May Cause Global Warming—Canadian Gas Pumps May Get Warning Labels
Remember back when people realized that smoking cigarettes was, like, super bad for you, and the government dictated that each pack of cigarettes, each billboard, each poster, and each anything with the cigarette brand’s logo on it also had to have a little box with a graphic picture of someone dying of lung cancer next to a Surgeon General’s warning?
Well, the city of Vancouver may be about to receive these sort of warnings on a different product: gasoline. The idea is to require all sellers of petroleum products in Canada “provide warning labels on all pump handles,” which consist of dire warnings of climate change along with images of flooded streets and snowless mountain peaks.
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“The idea is we want to put labeling on gas pumps or on nozzles. […] We want to make it mandatory to say fossil fuels contribute to climate change,” said City of North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto. “We think this is the issue of our time. We want to explore it and see how far we can go.”
The idea does have its critics, however, who say that there is no way to know if this is an effective method of changing behavior. According to Nathaniel Payne of Simon Frasier University, while the warnings would likely raise awareness, “There’s never a direct link in awareness and whether someone decides to take action on something. It’s hard with the green climate issue. You can talk to 100 people and say ‘It’s getting warmer’ and then we have a freeze. It’s harder to see it. Any time you try to teach a consumer something or change a behavior it takes a long time, (but) it certainly isn’t going to hurt.”
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Other criticisms include that this move could have a large, detrimental financial effect on local convenience stores, whose gas pump handles are considered prime advertising real estate—revenue that would be lost if the plan goes forward—all without any concrete evidence that the measure even has an effect.
Andrew Klukas, president of the Western Convenience Stores Association, said, “It’s not like the connection between fossil fuels and carbon isn’t already known. What difference it is going to make having some downer picture on a gas pump? I don’t think it’s going to be effective. It’s just annoying.”
News Source: The Vancouver Sun