Calif. Weighs Letting Restaurants Charge Extra for Climate Change

‘ I don’t know if you know this or not, but it’s pretty freaking expensive here…’

California Restaurants Could Charge 1 Percent Surcharge Under New Climate Change Initiative 1

San Francisco restaurateurs Anthony Myint and Karen Leibowitz speak with Head Chef Chris Kiyuna at their environmentally friendly The Perennial. / IMAGE: Mashable Brand X via Youtube

(Kaylee McGhee, Liberty Headlines) If the state legislature passes a new climate change initiative, California restaurants could start adding a 1 percent surcharge to diners’ bills to support environmentally friendly farming practices.

The surcharge would be voluntary for both restaurants and customers.

Payments would be gathered by the California Air Resources Board and spent on carbon dioxide plans to boost healthy soil in the state’s farms.

The state plants to implement the initiative, called Restore California Renewable Restaurants, this fall.

“There’s always going to be the people who say, why is this on the bill? I don’t want to pay it. I don’t care what it’s for. I don’t want to pay it,” Christopher Barnum–Dann, owner of the Sacramento-based restaurant Localis, told CBS Channel 13.

Anthony Myint, owner of the Mission Chinese restaurant in San Francisco’s Mission district, has spearheaded the program and has been adding a 3 percent carbon dioxide-neutral surcharge to his restaurant’s bill for the past six months.

“This issue of climate change, is obviously massive, and future generations don’t have the chance to opt out,” Myint said to KTVU. “We, as chefs, want to do the right thing, and shopping organic and at farmers markets doesn’t really feel like enough.”

Myint said he would reserve judgment for skeptics, however.

“I hope customers feel free to decline the fee if they don’t believe in climate change, or they’re on a tight budget, or for any reason,” he said. “That’s why it’s optional, but I think it’s kind of powerful for all of us to work on climate change by default, a few cents at a time.”

Other California residents, however, aren’t thrilled at the idea of paying yet another tax of sorts.

“I wouldn’t be interested in doing that. Leave the climate alone,” one resident told CBS Channel 13.

Another resident, Mike Mattingly, said: “Well I live in California and I don’t know if you know this or not, but it’s pretty freaking expensive here. One percent to somebody who doesn’t make that much money ain’t a lot but it’s a lot more than they have.”