San Francisco-area environmentalists are proposing that warning labels, similar to those found on cigarette packages, be placed on gasoline pumps. But instead of warning that the fumes may be hazardous to one’s health, the labels would warn that filling up may contribute to global warming.
“Human beings are not really wired for seeing the cause and effect of climate change,” said Jamie Brooks, of 350BatArea.org, according to SFGate. “The cause is burning fossil fuels, but we’re not going to feel the effects until well into the future. There’s no immediate signal to a consumer of gasoline to show their effects on climate.”
350BayArea.org, dedicated to addressing climate change, takes its name from the global-warming goal of limiting carbon dioxide to a maximum level of 350 parts per million. The group claims that current levels are at 392 ppm.
Brooks’ group proposes a simple design and straightforward message. The labels would tell drivers that the state of California has determined global warming, caused by greenhouse gas emissions, to be a major threat.
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Brooks and his colleagues are pitching the idea to city governments, saying cities have the legal authority to impose the labels on local gas stations. Members of 350.org have already discussed the idea with city officials in San Francisco and Berkeley, Brooks said. They also plan to target Oakland.
My first thought was that when the motorist reads the label, he’s supposed to replace the nozzle, go home and vow never to drive again. But Brooks claims that his proposal’s intent is a bit more modest.
“The goal isn’t to take transportation away from people and say, ‘You’re a bad person,’” he said. “The goal is to create a signal saying, ‘You need to change your behavior.’”
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