Berkeley may slap global warming warnings on its gas pumps

Source: By Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times • Posted: Friday, June 20, 2014

Berkeley, Calif., could become the first city in the country that requires its gas pumps to have warning stickers informing drivers that California has deemed carbon dioxide emissions a contributor to global warming.

Two citizen panels, the Energy Commission and Community Environmental Advisory Commission, approved the initiative last week and are now drafting recommendations to the City Council.

Two council members have even agreed to push an ordinance that make the warnings mandatory.

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

The stickers would include 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.”

Grass-roots environmental organization 350 Bay Area modeled the idea on cigarette package warnings. A San Francisco supervisor and Canadian organization are also working to do the same in their prospective areas.

“I’d be happy for every other city to do it first and we could be 101st, but so far it looks like we’re on track to be the first,” Worthington said.

Jamie Brooks, manager of 350 Bay Area’s Beyond the Pump campaign, said the goal is to transform the social context for consumers while boosting awareness on the issue.

“Chances are a consumer dismissive of climate change won’t notice the label,” Brooks said. “The person concerned about climate change will read the label. … It acts as a reinforcement. ‘I need to change my behaviors. I am part of a large emissions problem now.’ The label identifies you as part of the problem” (Lee Romney, Los Angeles Times, June 18)