Anti-Earth Hour

I missed it here on the east coast, but there is still time for some of you to participate in Earth Hour — turning off lights and so on between 8:30 and 9:30 pm. It’s a feel-good exercise that raises awareness and helps the Earth.

Or not. You could actually do the Earth a real favor and give it a miss:

Hypothetically, switching off the lights for an hour would cut CO2 emissions from power plants around the world. But, even if everyone in the entire world cut all residential lighting, and this translated entirely into CO2 reduction, it would be the equivalent of China pausing its CO2 emissions for less than four minutes. In fact, Earth Hour will cause emissions to increase.

As the United Kingdom’s National Grid operators have found, a small decline in electricity consumption does not translate into less energy being pumped into the grid, and therefore will not reduce emissions. Moreover, during Earth Hour, any significant drop in electricity demand will entail a reduction in CO2 emissions during the hour, but it will be offset by the surge from firing up coal or gas stations to restore electricity supplies afterward.

And the cozy candles that many participants will light, which seem so natural and environmentally friendly, are still fossil fuels—and almost 100 times less efficient than incandescent light bulbs. Using one candle for each switched-off bulb cancels out even the theoretical CO2 reduction; using two candles means that you emit more CO2.

You should read Lomborg’s entire piece, which makes the case that electricity is a good thing and, rather than engage in feel-good do-bad things like Earth Hour, we should be putting out effort into research and development of new technology. For example, I was just read about the wave disk engine, which could massively improve fuel efficiency.

But research is hard; turning off your lights for an hour is easy. Research takes years, maybe decades to pay off; feel-good bullshit pays off today. Research involves learnings things and knowing things and figuring out things; Earth Hour is mindless obedience.

Interestingly, the response to Lomborg’s piece has not been to dispute the facts (probably wise, since they are all on Lomborg’s side). It’s been to question his intentions. Earth Hour “raises awareness”, they say. Earth Hour lets us enjoy dark skies, they say. But I’d just as soon raise awareness with something useful. How about “research hour”?

I think P.J. O’Rourke nailed it twenty years ago: the young people comprising much of the environmental movement seem to be willing to do anything to save the Earth … except actually learn something about it.

Comments are closed.

  1. Seattle Outcast

    For at least the past couple of years I’ve been solicited to send out company-wide emails to “support Earth-hour” as I’m part of ISO14000 team (a job I fucking loath as I consider 99.995% of it to be a complete farce) – I’ve yet to even consider sending the email. Someone else will have to do it; I won’t do it without direct orders from my boss, and he pretty much considers it idiocy as well.

    Considering our company environmental officer is, pretty much in everyone’s opinion, a fucking moron, I’m fairly certain my assessment of doing anything “green” in the name of “corporate responsibility” is pretty much a waste of everyone’s time in order to make a small percentage of white rich people feel good about themselves as they lecture other people on what they should be doing. Not that they themselves have any intention of ever doing it – it’s for the commoners to actually go out and live that lifestyle, the Al Gore’s of the world are too important to be inconvenienced by actually doing as they say.

    Thumb up 10

  2. TheContrarian

    A lot of modern liberalism is about self-righteousness and feeling superior to others. Thus gestures and symbolism matter more than substance. This is merely another example of it.

    Thumb up 17

  3. TheContrarian

    I’m not a conservative and I didn’t downvote you. Dismissal of opposing views is not unique to any ideology. All ideologies have varied psychological motivations, though from observation the specific goal of moral superiority seems more common among liberals.

    Thumb up 9

  4. salinger

    though from observation the specific goal of moral superiority seems more common among liberals.

    This is subjective and I am sure felt the same by opposite concerns. One could just as easily point to the whole “we need an adult solution” talking point the right is fond of. In fact – for being able to coalesce around a talking point of moral superiority (right to life – defense of marriage – creationism – lecturing on the constitution – religion – etc.) conservatives win hands down while liberals can’t seem to organize a two person parade.

    One needn’t look further than this blog to witness the dehumanizing insults used to describe folks of differing ideals. I don’t think left-leaners hold the copy rite on condescension.

    Hot! Thumb up 6

  5. stogy

    I always look forward to Hal’s Earth Hour pieces, and thankfully, he didn’t disappoint this year.

