Environment Forum

Planet not dim to turn off the lights?

March 31, 2008

skyline1.jpgPerhaps 50 million people took part in a global Earth Hour campaign to turn out the lights for an hour at 8 p.m. on Saturday to put attention on global warming, organisers said. Did you?

    In Australia, one survey showed that more than half the adults turned off the lights, they said. Bangkok saved 73.3 megawatts, or the equivalent of switching off 2 million fluorescent lights, and organisers said electricity use dropped 8.7 percent in Toronto, Canada.

    You don’t have to be a tree-hugging socialist to see that it makes sense to turn off unnecessary lights and electrical appliances, although it obviously only makes sense if you do so all the time and not as a gimmick one Saturday night a year.

     You can choose from many reasons - you may be worried about climate change, you may want to end a national addiction to oil with prices at $100 a barrel, or curb a dependence on foreign energy supplies.

    Still, I wonder how you estimate how much electricity was “saved” on Saturday. Electricity use typically declines as the evening goes on and people go to bed, starting with kids around 8 p.m., so it may be easy to overstate ”cuts” at 8 p.m. skyline2.jpg

    I had a look at the power consumption figures from the Nord Pool exchange for Denmark, a country heavily involved in Earth Hour to try to find out: electricity use did seem to fall faster than normal.

     The Tivoli funfair, the royal palace and the opera house all turned off the lights at 8 p.m. for an hour — there were so many lights out that you could see stars shining from the centre of Copenhagen. The Danish capital will host of a U.N. conference at the end of 2009 meant to agree a new global climate treaty to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, so many people got involved.

    The country’s electricity consumption fell 6.5 percent in the hour from 8 p.m. compared to use the previous hour, more than a decline of 4.7 percent the same hour a week earlier. And it then fell 5.5 percent in the hour from 9 p.m., faster than 5.0 percent on March 22. Less electricity was consumed from 8-9 p.m. than on any other Saturday night this month.

    OK, so there might have been other factors like the temperature steering power use over an evening but it surely indicates that every little bit does count?

  

Comments
5 comments so far | RSS Comments RSS

This is nothing more than an exersize to identify the guilible.

Posted by Eddy | Report as abusive
 

I don’t understand the post by Eddy. My interpretation is that this is an exercise in awareness. The reality is that we all need to be more conservative. I actually find it interesting that conservatives are arguing against conservatism these days. Somewhat of an oxymoron I suppose.

 

Earth Hour is and was and wll be in future years a good exercise in public awareness, a good public gesture about raising public conciousness about climate change. So it’s a good idea and a good annual event. Like Earth Day. Like Al Gore’s new advertising campaign about global warming.

But on another level, turning off the lights for an hour once a year, won’t amount to a hill of beans. It’s good PR. But we should not fool ourselves. Listen to James Lovelock on this; he also says such actions are basiscally useless, other than as a grand PR gesture.

By the way, Alister, the New York Times weighed in on the ”polar cities” PR project on Saturday; here’s the link:

http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/0 3/30/polar-cities-a-haven-in-warming-wor ld

 

I agrees with John, the whole idea is to bring awareness to people who are totally self-absorbed.

 

I’m quite happy to stay self absorbed until someone can conclusively prove to me that human activity is even a remotely significant contributor to global climate change. And anyone who says “oh but there already is evidence” then I suggest you take your hands away from the computer turn off FOX News and maybe read a book for a change.
Another quick point, just to blow this earth hour toss out of the water, I’m sure we all remember from physics class back in school how inefficient lightbulbs are and how it takes more energy to switch a lightbulb on than to keep it on for a few hours.
Can people please think before they throw their support behind some ridiculous, popularist sham

Posted by Mike Osborne | Report as abusive
 

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