Gas pump warnings won’t help

A campaign of labelling gas pumps is akin to labelling chocolate bars for health warnings.

To the Editor,

Re: Climate change labels pushed, June 28.

Not to minimize the serious implications of climate change, but a campaign of labelling gas pumps is akin to labelling chocolate bars for health warnings. It’s easy to see the ineffectiveness in the latter. But why also about the former?

The reason is that the transportation sector (cars, planes, trains, and ships) contributes less GHG emissions than the animal agriculture sector, 13 per cent versus 15-25 percent. If we are to label anything with climate change warnings, we should start with animal products for a much greater impact. Case in point, beef and dairy production accounts for 61 per cent of animal agriculture’s GHG emissions. So why aren’t we talking about labelling packages of steaks, ground beef, and cheese with climate change warnings instead?

Moreover, even within the transportation sector, air travel is by far the most egregious in terms of emissions per passenger kilometre (according to the David Suzuki Foundation).

If this is the case, does it not make more sense to place those climate change warning labels on plane tickets rather than gas pumps?

The relationship between fuel consumption and CO2 emissions is well known, but the larger GHG emissions of air travel and the impact of our food choices on climate change are not yet common knowledge, and they need to be brought to the forefront. This is where a labelling campaign would bring much-needed awareness.

Patricia TallmanLangley