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« Scottish Sceptic | Main | Commenting part 25 »

McKitrick on Earth Hour

Ross McKitrick has posted some thoughts on Earth Hour, as told to a journalist last year:

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity. People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

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Reader Comments (48)

Yup. I find the whole thing sickening. Thanks to Ross M for eloquently summarising its absurdity.

Mar 17, 2011 at 10:45 AM | Unregistered CommenterGixxerboy

I'm gonna turn on every light and appliance AND the air-con for the stupid hour. Dammit, might go down to the garage, open the doors and run the engines of both cars as well!

Mar 17, 2011 at 10:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterMark in Oz

Well said, Mr McK. I'm not even sure when it is, but since I won't be doing anything different, it doesn't really matter. I'm tempted to put the security lights on, though... (and for Zed's benefit, that's TIC)

Mar 17, 2011 at 10:57 AM | Unregistered CommenterJames P

It would be great if Earth Hour could be turned into 'Earth Day' or 'Earth Week', held more frequently, and the power could be switched off for the whole country. As sinful animals bent on destroying mother nature, we deserve no less.

What do we want?
Earth Week!
When do we want it?

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:02 AM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Well, if all the other numpties are turning off their lights for an hour we ought to be certain of reliability of supply for that hour. Yahoo! I hate that sanctimonious moral blackmail that more and more 'slebs involve themselves with. Bono is the worst. I always hated U2 anyway, but everytime he rears his cool shades into my field of vision, I head for the loo.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:04 AM | Unregistered Commenterbiddyb

Great Scott, the man can write, I can't believe that he is a college professor.

It seems to me that the radical liberals and conservatives are almost in alignment with both sides reluctant to accept new technology and wishing for simpler, older, times.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:05 AM | Unregistered CommenterRedbone

I was most impressed when the local Church of Scotland minister said he was going to turn all the church floodlights on.

I will be turning all the house lights on and opening the curtains - when I find out when the wretched Earth Hour is!

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:06 AM | Unregistered CommenterPFM


Don't worry our leaders are working on it - we only have a year or two to wait.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:15 AM | Unregistered CommenterRetired Dave

Surely Earth hour will be time zone dependent to enable a difference to be seen at a time of peak power usage for a particular country/region.

It will also be an indicator of public feeling across regions as measured against normal power usage for the period.

Of course if power usage for that period/region stays the same or increases then it will be quietly ignored by the media and green pool.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:20 AM | Unregistered CommenterLord Beaverbrook

Earth Day

File under: delusional; Green; hypocrisy; anti-humanitarian; neo-Luddite; utterly sodding pointless.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

I agree with the criticism. I am totally in favour of energy efficiency, turning off lights when not needed, etc, etc. But I detest the sort of hollow grandstanding of Earth Hour. Its a form of absolution allowing big energy users to do a token gesture for 1 hr, and then feel ok about it for the rest of the year.
Last year, I turned on all the lights in my house during Earth Hour as a defiance of this nonsense.
For the rest of the year, I try to be responsible, and am in the process of moving to energy efficient bulbs using just 10% of the power.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:25 AM | Unregistered Commenteroakwood

Go to :-

- and pass the sick bag!

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:35 AM | Unregistered CommenterPFM

It will be worth monitoring the NETA web site over earth hour to see what effect it has on demand.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterEddieO

Earth Day happens this year to coincide with Good Friday; 22nd April. Dunno whether Earth Hour occurs on the same day; it's of no interest to me whatever. However, April Fools Day is of course 1st April which occurs three weeks earlier; now that's an appropriate time for such showboating.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:50 AM | Unregistered CommenterBaxter75

I imagine that most people participating in Earth Hour will be feeling a mixture of holier-than-thou smugness along with a nagging suspicion they are being made a complete fool of. Both require mindless conformity.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterPeter S

Count me in on the Earth hour counter-demonstration.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:56 AM | Unregistered CommenterNicholas Hallam

It's as well to remember that the subtext to Earth Hour - as McKitrick rightly points out - is anti-humanitarian.

What the greens never discuss is the implications for the 1.5 billion people without access to electricity.

They - apparently - must continue to struggle on in the dark. No escape through progress for them.

Unfortunately for this 'logic', it runs headlong into the other green obsession: population.

The majority of population growth is projected to occur in the developing world. The central reason is high infant mortality. The simplest alleviation is general access to electricity. The direct relationship between falling infant mortality and falling birth rate is widely accepted and not at all controversial.

So, slowing the rate of population growth is best achieved by aiming for near-universal access to electricity.

Which puts the posturing nonsense of Earth Hour into proper perspective.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:58 AM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Well said, Professor McK!

I wonder how many green-infected wimmin would still support this nonsense if they were made to run a household, for the three winter months, with only renewables (that's wood, Louise ...) to use.

Best find a book on housekeeping, written in the 19th century. That'll also tell you about how to keep milk cool, about how to lay fires, how to keep your oven going in the kitchen, how to iron (you need two irons, and they're rather heavy!), and how to sweep the floors properly - no hoover, see ...

