Berkeley, San Francisco Consider Gas Pump Climate Change Warnings

Berkeley and San Francisco—ever the tireless pioneers of progressive policies—are slated to become the first cities in the nation to slap global warming labels on all city gas pumps.

The Berkeley City Council voted Tuesday to draft language for a new proposed ordinance. The vote was 7 to 2 with council members Susan Wengraf and Gordon Wozniak dissenting.

“Global Warming Alert,” the stickers will read before warning consumers about the harmful emission of carbon dioxide that they’re about to shamelessly engage in. The intention, supporters say, is to get consumers to think twice before filling up; a guilt trip for a worthy cause, if you will.

"I think the science is clear we have to reduce buying gasoline and treat it as though it's a neutral activity," said Jack Fleck, a member of 350BayArea.org, which is leading the effort. "Consuming gasoline is causing climate change. It's a serious problem."

San Francisco is currently drafting a similar ordinance of its own, which could be approved by the Board of Supervisors as early as March. A sample warning label, written by the San Francisco City Attorney’s Office states, “The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has determined that a typical passenger vehicle burning one gallon of fuel produces on average almost 20 pounds of tailpipe carbon dioxide, which the EPA has determined is the primary greenhouse gas that is contributing to recent climate change.”

The Western States Petroleum Association has already signaled a legal threat, calling the labels a violation of “the First Amendment’s prohibition against compelled speech.”

Read more about the push for gas pump warning labels here.


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