life." In the ensuing years, support for the positive effects of nature has gained considerable traction, grounded in a growing body of research.

In recent weeks, at least four new studies have emerged adding more validity to what science repeatedly has revealed: Being around nature is good for us. The latest research shows that interacting with nature makes the brain stronger and soothes the psyche.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
Popular
The Trump administration has proposed increased entry fees at 17 national parks, including the Grand Canyon. Grand Canyon National Park / Flickr

You Now Have More Time to Protest National Park Fee Hikes

Following widespread outrage, the National Parks Service (NPS) has extended the comment period for the public to weigh in on the proposed rate hikes at 17 of the most popular national parks across the country.

The comment period now closes Dec. 22, 2017. The original deadline had been set for Thursday.

Keep reading... Show less
Coral growth near Aqaba, Jordan. kaetidh / Flickr

Northern Red Sea Could Be Unique Global Warming Refuge for Coral

Lying at the northern tip of the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aqaba might be able sustain its coral population for another 100 to 150 years, despite global warming, new research predicts.

Scientists from the King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST), the University of Essex and Al-Azhar University believe that a stretch of nearly 1,120 miles could become one of the few—and one of the largest—refuges for coral.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored
An oil train moves through California's Central Valley. In 2009, 10,000 tank cars transported crude oil in the entire U.S. This one terminal alone proposed bringing in 73,000 cars a year. Elizabeth Forsyth / Earthjustice

Victory: Concerned Citizens and Environmental Groups Stop Oil Train in Its Tracks

A coalition of concerned citizens, environmental groups, and health and safety advocates successfully challenged the approval of a massive refinery and rail project that will further harm air quality in the San Joaquin Valley and subject residents in several states to the catastrophic risks of a derailment involving scores of tanker cars filled with explosive Bakken crude oil.

The Alon Bakersfield Refinery Crude Flexibility Project, approved by the Kern County Board of Supervisors, would have enabled the refinery to unload crude from more than 200 tanker train cars per day, allowing it to import up to 63.1 million barrels of crude oil per year. A lawsuit filed by Earthjustice on behalf of the Association of Irritated Residents, Center for Biological Diversity and Sierra Club claimed that Kern County's certification of an environmental impact report (EIR) failed to meet its legal duty to fully assess the project's risks and disclose them to the public. The court agreed.

Keep reading... Show less
Popular

Keystone Pipeline Permit Could Be Revoked After Last Week's 210,000-Gallon Spill

TransCanada's permit to operate its Keystone tar sands pipeline in South Dakota could be revoked if an investigation into last week's 210,000-gallon leak determines that the pipeline operator violated its license, Reuters reported.

State regulators expressed concern that the Nov. 16 spill in Marshall County was not the first from the controversial pipeline.

Keep reading... Show less
Sponsored

mail-copy

The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!