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« Bringing politicians to Booker | Main | Climategate: the role of the social sciences »
Friday
Mar222013

The futile gesture of Earth Hour

Like the Saturnalia, Earth Hour comes round once a year, bringing with it back-to-front thinking, upside-down reasoning and many ripe opportunities for ridicule.

Bjorn Lomborg is more seriously minded of course, and his take on the annual switch-off is here. There is a related video.

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    - Bishop Hill blog - The futile gesture of Earth Hour

Reader Comments (65)

Bjorn Lomborg think he will duck out of way of the custard pie time.

Why is still pandering to those Arrogant Sanctimonious Eco Idiots .

Mar 22, 2013 at 11:14 AM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

Earth Hour - The Festival of Obscurantism.

Mar 22, 2013 at 11:36 AM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Earth Hour - time to throw more logs on the fire

Mar 22, 2013 at 11:38 AM | Unregistered CommenterPhillip Bratby

If you are determined to take part you will need some ethical candles guaranteed free from paraffin wax (a fossil fuel) and animal (or insect) products.

http://www.mnn.com/family/family-activities/stories/diy-soy-candles

Mar 22, 2013 at 11:50 AM | Registered CommenterDreadnought

Test

Mar 22, 2013 at 11:53 AM | Unregistered Commentertest

There's no point in taking part - North Korea always wins.

Mar 22, 2013 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterGrumpy Old Man

Test

Mar 22, 2013 at 11:53 AM | test


Did it work?

Mar 22, 2013 at 11:55 AM | Unregistered CommenterBuffy Minton

Yes!

Mar 22, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Registered CommenterBishop Hill

One of my Earth hour activities is to re-read Ross McKitrick's thoughts on the subject.

Mar 22, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Registered CommenterHaroldW

I really like real data: this web page gives an excellent insight into the electrical power situation in the UK. The effects of Earth Hour in the UK might be visible here. The imminent closure of some coal fired stations could also make some interesting watching.

Mar 22, 2013 at 12:12 PM | Unregistered CommenterSidF

Apparently just heard on the Radio .Last nights cold snap and snow flurry UK got down to just 10 % of its Gas Reserve .Earth Hour may be coming early

Mar 22, 2013 at 12:14 PM | Unregistered Commenterjamspid

For Earth hour I'll be making a point of switching on all the lights in my house :-)
I usually keep those not needed off- to keep my energy bills as low as possible :-(

Mar 22, 2013 at 12:22 PM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

For some reason, the link didn't appear in my post above, probably because as a new user I don't know how to embed an active link.

This is it typed in so it might not be active:

www.gridwatch.templar.co.uk/index.php

Mar 22, 2013 at 12:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterSidF

Nothing wrong in turning out the lights for an hour - it gives people time to put into practice plans for when real blackouts occur here in the UK. I'd say next winter, if it's another cold one, will see the first blackouts.

Mar 22, 2013 at 12:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterPaul

'1.3 billion people on our planet live without electricity...'
Come next winter you can add a few million in the UK to that...!

Mar 22, 2013 at 12:37 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid

I don't know how much electricity is generated by Windscale, but the Beeb are reporting that it is being shut down owing to prevailing and expected climate erm. weather conditions.

Can anyone explain why though? Are they expecting a quake and tsunami combo to hit?

Earth hour approaches!

Mar 22, 2013 at 12:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterFarleyR

SidF

The link works ok.

I usually copy and paste addresses to ensure accuracy.

Mar 22, 2013 at 12:47 PM | Unregistered Commenterpesadia

The headline on the front page of the Times today is Britain on the brink of running out of gas. The very first sentence sets the tone for the whole article. Britain has only two days's worth of gas left in reserve as the country braces itself for another spell of wintry weather that will force up energy bills.

Strangely that story does not appear on the home page of the Times' website but there is a link to another article about the potential crisis.

Pipeline failure compounds gas supply crisis
http://www.thetimes.co.uk/tto/business/industries/naturalresources/article3720521.ece

Perhaps instead of an "Earth Hour" we in Britain might soon enjoy an "Earth Day" or, heaven forbid, an "Earth Week."

Isn't it marvellous what our far sighted politicians can do for the environment? The way they lead the world makes you proud to be British!

Mar 22, 2013 at 1:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

Some folks at the ICSC are suggesting an Energy Hour to be held one hour before Earth Hour. During Energy Hour, they suggest minimising energy consuumption:

“Earth Hour should be ignored and a new Energy Hour established an hour earlier in which citizens are encouraged to use as little energy as possible for 60 minutes so that they can get a sense of what societies without adequate power are actually like. For this is exactly where the developed world is headed if governments continue to yield to climate activists and try to replace reliable, base load generation with expensive, intermittent and diffuse energy sources such as wind and solar power. And imposing scientifically-unfounded green policies on poor countries will simply ensure that their people continue to be deprived of the energy they need.”

