In an effort to remind people about the dangers of driving a car, some people in Canada are considering putting warning labels on gas pumps. Reports indicate that the idea has already received the support from various city councils.
The warning labels will likely include photos that show the effects of climate change, such as snowless mountains and flooded streets. The campaign has been promoted by an organization known as Our Horizon. Representatives from Our Horizon say that these labels would be a way to get people talking about the environment.
North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto said, “The idea is we want to put labelling on gas pumps or on nozzles. We want to make it mandatory to say fossil fuels contribute to climate change. We think this is the issue of our time. We want to explore it and see how far we can go.”
Many people have compared the idea to that of warning labels on cigarette packages. There has been a large amount of debate as to whether or not the practice works. While putting warning labels on gas pumps might raise awareness of climate change, it would be difficult to measure if the practice causes changes in behavior.
However, other people are worried about the idea for a completely different reason. Some people have said that the areas that would be used for the warning labels are prime advertising spots for companies. If gas station operators had to replace advertisements with warning labels, they would lose revenue, and sales would decline.
Still, other critics of the idea say that the link between fossil fuels and climate change is already well-known. Having to put warning labels on gas pumps would simply be an annoyance.
The city of Burnaby in British Columbia has already rejected the idea, saying that it could provide challenges for gas retailers. According to the city council, putting warning labels on gas pumps would put gas sales at a disadvantage compared to other cities. The council says that the city is taking other measures to promote the reduction of greenhouse gases.
However, the council of North Vancouver was unanimous in its decision to place warning labels at all of the city’s gas stations. The city plans to discuss the issue in greater detail on November 16th.
Other cities are being more reluctant to make a firm decision. The cities of Vancouver and Surrey have yet to decide whether they will be in support of labeling. West Vancouver Mayor Michael Smith says that he wants to see the effects in North Vancouver before he makes a decision.
Our Horizons representative Matt Hulse has said that the warning labels are a simple tool that should convince some people to switch to electric vehicles or reduce their emissions output by carpooling or by taking public transit.
Time will tell if the labels prove to be a success.