Practically Speaking

Kyle and her husband moved to Brookfield in 1986. She became active in local politics and started blogging in 2004. Her focus is primarily on local issues but often includes state and national topics, too. Kyle looks at things from the taxpayers' perspective in a creative, yet down to earth way, addressing them from a practical point of view.

"Earth Hour" Saturday night? What can I turn on?

Energy, Environment, Going Green, Special events, Weather, World News

Have you heard about this idea? Earth Hour - Give our planet a break. It is Saturday, March 28th from 8:30pm - 9:30pm. Everyone on the planet is supposed to turn out their lights for one hour, to relieve our planet of the burden of Global Warming! (By the way, Planet Earth is not a living being, nor is it our "Mother.")


Never mind that last year, Earth Hour actually produced more emissions than normal. Hour of no power increases emissions- "THIS Saturday, the World Wildlife Fund wants everybody on the planet to switch off their lights for an hour in a 'global election between Earth and global warming', where switching off the lights 'is a vote for Earth'.": (My emphasis)

The efforts this Saturday certainly will be well-intentioned. Many of us worry about global warming and would like to be part of the solution. Unfortunately, this event - as with many public proposals on climate change - is an entirely symbolic gesture that creates the mistaken impression that there are easy, quick fixes to climate change. 


The campaign doesn't ask anybody to do anything difficult, such as coping without heating, airconditioning, telephones, the internet, hot food or cold drinks. Conceivably, if you or I sat in our houses watching television, with the heater and computer running, we could claim we're part of an answer to global warming, so long as the lights are switched off. The symbolism is almost perverse.


To put the energy saved by turning out the lights into world consumption terms, "Even if a billion people turn off their lights this Saturday, the entire event will be equivalent to switching off China's emissions for six short seconds." Now for the interesting part.

The Sunday Age reported last week: "An analysis of the key sponsors of Earth Hour reveals that most have reported increased emissions in their most recent figures." 

And it gets worse: the event could cause higher overall pollution than if we just left our lights on. When asked to extinguish electricity, people turn to candlelight. Candles seem natural, but are almost 100 times less efficient than incandescent light globes, and more than 300 times less efficient than fluorescent lights. If you use one candle for each extinguished globe, you're essentially not cutting CO2 at all, and with two candles you'll emit more CO2. Moreover, candles produce indoor air pollution 10 to 100 times the level of pollution caused by all cars, industry and electricity production.


Never mind that reducing CO2 has little to do with earth temperatures. There is scientific evidence that increases in CO2 levels comes AFTER rising temperatures, not the other way around. If you disagree, then answer this: How did the earth ever come out of the Ice Age (warm up) without the internal combustion engine and power plants producing CO2?


The article also raises another issue that I have wondered about for a long time but never saw addressed: In the time before trains, jets, cars, incandescent lights, and gas heat--when everyone on the planet burned oil lamps and candles for lighting and made cooking fires and burned wood, peat, dung, or coal for heat--weren't we producing a lot more CO2 than our cleaner power plants and heating systems do today?  Someday, I hope to read an explanation of that question.


I am OK with sending a message. I am also OK with symbolic gestures. But if you really want to portray what saving energy is all about, then turn off ALL of the power at your house and maybe send your utility company an extra $2 to symbolize the added Cap and Trade energy costs for that hour.


For those of you who don't agree with Earth Hour, how about "Human Achievement Hour"? 

The [Earth Hour] effort has its critics.

"We think Earth Hour, even if you are super-concerned about global warming, is a little lame, and we are making fun of it," said Eli Lehrer, a senior fellow at the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), a Washington, D.C., think tank that supports limited government and decries global warming "alarmism."

CEI has announced a "Human Achievement Hour" to counter Earth Hour. The group says millions of people will participate by turning the lights on, going to a concert or seeing a movie. "It's obviously tongue-in-cheek," Lehrer said.


Saturday night, my lights will stay on. I especially want to make sure the United States flag on my front lawn is well lit!



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Brookfield7, Fairly Conservative, BetterBrookfield, Vicki McKenna, Jay Weber, The Right View Wisconsin, Randy Melchert, Mark Levin, The Heritage Foundation, CNS News

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