Taking a page from the successful fight against Big Tobacco, Berkeley, California could soon become the first American city to require that its gas pumps are affixed with stickers warning drivers that burning gasoline exacerbates climate change and causes CO2 emissions. Engineered by grassroots environmental group 350 Bay Area, this “Beyond the Pump” campaign is modeled after warnings on cigarette packaging as the latest front in the battle against Big Oil. In addition to Berkeley, the group is aiming to get San Francisco and Oakland on board with the global warming gas pump labels.
If the City Council approves the measure after taking up the issue in September, consumers arriving at the city’s 20 public gas stations would see a warning label on the gas pump handle with a message reading that “the State of California has determined that global warming caused by CO2 emissions poses a serious threat to the economic well-being, public health, natural resources, and the environment of California.”
Just as the tobacco industry tried to frame regulating cigarettes as a government intrusion on constitutional rights, the oil industry is deploying similar tactics. In a letter to the Berkeley Planning & Development Department last week, Western States Petroleum Association President Catherine H. Reheis-Boyd predictably argued that the proposed ordinance was “forced speech” that violates the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution. Also predictably, she attempted to obscure the issue as politically motivated and controversial despite the fact that 97 percent of climate scientists agree that global warming is real and caused by human activities.
Councilman Kriss Worthington, who sponsored the initial measure, said that “it’s a perfect opportunity to remind people that there are greenhouse gas impacts and there are alternatives.”
Via Huffington Post
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