News: Dump The Pump in the Press: See the 1/9 Chronicle/SF Gate Blog on our campaign! See our Press page for more.
We are working for Warning Labels on Gas Pumps
Why should Oil companies be able to sell their climate-change-inducing product without disclosing these risks to the public? We want to change this, and the best way to do it is through warning labels. We want to require them, starting with attaching them to every gas pump in Oakland, Berkeley, San Francisco, the entire state, and eventually the entire nation.
Why Start a CO2 Warning Education Campaign on Gas Pumps?
FACT: Driving a car is the #1 source of carbon emissions in California (Air Resources Board, 2011). Our current, energy-inefficient transportation system is driven by consumer behavior.
CHALLENGE: Few drivers understand how much their driving contributes to this large GHG problem.
We have an opportunity to create a meaningful and lasting education campaign to address our collective contribution to transportation emissions. We propose a challenge to a unique problem with a practical, cheap solution. To start, all Oakland, Berkeley, and San Francisco gas pumps should require a clearly visible, climate change warning label. This "Consumer Information Label" would alert gas consumers of the climate risks and dangers associated with burning fossil fuels, as well as educate drivers about their collective responsibility for the problem. Each label would provide a link to city climate action plans that would provide information about ways to reduce gas usage through alternative transportation.
Most California drivers have a distant understanding of the risks from fossil fuel use. The "signal" provided through a warning label would provide the immediate, systematic education and widespread outreach required to build the political response to our transportation GHG problem, and to reach our 2050 GHG goals.
Our goal would be to expand this warning campaign to include all fossil fuei advertising Statewide.
Creating Demand for Non/Very Low-Carbon Transportation
FACT: California is spending billions to create alternative options to driving a gas guzzling car. (buses, rail, denser housing, bicycle and pedestrian facilities, congestion pricing, electric car credits). These investments are going to expand rapidly in coming decades and will grow the supply side of greener mobility options for Californians.
CHALLENGE: Simultaneously, nothing is being planned for the demand side of the equation. While all of the efforts therefore are being focused on creating the 'greenest party on the planet', nothing is being spent on actually 'inviting' the guests. We need to start priming the pump by creating DEMAND for green transportation options now. If we create the infrastructure but don't get the corresponding demand, we will be crushed by the very cost of maintaining that service. With every dollar being precious, we can't afford to have empty buses statewide.
Team members include Jack Lucero Fleck-350.org Bay Area Executive Member, Jamie Brooks-Campaign Manager, Camille Glover-Legal Researcher, Raymond Pajek-Committee Member, graphic designer & 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, email@example.com
"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, Campaign Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org
"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."
Thanks to the legal research provided by Camille Glover (Golden Gate University School of Law), we learned that cities have the legal authority to require such warnings and are not preempted by state or federal law.
We are also buoyed by the unanimous vote of the Bay Area air district on November 6th to cut CO2 emissions by 80%, and by the unanimous vote earlier this year by the San Francisco Board of Supervisors to urge divestment of their pension funds from fossil fuel companies. These unanimous votes are signs that the political environment is ripe for some dramatic action.
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!