Group Wants Warning Labels on Gas Nozzles

Concern over climate change leads to proposal on "negative effects of fossil fuels"

TORONTO -- An environmental group focused on the dangers of climate change is lobbying for Canadian municipalities to pass bylaws that would require warning labels on gasoline dispenser nozzles at gas station, said the Canadian Press.

Lawyer Robert Shirkey said the warning labels on the nozzles would be similar to those found on cigarette packages and would act to warn users of the negative effects of fossil fuels.

"The future of the planet is literally in the palm of your hand when you pick up the nozzle," Shirkey, founder of Our Horizon, told an audience at the Centre for Social Innovation in Toronto last week, the report said.

"A lot of people won't like seeing them but the placement is important because it speaks to diffusion of responsibility," he said. "Collectively, we're endangering the planet."

The labels state that demand for fuel products may harm wildlife, damage ecosystems, cause drought and famine, cause anxiety and depression in children and put 30% of species at risk of extinction.

Pictures of at-risk arctic caribou, starving families in Africa and a sad child looking at his own reflection accompany the warnings.

Click here to view the labels.

"Imagine if we see these labels every time, how long will it be before we demand more from government institutions," said Shirkey.

Canada led the world when it placed health warnings accompanied by images on cigarette packages, and Shirkey said that he hopes Canada can once again be a pioneer.

Our Horizon has been campaigning since January in Toronto.

Its website features a database of municipal councilors across Canada and encourages users to send a letter of concern to their local councilor.

Shirkey said he is working to expand and complete of a database of every municipal leader across the globe and is using crowdsourcing to achieve his goal.

"I'm trying to rally the troops," he said.

Cost would also not be an issue as Shirkey said the funding to put warning stickers on all the pumps of one station "could be found underneath a couch."

"In my wallet right now, I probably have enough to fund half the city," he said.

Shirkey said that the environmental effects of fossil fuels are threatening to the earth, noting that in 2011, 31.6 gigatons of carbon dioxide was emitted. "We have not had carbon dioxide levels this high in 15 million years," he said.

One audience member said he was impressed by the idea, the report said. "It's a wonderful idea," he told the news agency. "So simple, yet sophisticated. It localizes the responsibility for climate change."