City of Berkeley Authorizes Gas Pump Warning Labels
Wednesday, Nov. 19, 2014 - The City of Berkeley voted 7 - 2 in favor of implementing a program that is the first in the nation to address global warming at the gas pump. The vote directs the city's manager and attorney to create the ordinance and language for a program that is anticipated to be rolled out in early 2015. See local news video by NBC Bay Area:
San Francisco is in the midst of implementing an identical program and is expected to be finalized by March, 2015.
Not Just Another Warning Label
A recent poll taken in San Francisco by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication cites that 77% of residents believe that we all should be doing more to address climate change. This same group also believes that individual action, especially collective action, should be taken. The primary reason cited for not taking individual action on climate is simple:
People don’t want to undertake behavior changes alone but want to be a part of a collective effort.
The CO2 information label we advocate for would be targeting this group of change makers in our society, and would be the signal from local government that addresses these concerns from this important group. Research shows that these change makers have the power to shift consciousness.
Small Changes in Habits From Everyone Moves Mountains
The placement of warning labels on a gas nozzle reminds us that we each contribute to the problem by locating responsibility right in the palm of the individual's hand. The labels provide information to all of us to engage our ability to make small lifestyle changes that will have big effects. Each of us can painlessly employ a few of hundreds of suggestions to reduce gas consumption and have it quickly add up to a large difference when it applies across all drivers.
Not Just Another Sticker Slapped On A Pump
We're tackling this effort with a very effective tool: hose talkers. These point-of-purchase devices are eye-catching, inexpensive to install, and extremely durable and easy to maintain. Once installed, it's easy to refresh the graphics when desired, and will offer much more than a warning. Below is an example of what a warning label could look like:
A Warning That Comes With a Big Helping of Solution
Our campaign is designed around both education and solutions. We're aiming to inform consumers about the dangers of burning gasoline, but we're just as driven (sorry for the pun) to provide sound, easy-to-adopt solutions. These solutions don't require a big bank account! We're talking about every-day alternatives and tactics. Just a few:
- keeping your car maintained, tires fully pumped
- driving slower on the freeway (keep it under 60mph)
- commuting to work 1 day per week using carpool, bus transit, walking or bike
- consolidating errands
Each warning label comes with a link to a city's climate action plan, where there are dozens of suggestions for saving on gas. Our intention is to be informative AND to create demand for alternatives.
Labels Unintended Consequences: Saving $$$
One of the biggest hidden benefits of lowering your CO2 footprint comes in the form of putting more cash in your wallet! Many people think that the only way they can become part of the solution is if they go purchase an electric car. We realize that this is an excellent "bigger step" toward making us ultimately free of GHG emissions, but it isn't practical to expect everyone is able to do this tomorrow. In the mean time, trying to reduce your gas by reducing your driving overall can benefit your wallet.
Team members include Jack Lucero Fleck-350.org Bay Area Executive Member, Jamie Brooks-Climate advocate, Camille Glover-Legal Researcher & JD Candidate, Raymond Pajek-creative strategiest, and Kirk R. Smith, MPH, PhD, Professor of Global Environmental Health, University of California, Berkeley-Science Advisor, http://ehs.sph.berkeley.edu/krsmith/
Jack Lucero Fleck, 350 Bay Area Steering Committee Member, firstname.lastname@example.org
"I strongly believe we have the technology to convert to 100% renewable energy--including transportation with electric cars running on solar or other renewables. The main obstacle is to convince people to take action, which is what the warning labels on gas pumps are intended to do."
Jamie Brooks, climate advocate and team member, email@example.com
"CO2 emissions represent a menace to the future habitability of our planet, and oil companies should no longer be able to sell their product with impunity. Municipalities have a moral obligation to disclose the risks of these emissions to consumers, and warning labels would be the best way to do this."
Camille Glover, Legal Researcher
"Climate change is a subject that needs to be in our daily vocabulary and municipalities can play a significant role in this public discourse. My goal with this campaign is find out the best possible methods to bring climate change information to the gas consumer through research in municipal law and the help of city council members."
Watch the Presentation
In November, the 'Warning Labels 350 Bay Area' team gave a presentation to UC Berkeley students. See the PowerPoint Slides:
We are also happy to report that we are collaborating with a group in Canada (http://ourhorizon.org/) that is working to put labels on gas pumps there. We can't let them beat us here in the Bay Area!
In The Press
News: Beyond The Pump in the Press: See our Press page for more.