Lots of hard work? You bet!
No time to go to demos, no time to read a book - and enjoy getting your water from a standpipe, because there's no electricity to pump the water into your house.
And no - you can't get a servant: they also have to work their socks off to look after their families and homes.

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:03 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

Excellent article, and right on the money. Earth Hour as a concept ranks right up there with wind farms for generating electricity.
The most impoftant invention since the harnessing of electricity, in my opinion, is the fractional-horsepower electric motor; if you don't accept my notion, count the number of these in your home or your office, then think about how your home or office would function without them. I will be treating Earth Hour in the same manner as all of my neighbours in this London suburb - it will pass with no-one noticing.

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

This item is off-topic, I know, but I notice this morning that the 'green' classification for CiF articles in the Grauniad has vanished - is this a sign of the times?

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlexander K

I will be turning everything on including my gas-fired patio heater.

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered CommenterCraig B

I hate to be boring, but Earth Hour is a direct remnant of the German policies identified by Peter Staudenmaier as enacted by Darré

This was an anti-industrialisation movement that was in conflict with the then German heavy industrialisation. It aimed to bring the German people back to nature 'Blood and Soil'. In the end it lost out to the Industrialists but the meme continued.

It's no surprise that the first Green member of Parliament was an ex SS General.

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterJerry

Earth Day should be regarded as Practice Day.

Practice how you will cope with power cuts, when green energy policies mean that there is not enough power, and simply, power is cut

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

Earth Hour 2011 is March 26th, from 8:30 - 9:30 pm local time.
I plan to celebrate human achievement hour that, coincidentally, precisely overlaps earth hour.

This involves turning on all lights, televisions and radios, and running space heaters, fans and the AC at the same time with windows open.

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:27 PM | Unregistered Commenterchris y

Oh to be in charge of the National Grid. I'd drop say, 20GW of power for an Earth Week. Or "Focusing the minds of our energy ministers" week. It would need to happen soon though because not everyone remembers buying candles during the last Winter of Discontent, which helped bring down a government.

Also think Viv nails where the green jobs will come from. Mostly household jobs. Too bad modern houses aren't designed for self-sufficiency, or prolonged loss of power. What happens to condensing boilers in a power cut?

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer


Go to :-

- and pass the sick bag!

Indeed. Praise the Mother Earth, and pass the sick bag.

This is what I mean when I say the Earth Hour is much more than turning the lights off for an hour. It is about reflecting on our lives and the world we live in.

For the next two years, I was working for the Earth Hour, in a restaurant. I could not imagine not taking part to the event and I made that clear to my boss. He let me bring the Earth Hour in the restaurant. At 8.30pm (the busiest time in a restaurant), I turned off the lights, the stereo and the heating in the restaurant room. I had previously put extra candles on the tables and given customers little flyers in which I explained the purpose of the Earth Hour. Most customers loved it and thought it was a brilliant idea. I hope it had an impact on some of them.

What a wonderful marketing gimmick! What an hypocrite!

With so much food dumped into the restaurant's garbage bins, one presumes the restaurant owner would next distribute flyers showing images of malnourished children and asking the customers to join the 40-hour-famine. I'd respect them more if they were to do that.

@Retired Dave
Compulsory blackouts may well help bring back some sanity. But, who knows, if blackouts were to be introduced gradually, and with homo sapiens known to do irrational things, that option might well become normality in 20 years' time.

Also, sign me up, Scotty, to the counter-demonstration. I'd hate to be doing something as irresponsible as turning on all the lights and electricity consuming gadgets during the Earth Hour, but it seems to me it's necessary to introduce some light to the darkness the climate cultists are seeking.

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

You've caught my attention there Atomic Hairdryer, what does happen to condensing boilers in a power cut?

Mar 17, 2011 at 12:34 PM | Unregistered CommenterCumbrian Lad

I've been saying this for a couple of years. Earth Hour makes no sense whichever side of the debate you're on. It's either woefully inadequate or pointless and irrelevant, take your pick. What it is though is attractive to middle-class Prius owning Greenie wannabes who use it to as a way of having a warm fuzzy for a few days because 'they're doing their bit', and also the warble gloaming doom mongers who know well the value of a good bit of repetitive ritual in maintaining belief levels. What Dirt Hour won't do is anything at all about saving the planet, and I've long suspected it was more about saving The Sydney Morning Herald, whose owners dreamt up the whole bloody idea with the WWF.

So I'm glad to see louder voices than mine calling for Earth Month, though I'd go further still. Dirt Hour is in March, early autumn for us in the southern hemisphere and spring time in the northern hemisphere. Not anybody's coldest or warmest season in other words. So there should be two Earth Months each starting on a solstice. Let's see the Prius owners here choose between no heating in winter or an electricity free Christmas and no aircon in the summer. Let's see their northern fellow travellers choose between freezing in the dark and having to deal with the kids over the summer holidays having no computers, games consoles or TV.

