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Carbon labels for consumer products urged

March 29, 2011 at 6:33 PM   |   Comments

NASHVILLE, March 29 (UPI) -- U.S. scientists say a global carbon-labeling scheme for consumer products should be initiated as a sorely needed measure to mitigate climate change.

Writing this week in the journal Nature Climate Change, Michael Vandenbergh of Vanderbilt University and Thomas Dietz of Michigan State University say such a scheme could influence consumers to choose low-carbon products.

It could also improve the energy efficiency of firms, which would be concerned about brand reputation even if consumers only demonstrate limited willingness to pay for lower-carbon goods, they say.

While several carbon label efforts exist, no one scheme that accurately informs consumers and can be adopted cross-culturally and across products is in place to provide clear and effective labels.

Although labels by themselves will not solve the climate problem, the researchers say, the size of the consumer footprint suggests small changes in consumer purchasing behavior could bring significant emissions reductions.

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