We need health warning labels on points of sale of fossil fuels – The BMJ


Schemes to ramp up climate alarm propaganda with ‘warming’ [sic] labels are already in the pipeline e.g. in Sweden. They try to claim a health risk from the warmer weather they feel sure lies ahead, while pointing the finger at humans for this supposed problem and equating it to tobacco smoking. If the pollution doesn’t get you, the climate emergency will…type of thing. Crude stuff loosely based on dodgy climate models.
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Mike Gill and colleagues explain how the implementation of of fossil fuel labelling could have a significant impact on the awareness of climate change, says The British Medical Journal blog. This article is part of The BMJ’s Health in the Anthropocene collection.

The use of fossil fuels should be rapidly reduced to keep the global mean temperature increase to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels—a core goal of the Paris Agreement on climate change.

Emphasising the risks to health of fossil fuel use, now and in the future, could motivate action.

We propose a low cost, scalable intervention to facilitate change in individuals’ and society’s views and behaviour: warning labels at points of purchase of fossil energy or services dependent on large amounts of fossil fuel, for example at petrol stations, on energy bills, and on airline tickets. They should state clearly that continuing to burn fossil fuels worsens the climate emergency, with major projected health impacts increasing over time.

Since 1969, increasing numbers of countries have required cigarette packets to carry health warnings. 118 countries now require cigarette packets to include graphic pictures alongside stark health warnings.

These warnings can change attitudes and behaviour, providing a critical contribution to effective tobacco control policy. Smoking is no longer viewed as a normal lifestyle choice, but as an addiction which harms the individual and those around them through exposure to second-hand smoke.

Fossil fuel use also harms others through ambient air pollution that accounts for about 3.5 million premature deaths per year, as well as through climate change, which increasingly threatens the health of current and future generations.

In many countries, fossil fuel use is already the subject of government intervention, through fuel and carbon taxes, vehicle emissions standards, and other legislation, but these are insufficient to prevent dangerous climate change and do not reflect the full economic costs of burning fossil fuels.

Even if the nationally determined contributions for greenhouse gas emission reductions in the Paris Agreement are implemented, the global mean temperature increase is likely to exceed 3°C by the end of the century.6 For this reason there is growing acceptance that the world faces a climate emergency demanding urgent action at scale.

Nevertheless, vested interests continue to create doubt about the robustness of climate science, a cause of the inadequate scale and perceived urgency of investments in renewables. Other barriers to shifting consumer behaviours towards zero-carbon options include low awareness, habit, perceived cost, inconvenience, and “psychological distance”—the perception that the issue affects other people, places, or times, or is uncertain.

Warning labels connect the abstract threat of the climate emergency with the use of fossil fuels in the here and now, drawing attention to the true cost of fossil fuels (the externalities), pictorially or quantitatively.

They sensitise people to the consequences of their actions, representing nudges, designed to encourage users to choose alternatives to fossil fuels, thus increasing demand for zero-carbon renewable energy.

Full article here.

via Tallbloke’s Talkshop

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April 1, 2020 at 08:21AM

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