Source: http://climatescienceinternational.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=778

Then of course you could, having displayed your concerns in this fashion, turn everything you can find on for the following hour to help mark just how wonderful it is to have ready access to so much reasonably affordable power, and mark, if you still need more display, to all present how important this has been for world development in recent centuries.

Mar 22, 2013 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterJohn Shade

In Bali they have a festival called Nyepi where no lights or fire can be used in the hours of darkness and all day you must be at home, making no noise, using no machinery. This behaviour is enforced by the village security men who patrol, rather like the wardens in WWII and tell off offenders. There are no cars or other traffic permitted on the roads, except for emergencies, and the airport is shut for 24 hours. This day is held annually is for religious reasons to prevent demons and evil spirits from harming the island.

I have considerably more respect for the Balinese tradition than I have for these Earth Day adherents to the new eco-religion.

Mar 22, 2013 at 1:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterMessenger

How do you like the earth hour Now?

Something tells me that Those poor Eastern US states hit by Sandy have experienced a true Earth day .A week long plus living in the dark,cold,no gas ,water, electricity ,transportation, no food ,a Week Plus of No Carbon (CO2) emission. Is this not what those Ecodumologists are asking from our society? ... well there you go Zero Human Carbon Emission. I bet none of them will turn one light off.

Mar 22, 2013 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered Commenterwilbert

I will celebrate Earth Hour in the Holyhead fashion. I have invited some friends and neighbours round for a barbecue. There will be tasty food and drink whatever the weather. At the appointed hour we will throw all the lights on. My friend Gwilym will be poised at an electronic keyboard running through a digital reverb unit (on the 'Cathedral' setting) and hooked up to a 100watt Marshall valve amp (set to 11).
We will then launch into a rousing rendition of 'Lower Lights'.

Thus.

Brightly beams our father's mercy
From his lighthouse evermore
But to us he gives the keeping
Of the lights along the shore

So trim your lamp my brother
Some poor sailor tempest-tossed
Trying now to make the harbour
In the darkness may be lost

Let the lower lights be burning !
Send a gleam across the wave !
Some poor fainting struggling seaman
You may rescue you may save.

Mar 22, 2013 at 2:30 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Crawford

And let's remember what Steve McIntyre wrote a few years back:

“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.”

Mar 22, 2013 at 2:32 PM | Unregistered CommenterRick Bradford

FarleyR, there's been no electricity generation at Sellafield for a decade, not since Calder Hall was switched off March 2003.

Regarding this Earth Hour thing, I think Lomborg and others are intentionally missing the point. Of course it's not actually going to make any meaning quantifiable difference to the energy system. It's a campaign to engage folks with the issue, to generate discussion etc. That is all.

Mar 22, 2013 at 2:38 PM | Unregistered CommenterChris

I have nearly asked about a test page in the past, Bish.

Mar 22, 2013 at 2:45 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

I may have posted it before, but another entertaining futile gesture from beyond the fringe of reason:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y5YW4qKOAVM

Mar 22, 2013 at 2:50 PM | Unregistered Commentermichael hart

HaroldW: Thanks for the reminder of Ross's brilliant piece in 2009. I've done a round-robin to all my email contacts entitled "I abhor Earth Hour", quoting the first paragraph and linking to the rest. Then Josh gave it a push on Facebook and Twitter. From small waves can come bigger ones - but only from the energies of the Ultimate Resource, people.

Rick Bradford: That's a quote from Ross, not Steve. Easily done :)

Mar 22, 2013 at 3:46 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

If you turn the lights out, even for one hour, you get more people.

Mar 22, 2013 at 4:31 PM | Registered CommenterMartin A

Re-reading the McKitrick essay is part of my annual Earth Hour ritual as well. It is an outstanding piece of writing - and believe me, economists who can write good prose are scarcer than examples of Michael Mann's humility.

A group of us get together every year and have a noisy and floodlit party, and people who own high-powered cars and motorbikes do a bit of celebratory revving.

We burn lots of candles as well as having all the lights on, to symbolise our support of the concept.

Mar 22, 2013 at 4:52 PM | Registered Commenterjohanna

"I have nearly asked about a test page in the past, Bish."

That's funny, His Grace nearly created one :)

Mar 22, 2013 at 4:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

"One of my Earth hour activities is to re-read Ross McKitrick's thoughts on the subject.
Mar 22, 2013 at 11:58 AM | Registered CommenterHaroldW"

In the same vein: http://cei.org/hah

I think the differences between "Human Achievement Hour" and "Earth Hour" highlight a deep ideological divide. The problem I see is that many who celebrate the latter are unaware of this and are actually closer aligned to the former.

Mar 22, 2013 at 5:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterMikeC

"If you turn the lights out, even for one hour, you get more people.

Mar 22, 2013 at 4:31 PM | Martin A"

But for 57 minutes you can consider the implications of that.

cheers David

Mar 22, 2013 at 6:35 PM | Unregistered CommenterDavid Schofield

Not often do I agree with Dr Lomborg but Earth Hour is a bit of an embarrassment.