    One thing he left out though, was the wonderful contribution to this year’s Earth Hour in Utah. Kindly sponsored by the oil and gas industries, the theme for this year was “Where Would WE Be Without Oil, Gas & Mining?”. This is obviously a completely different theme from last year, which focussed on “How Do YOU Use Oil, Gas, and Mining?”

    The goal? “To improve students’ and the public’s awareness of the important role that oil, gas, and mining play in our everyday lives.”

    I would like to extend my personal gratitude to the oil and gas industries for highlighting the importance of oil and gas to my own life. No really.

    Thumb up 3

  6. Seattle Outcast

    for being able to coalesce around a talking point of moral superiority (right to life – defense of marriage – creationism – lecturing on the constitution – religion – etc.) conservatives win hands down while liberals can’t seem to organize a two person parade.

    1) religion

    2) religion

    3) religion

    4) rights

    5) religion

    This is why “conservatives” get a bad rap – 4/5 of everything they want to talk about boils down to their own personal version of jesus. The libertarians, who most likely outnumber the “all roads lead to the bible” crowd by about 2:1 aren’t going to get on board that train because that 4/5 of the argument invariably leads to stomping all over the remaining 1/5.

    Thumb up 2

  7. ilovecress

    Although starting off a sentence with “One needn’t look further” doesn’t really help our argument about not trying to sound superior…. :-)

    Thumb up 4

  8. Section8

    This is why “conservatives” get a bad rap – 4/5 of everything they want to talk about boils down to their own personal version of jesus. The libertarians, who most likely outnumber the “all roads lead to the bible” crowd by about 2:1 aren’t going to get on board that train because that 4/5 of the argument invariably leads to stomping all over the remaining 1/5.

    Amen to that!

    Thumb up 2

  9. salinger

    Although starting off a sentence with “One needn’t look further” doesn’t really help our argument about not trying to sound superior…. :-)

    I don’t get it. What do you mean?

    Thumb up 1

  10. Seattle Outcast

    CM hasn’t yet considered the possibility that he really is a fucking retard….

    Perhaps if we repeat it often enough…

    Thumb up 2

  11. Mississippi Yankee

    Won’t somebody think of the poor retarded women and children?

    See with you it’s always ME ME ME
    [pats CM’s pointed little head]

    BTW I watched The Hobbit last night in Blu-Ray 3D. Are you the only unattractive thing in all of New Zealand?
    The scenery and Xtra features (it had it’s own blu-ray disc) left me speechless.

    Thumb up 1

  12. CM

    The whole place is in Blu-Ray 3D (but after a while it just seems like ‘real life’). I’m sure there are some retarded women and children around the place that aren’t attractive. But we just cast them as goblins etc.
    BTW the only thing we did for Earth Hour here is fail to light the beacons. We saved two thousand gallons of precious burning-oil, and only twenty-six thousand allies died because nobody went to help. So that’s a win.

    Thumb up 5

  13. CM

    MY, one of the most enjoyable drives I’ve ever has was from Memphis to New Orleans, following the river. With one of the most enjoyable meals of my life here.

    Thumb up 0

  14. Mississippi Yankee

    CM, love the pic of the exterior of the Magnolia Grille. Weather beaten, sorta like me. Next time on that side of the state I’ll check it out.

    I live, and started a business, in Port Allen LA for about a year (11-82 to 1-84) about an eighth of a mile from the Mississippi River. It was big and it was powerful but it kinda smelt bad at times too.

    Thumb up 0

  15. CM

    Definitely check out the MG if you get a chance – my wife still raves about the chowder. I can still taste the Buttermilk Coconut Pie. I love The South in general, but I have a particular soft spot for Alabama, Mississippi and Louisiana. I’ve managed two road trips through so far (with some friends the first time and I took my wife on the second one). I’m always looking forward to the next one, to catch up with friends and to experience that unique hospitality (even if it was surprisingly from a fellow Auckander who was running an old motel in Greenville, AL – she’d married a local). So many great Civil War and Civil Rights spots too. I got a little obsessed with the old Ironclads.
    Where are you these days – near the Alabama border?

    Thumb up 0

  16. Mississippi Yankee

    I live about 13 miles south of Philadelphia MS. Talk about some Civil Right stuff.

    Met more than several of the main characters in the whole real life “Mississippi Burning” story. I came here in 1994 as part of the management staff that opened the Choctaw Indian casino west of town. By that time all of the participants were out of jail healthy, wealth and wiser. I now hunt with some of their sons and assorted kinfolk.