No to Dirt Hour, yes to Earth Month - put up or rack off.

Mar 17, 2011 at 1:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterAngry Exile

Mr. SHX, nature is not my mother. Nature is hostile to things that live. No mother would do that. It is the hostility of nature that forces things to compete against each other. There is no garden of Eden.

I suggest Mr. SHX you plonk yourself in some part of your mother's domain like Africa and wait for her benevolence.

Mar 17, 2011 at 1:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterGeorge Steiner

My people believe that it is only blind faith and mindless ritual that separates them from the animals.

Mar 17, 2011 at 1:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterAlan Reed

George Steiner

I think you may have missed some of the nuance in sHx's early comment in this thread.

Mar 17, 2011 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

Is this what they hope to achieve?

Mar 17, 2011 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth


"Is this what they hope to achieve?"

Let me guess before I click on the link. It is North Korea.


thanks, mate.

Mar 17, 2011 at 2:04 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx


When a picture is worth a thousand words.

Mar 17, 2011 at 2:15 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

Should those promoting Earth Hour be

We Advocate North Koreas Energy Rationing System

Dunno how it might abbreviate though

Mar 17, 2011 at 2:49 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charley

I suggest the displaced people in Japan with no electricity or rolling blackouts can tell the greenies what it is like to do without electricity for more than an hour, which is a timeframe of no relevance.

Mar 17, 2011 at 2:52 PM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@ George Steiner

Your comment may have been misdirected but the point well made. The demonising of advances in civilisation and the praise of some imagined utopian condition in its stead is simply wrong-headed and no more than Sturm und Drang. Where civilisation has made advances it did so by wresting them from the grip of nature, not having them bestowed by her.

Mar 17, 2011 at 3:48 PM | Unregistered Commentersimpleseekeraftertruth

@ Phillip Bratby, Mar 17, 2011 at 2:52 PM :

You took the words right out of my mouth!

Here we have the representatives of high-tech antions like Germany fleeing from Tokyo, we have the MSM wailing about a 'radiation plume', we have people in the Western world literally shuddering with fear - all induced by the MSM, and right under yet another fear-inducing headline in the DT, we have this image (nothing to do with radiation):

How is Earth Hour going to keep this man warm?

I haven't got the words tod escribe how much I loathe these empty gestures which only alleviate the free-floating fears and feelings of guilt of those who participate.

Mar 17, 2011 at 4:47 PM | Unregistered CommenterViv Evans

Mr. Bratby said:
"I suggest the displaced people in Japan with no electricity or rolling blackouts can tell the greenies what it is like to do without electricity for more than an hour, which is a timeframe of no relevance."

Gives me an idea. Perhaps those who wish to support Earth Hour without inconveniencing themselves can buy "Earth Hour Credits" from homeless, electricity-less Japanese tsunami refugees.

Mar 17, 2011 at 6:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterDave Bob

@Dave Bob
"...electricity-less Japanese..."
They look quite powerless, too.

Mar 17, 2011 at 8:14 PM | Unregistered CommentersHx

Re Cumbrian Lad

You've caught my attention there Atomic Hairdryer, what does happen to condensing boilers in a power cut?

Lots of them don't work, and most of them the pumps don't work. Sometimes good'ol fashioned gravity fed hot water tanks might be better. If you have one, might be worth turning it's power off to see what happens, then have contingencies for when it's a long interruption.

Mar 17, 2011 at 8:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterAtomic Hairdryer

I'm all for it! I intend to have my own 'Earth Hour'. And I'm sure you'll all join with me - 1:00 am to 2:00 am, 27th March.

Mar 17, 2011 at 8:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

Wot? No comment from ZeDeBee???

Mar 17, 2011 at 9:10 PM | Unregistered CommenterJimmy Haigh

I shall be using my arc welder during Earth Hour.

Mar 17, 2011 at 10:21 PM | Unregistered Commentercosmic

Atomic Hairdryer

I know nothing of these 'condensing boilers' of which you speak ;-)

But I was under the strong impression that even old-fashioned-gas-boiler CH packs in if there's a power cut. The system is circulated by an electric pump.

It's worse than we thought.

Mar 17, 2011 at 11:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterBBD

A JOURNALIST asked! What he wanted was a one liner. What he got was a page that, I guess, he read in a hurry and did not use.

We must give them headlines!

Mar 18, 2011 at 5:16 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

Oh! And from the Earth Hour web-site, it seems Earth Hours are to be run at city level, where I doubt intervention will have much impact. However, if anybody's national government were to endorse this stunt, should not the powers that be be asked (A parliamentary question?) if the economic cost is worth the policy gain, particularly in these times of economic hardship and high unemployment.

Mar 18, 2011 at 6:37 AM | Unregistered CommenterEcclesiastical Uncle

Ah, the very thought of Earth Month.. shear bliss !!

All the climate extremists would have to turn off their computers for a whole month !! :-))

Mar 19, 2011 at 9:01 AM | Unregistered CommenterAndy G

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