The municipality of West Vancouver, prompted by Grade 10 student Emily Kelsall, may be the first in Canada to put labels on gas nozzles warning of the dangers of climate change. The municipality is looking into whether it has the necessary power to enact such a bylaw, we think that they might.
We wrote earlier about Our Horizon‘s innovative campaign to get municipalities to use their municipal business licensing powers to require gasoline retailers to put climate change warning labels on gasoline dispensers. We concluded that the combined effect of the local impacts of climate change, and the real local pain caused by climate change as a whole, could be enough of a municipal nexus to support a labeling bylaw.
Since that blog post, Our Horizon has completed its own legal analysis of the issue in their report – Climate Change & Air Pollution: Warning Labels on Gas Pumps which provides a comprehensive analysis of the legal foundation for the bylaw. This great video from Global TV about the campaign is also a good way to learn more.
West Vancouver may be the next Hudson, Quebec should it choose to pass the proposed bylaw. Like Hudson, West Vancouver’s authority to do so will likely be challenged, but it may also establish a precedent that municipalities can and should have role to play in tackling environmental issues with both global and local effects.