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It’s Gettin’ Hot in Here: Putting Climate Change Warning Labels on Gas Pumps (Video)

Here’s an idea whose time has come. 

A proposal to bring climate change home through cigarette style warning labels on gas pumps. Presented by an impressive and well informed 16-year-old in West Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. 

The non-profit organization promoting the labels explains

We’re running out of time with climate change. We need something to shake us out of our sense of complacency. This is it. The labels create feedback by taking faraway consequences – like famine, the extinction of species and extreme weather – and bringing them into the here and now. Their placement on a gas nozzle reminds us that we each contribute to the problem by locating responsibility right in the palm of your hand. Finally, the idea captures the hidden costs of fossil fuel use in a qualitative way; the labels provide information to the marketplace to engage our sense of humanity in a way that a price increase of a few pennies at the pump never will.

If you think this is a good idea: reblog it and share it with your friends and family. Even better share it with them and your city or town’s elected officials too.

(Photos: Our HorizonVideo: Our Horizon via YouTube)

Tools for Change: ‘Smart Environmental Policy with Full-Cost Pricing’

From The Pacific Institute of Climate Solutions via YouTube:

Canada’s natural resources, ecosystems and wildlife are indispensable to the sustainability of our planet and economy. Despite this, both the public and private sectors do not adequately consider the environmental consequences of production and consumption when calculating their bottom line. There is a growing need for full-cost pricing, a system that adjusts market prices to reflect not only the direct costs of goods and services, but also their impact on our country’s natural capital. Presenting the findings of a March 2012 paper, Dr. Olewiler argues that the onus is on the federal government to create the conditions for full-cost pricing to succeed.

Nancy Olewiler is the Director of the School of Public Policy at Simon Fraser University. Her areas of research include natural resource and environmental economics and policy. She has published extensively, written two widely used textbooks (The Economics of Natural Resource Use and Environmental Economics), and produced numerous reports for the Canadian federal and provincial governments, including studies on energy and climate policy, natural capital, and federal business tax policy. Nancy is the Chair of the TransLink Board of Directors, and has previously served on the boards of BC Hydro and several of its subsidiaries. She is also a member of advisory committees for Statistics Canada, WWF-Canada, Sustainable Prosperity and the Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions. 

The Pacific Institute for Climate Solutions has lots of other great solutions oriented talks here


(Graphic source: TEEB4me)

There are two ways to level the energy playing field. The first is to internalize the almost unmeasurably dire cost of fossil fuels, which as a byproduct of their use are radically altering the planet’s climate in ways increasingly inimicable to life as we know it, through carbon taxes and cap-and-trade schemes and such. In Germany, doing this to a sufficient level to make coal more expensive than renewable power would’ve made the domestic coal industry furious. It would’ve been a ferocious political battle. So the Germans under the left-wing Red-Green Coalition in 2000 went another way.

The other way – which gave rise to the feed-in tariff – is to incentivize renewable energy sufficiently to offset the avoided cost of the greenhouse gas it doesn’t create. In a sense, you’re internalizing the practice that has emerged in carbon-priced markets worldwide, in which polluters buy offsets from green energy facilities. Instead of doing such elaborate market gymnastics, you simply build the desired offset into the green energy price through a pricing obligation. Grid operators in countries like Germany buy wind and solar and other renewably generated power at costs high above the cost of coal-fired power, and the added cost is passed on to consumers. In the case of the German energy market, the average household saw energy bills rise by about 40 euros per year (fifty bucks or so) in the first decade of the feed-in tariff.

Writer Chris Turner explains the “two way to level the energy playing field” in his MNN article, 'What have we learned about cheap energy?' 

(‘Renewable Electricity Generation in Germany’ graph: Volker Quaschning via Clean Technica)