In what is believed to be a global first, climate change warnings will soon be mandatory on gas pumps in the western city of North Vancouver, British Columbia. City council has unanimously passed a resolution ordering gasoline stations to use warning stickers on pumps as a condition on their business licences.
The decision reinforces the stereotype that people in the Vancouver area are more environmentally conscious than the average Canadian.
‘Burning fossil fuels causes climate change’
“The message (on the labels) is that burning fossil fuels causes climate change,” said North Vancouver Mayor Darrel Mussatto, and that ordinary people can take action to mitigate that by taking transit or by idling their vehicles less. The warning is likened to those on cigarette packages in Canada that state tobacco use causes cancer. (Since December 2000 cigarettes display warnings which take up half the package. Canada was the first place to require graphic warnings in colour)
The idea to use warning stickers on gas pumps came from a not-for-profit group called Our Horizon. Its founder says the concept has been endorsed by over one hundred academics and leaders in natural sciences, social sciences, public policy and economics professors across North America. It has also been endorsed by various environmental groups.
Other Canadian and U.S. cities have supported similar moves but North Vancouver is thought to be the first to make it mandatory. On September 25, 2015 mayors and councillors from across the province of British Columbia voted to support and implement where possible climate change labels on gas pumps.
“The idea is perhaps the lowest cost climate intervention in the world yet (and) has the potential to be the most impactful (sic),” proclaims the Our Horizon website.