Japan announced today that the country will soon be labeling goods with information about their carbon footprint, similar to the way nutrition labels are displayed. Reports the Agence France-Presse, the labeling will begin in April 2009 and is designed to raise awareness of global warming and the transport and delivery of food. A similar system exists at the British supermarket chain Tesco. From the article:
The ministry's research shows one example of carbon footprint using potato crisps.
A bag of crisps emits 75 grams (2.63 ounces) of carbon dioxide. Forty-four percent of the CO2 comes from growing potatoes and another 30 percent from production of the processed food.
Another 15 percent comes from the packaging, nine percent from delivery and two percent from disposal of the bag.
Over at the Huffington Post, Dave Burdick wonders how the labeling might change for Japanese foods that are exported, like Sapporo Beer. No word on this yet. And carbon labels aren't likely to come to most American goods for a while, though a similar bill was introduced to the California Assembly in February by Ira Ruskin.