This Canadian City is the First to Implement Mandatory Climate Change Warning Labels

November 20, 2015 | Joanne Kennell

Climate change label
Photo credit: Our Horizon (image has been cropped)

Would these warning labels inspire you to use your car less?

Warning labels are not just for cigarettes and people who forget that coffee is hot, they are now required on all gasoline pumps in one Canadian city.  North Vancouver, British Columbia is the first city in the world to make it mandatory for gas pumps to display climate change warning labels.  The new bylaw, bylaw 8437, was unanimously voted in on Monday, with the hope of implementing the stickers by early next year.  

The not-for-profit group, Our Horizons, started this initiative, and its founder Rob Shirkey called the vote a “historic global first.”  Our Horizons also developed a three-minute video explaining the endeavour.



North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto wants the stickers to not only focus on the harm caused to our climate by burning fossil fuels, but to also incorporate a positive spin by adding solutions that anyone could implement such as ways to make your car more fuel efficient, taking public transit, and not idling.

SEE ALSO: White House Creates Climate Change Twitter Account to Push For Action

Even though just over half of Canadians believe that climate change is real and human caused, Shirkey cautions, "If it's too positive, which is what the industry is advocating for, then we're avoiding the problem and not addressing the issue of climate change."

The city will not have to spend a lot of money to produce the stickers, with costs estimated between $3,000 and $5,000.  The tricky step is coming up with a message that will engage people and inspire them to reduce the amount of fossil fuels they burn by using their car.  North Vancouver city staff have so far recommended the following messages:

  • Electric vehicle incentives: "Get $5,000 toward a purchase of a new electric car."

  • The B.C. Scrap-It program: "Trade in your clunker for a transit pass worth $1,360."

  • Fuel-efficient driving tips: "Save fuel through properly inflating your tires."

  • "Idling your vehicle for more than 10 seconds wastes more gas than restarting your engine."

Here are some of the proposed labels:

Climate change warning labels for gas pumps in North Vancouver

Climate change warning labels for gas pumps in North Vancouver

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