A Carbon Label for California
What if consumers could reduce carbon emissions by simply choosing one product over another at their local store? With a carbon label – a sort of nutrition label for the environment – we could all be armed with enough information to make a difference, not through regulation or taxation, but through the power of consumer choice.
A carbon label communicates just how much CO2 and other greenhouse gases went into producing your bottle of water, your bag of chips, or any other consumer product and transporting it to the store. One small label can tell you things you could never guess at before like the energy used to extract the minerals or farm the land, to run the manufacturing plant, to create the packaging, or to fuel a semi-truck’s trans-continental journey. By embracing consumer carbon labels, we can influence producers in China and India, give manufacturers a new lens through which to analyze their energy use, and enable forward-looking manufacturers to get a leg up on their competition.
In California, the environmental stakes have been raised by a landmark greenhouse gas emissions reduction plan signed into law by Governor Schwarzenegger in 2006. Carbon labeling offers one important way for the state to achieve its greenhouse reduction goals.
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LEGISLATIVE UPDATE: AB 19, sponsored by Rep. Ira Ruskin, was voted out of the Full Assembly and the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. It is now pending in the Senate Appropriations Committee. Take a look at our carbon labeling legislation, AB 19.