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Published on January 11th, 2014 | by Guest Contributor

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Group Wants A Planetary Hazard Label For Gas Pumps

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January 11th, 2014 by
 

Originally published on ThinkProgress.
By Ari Phillips.

Smoking tobacco causes cancer. Greenhouse gases warm the planet. These are things that scientists are at least 95 percent sure of.

The tobacco industry and the fossil fuel industry have other things in common besides extremely high levels of certainty regarding their negative externalities. Both are deeply ingrained in the political and economic system, both use campaigns of disinformation to confuse the public, and both rely heavily on wealthy donors who fund special interest groups that are averse to any change that could negatively impact their profits.

Now the Bay Area chapter of 350.org, an international group trying to help solve climate change, wants to make another connection between smoking and greenhouse gases — this time in the form of a warning label.

Called the “Dump the Pump” campaign, the group wants to raise awareness by putting stickers on gas pumps that would remind consumers of the consequences of their actions each time they fill up their tank. Just like every time you go for a cigarette you are reminded that smoking “causes lung cancer, heart disease, emphysema, and may complicate pregnancy.”

According to the campaign petition, the group is urging “city council to require warning labels on gas pumps to: (1) warn consumers that burning gasoline is causing global warming, and (2) inform people that our city has a Climate Action Plan to reduce CO2 in general and gasoline use in particular.”

George W. Bush said it himself — “America is addicted to oil.”

“Human beings are not really wired for seeing the cause and effect of climate change,” Jamie Brooks, with the Bay Area chapter of 350.org, told the San Francisco Chronicle. “The cause is burning fossil fuels, but we’re not going to feel the effects until well into the future. There’s no immediate signal to a consumer of gasoline to show their effects on climate.”

Brooks told the Chronicle that they are proposing the idea to city governments, including San Francisco and Berkeley, which have legal power to impose the labels onto gas stations.

“The goal isn’t to take transportation away from people and say, ‘You’re a bad person,’” Brooks said. “The goal is to create a signal saying, ‘You need to change your behavior.’”

Image Credit: Minerva Studios via Shutterstock.

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  • Doug

    I don’t want to see a global warming sticker. A larger, Federally mandated sticker, with dire warnings about the safety of gasoline and Diesel would be adequate. Mention dangers to pregnant women and people will not want to be anywhere near the stuff.

  • Wake up

    This sounds great, but why not focus efforts on a solution instead of simply making people aware. People are not going to be able to change their behavior until alternative solutions exist. Most people do not have the option to stop using gas because that is how they get everywhere. Cities are designed in this country for the use of cars. In many parts of the country, not having a vehicle will leave you stranded and without a means to work to survive. Without infrastructure that enables massive public transportation, just simply not using gas is not going to be a viable option.

    • Bob_Wallace

      We’ve got the technology in hand and on the road.

      We could cut our gas use by 80% by simply requiring all cars and light trucks sold to be EVs and PHEVs.

      • Ben Baptiste

        Yes we could switch all our vehicles to EVs, but this would hurt the environment much more than using traditional gas engines. This is because the batteries for the EVs require a lot of mining for materials and processing. Also the electricity to charge the batteries comes from mostly coal, oil and natural gas. So really we do not have the technology.

        • Bob_Wallace

          We’re going to mine materials for cars regardless of whether they use batteries or internal combustion engines.

          We have the technology to produce the electricity to charge EVs using renewable sources.

        • Doug

          That’s just not factually true Ben. Only a few discredited studies showed BEVs as worse for the environment. Tar sands oil is the future of the oil industry – highly energy intensive extraction methods. The easy oil is all gone. We’re left to the scraps

  • William F. Hagen

    feed the lawyers….

  • Malik Washington

    We should put stickers on politicians and cows too for their contribution to greenhouse gasses.

  • Cgar

    Stupid idea by people that have nothing better to do.

  • Will E

    no more gas makes a lot of money.
    solar on the garage and never fill up at the pump no more.
    dump the pump.
    saves a lot of dollars
    and its all about the dollars.
    so go EV young man go EV.

  • rick jones

    How many people in California actually pay much attention to the Prop 65 stickers?

    • Doug

      Nobody. The prop 65 stickers are lame.

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