Health warnings for climate-killing products
To “reduce the risk of a rapid rebound in greenhouse gas emissions as the economy expands” after the coronavirus crisis, a group of public health experts want to see health warnings on high- carbon products.
Writing in the British Medical Journal, the experts have said that high-carbon products, like petrol pumps and airline tickets, should carry graphic smoking- style warnings showing consumers the health impacts of the climate crisis.
High-carbon health labels could highlight the damage to health from air pollution caused by fossil fuels, such as the exhaust gases from diesel vehicles. They could include pictures of damaged lungs, or highlight severe weather such as flooding, or show the bodies of people who have died because of heatwaves, said Mike Gill, a former regional director of public health for south-east England.
Previous attempts to put labels on goods that showed the amount of carbon that went into their production petered out. A handful of big companies used the Carbon Trust’s carbon footprint label, including Tesco which ditched it in 2012 citing the amount of work involved and other supermarkets failing to follow its lead. The Carbon Trust lost its coalition government funding in 2012.