    And NO, I’ve never been to a Klan rally.

    Thumb up 0

  17. Mississippi Yankee

    Silver Star at Pearl River I assume…

    They have since built the Golden Moon casino too. Along with huge water park and The Dancing Rabbit, a world class golfing destination with 3 or 4 eighteen hole courses.

    Thumb up 0

  18. Mississippi Yankee

    Wow, that’s some serious investment.

    Yes and with a very large portion coming out of the American taxpayers pocket. The money the tribe makes goes to helping the tribe. They aren’t required to reinvest much, if any, of their own profits.

    Has this become a less than great country or what?

    Thumb up 1

  19. CM

    So how the profits used, if it’s not for investment?

    I would need to know more, but I would say the concept of actively providing for indigenous people to make money (as part of redress for past actions) doesn’t necessarily make the US a bad country. Over the last 30 years our successive Governments have reached many settlements with Maori tribes (or ‘iwi’). Some of those tribes/iwi have set up excellent investment vehicles and will have steady income streams to pour back into their own education and health for decades+ to come. It’s not even remotely controversial.

    Thumb up 0

  20. Mississippi Yankee

    I would need to know more, but I would say the concept of actively providing for indigenous people to make money (as part of redress for past actions) doesn’t necessarily make the US a bad country.

    Way to miss the point. The profits are utilized to expand entitlements for the tribal members. They don’t pay towards building new investments. The Choctaw Nation have some of the best lobbyist in Washington. They are experts at “heart string tugging”. Much, much better than you just attempted.
    I don’t begrudge these, or any American Indians an opportunity but at some point withdrawn your hand from the ‘money bowl’.

    Some of those tribes/iwi have set up excellent investment vehicles and will have steady income streams to pour back into their own education and health for decades+ to come. It’s not even remotely controversial.

    Different country, different political atmosphere, at least for the time being.

    Thumb up 0

  21. CM

    Way to miss the point.

    Way to miss the preceding question, and subsequent qualification of what you’ve just responded to.

    The profits are utilized to expand entitlements for the tribal members. They don’t pay towards building new investments. The Choctaw Nation have some of the best lobbyist in Washington.

    I see. What sort of entitlements? I assume not health and education opportunities?

    They are experts at “heart string tugging”. Much, much better than you just attempted.

    Probably because I wasn’t even attempting to do anything of the sort. No heart-string tugging required, it’s mostly just practical and sensible.

    I don’t begrudge these, or any American Indians an opportunity but at some point withdrawn your hand from the ‘money bowl’.

    Yep. The ultimate ‘proof’ is in the ‘pudding’. I.e. how they use the opportunities provided by the money/land/what-have-you. Here it’s not controversial because most of them seem to have taken on good advisors and looked long-term.

    Thumb up 0

  22. Mississippi Yankee

    I see. What sort of entitlements? I assume not health and education opportunities?

    Health and education opportunities certainly, Pearl River didn’t even used to be a wet spot in the road. Now it’s larger than the town/city I live in with out question. In 1994 there was a clinic, a 1 to 8th grade school, a gymnasium, a Lacrosse field and a very quaint Catholic church. Now they have a hospital that rivals that of Philadelphia, same 1 to 8th school only larger. A HUGE Piggly Wiggly (which means You’ve Arrived by Southern standards),a Tax-free tobacco store, and all the things I mentioned earlier.
    Did I also mention that they don’t pay a goddamn dime to anyone in taxes?

    The entitlements I speak of has been first and foremost how large the tribe has grown. Tribal requirement is now 1/16th Native American blood. It doesn’t even have to be Choctaw. Huge voting bloc. BTW. A county built, but tribal run, state of the art fire station that would be second to none in much larger venues, but sadly is so understaffed the county must respond to all fires in the city of Pearl River even though it’s all on Choctaw Reservation land. Oh also the state and county maintains ALL roads within the “Res”.

    Don’t even get me started about what it’s like in this area when every Man, Woman and Child gets their bi-annual profits sharing checks. Suffice it to say anything you’ve ever heard about Injuns and Firewater you should X 5 it. Plus if you can manage to get near a Walmart you’ll never ever wonder what Genesis was talking about concerning the Locust Plague.

    Now if you’ll excuse me CM you are cutting into my internet Pr0n time.

    Thumb up 2