North Vancouver, B.C. is believed to be the first city in the world to make climate change warning labels mandatory on gas pumps.
The city council passed the bylaw unanimously in a vote on Monday night.
Rob Shirkey, the founder of the Our Horizons not-for-profit group championing this cause, called the vote a "historic global first." He said other Canadian and American cities have come close by supporting similar initiatives, but the City of North Vancouver is the first to make it mandatory.
North Vancouver Mayor Darrell Mussatto said the city hopes to implement the stickers by early next year and will make it mandatory for pumps to have them as part of a business licence.
"The message is that burning fossil fuels causes climate change and … to add a positive spin, here are some tips when using your automobile on how to make it more fuel efficient," he said.
Mussatto said it was important for councillors not to focus on just the harm caused by fossil fuel, but also pragmatic solutions that an ordinary person could implement, such as taking transit or not idling unnecessarily,
"I couldn't live without my vehicle, but I can certainly reduce the number of trips I do use it for," he said.
But Shirkey cautioned that just like with health warnings on cigarette packaging, one can't shy away from negative messaging.
"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," he said.
The stickers will cost the city approximately $3,000 to $5,000 to produce. City staff will come back with some samples for the council to review in the coming months. In a staff report, it 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."
Our Horizons also had some suggestions.