Mar 22, 2013 at 7:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterHengist McStone

Peter Crawford at 2:30 PM:

I will celebrate Earth Hour in the Holyhead fashion. I have invited some friends and neighbours round for a barbecue. There will be tasty food and drink whatever the weather. At the appointed hour we will throw all the lights on. My friend Gwilym will be poised at an electronic keyboard running through a digital reverb unit (on the 'Cathedral' setting) and hooked up to a 100watt Marshall valve amp (set to 11).
We will then launch into a rousing rendition of 'Lower Lights'.

Oh Boy!!! Can I join you next year?? You are in danger of becoming another Glastonbury. BRING IT ON!

Mar 22, 2013 at 7:42 PM | Unregistered CommenterSnotrocket

Do you get Carbon Credits?

Mar 22, 2013 at 8:11 PM | Unregistered Commenterssat

Hengist: Much appreciated comment. We will never agree on everything but that's grand.

Mar 22, 2013 at 8:20 PM | Registered CommenterRichard Drake

When is it?

That's how much I know about it, even though my employer pays lip service to this ordure.

Mar 22, 2013 at 9:00 PM | Registered Commenterwoodentop

Why is this silly scam still going on?

Mar 23, 2013 at 3:48 AM | Unregistered CommenterNoblesse Oblige

If I dial back the clock to time before September 2010, Christchurch NZ made a big deal about Earth Hour. Apparently it was the first city in the world to "celebrate" this event.

A couple of years down the track, some fairly major earthquakes with some real power blackouts, suffering and death, this piece of gesture politics has become somewhat conspicuous by its absence.

Mar 23, 2013 at 6:50 AM | Registered CommenterAndy Scrase

The BBC is celebrating Earth Hour. There are Just So audiobooks you can download and listen to. Alternately they tell you to enjoy Attenborough's Ark Unfortunately, they don't tell you how to do either activity without power.

Mar 23, 2013 at 7:02 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

@Philip Bratby
Do you have a link? I'd like to listen to the Just So Stories whilst ignoring Earth Hour.

Thanks
Sandy

Mar 23, 2013 at 8:02 AM | Unregistered CommenterSandyS

@ Philip Bratby

Trevor Baylis won fame by inventing the wind up radio. Perhaps he could turn his mind to inventing a computer powered by a clockwork spring so that you could use that to listen to those audiobooks, provided that you downloaded them before Earth Hour began!

Mar 23, 2013 at 8:09 AM | Unregistered CommenterRoy

SandyS: You have to go to http://earthhour.wwf.org.uk/whats-happening/celebrity-support#disqus_thread.

You can then sign-up and download the WWF Ambassadors narrating the Just So stories. It's not something I shall be doing.

Mar 23, 2013 at 8:30 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

As a better alternative, I shall record Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy which is on at 5.30pm and watch it again later. There is more reality in that book/film than in "climate science" and the sheer stupidity of Earth Hour.

Mar 23, 2013 at 8:34 AM | Registered CommenterPhillip Bratby

Douglas Adams was incredibly precient. The Hitchhikers guide resembles modern hand held devices. He also forsaw that technology becoming really cheap would lead to your appliances being loaded with pointless and irritating gimicks. The hi-tec handbrakes that are now appearing on modern cars, for example.

Mar 23, 2013 at 9:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterStonyground

Latest comments from Richard Betts.
He stands by his comments made at Oxford. (http://podcasts.ox.ac.uk/people/richard-betts)

So now we know. Reasonable Richard is just another Alarmist Modeller.


Don Keiller asked

"Do you stand by your comments of 4C-15C temperature increases by 2090?"

Richard Betts replied

"Anyway - yes, I stand by my comments of 4C or more global warming being possible by the end of this century, with local warming higher in some places, up to 15C in the Arctic an extreme but plausible case."

Mar 23, 2013 at 10:21 AM | Unregistered CommenterDon Keiller

Although Lomberg points to the close inverse relationship between access to electricity and poverty, he does not follow through. There is a trade-off between the need to combat the environmental costs of "dirty" power and the harm that those policies can cause. Lomberg (in my view) vastly overstates the need for low-cost "green" power sources and engages in wishful thinking about the future possibility of such power sources. In the meantime, policies to combat climate change are both largely ineffective AND push more people towards the 1.3 billion in absolute electrical power poverty.
In economic terms (as expressed by Stern) there is a cost-cost analysis. Stern says we should accept the some low policy costs to avoid the much greater future costs of warming. Policies that prevent people from moving out of absolute electrical power poverty are an unrecognized policy cost. To support "Earth Hour" requires both a lack of recognition of all policy costs AND an overstatement of the environmental costs of electrical power generation.

Mar 23, 2013 at 12:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterManicBeancounter

See, he said 'plausible'. Now all you have to do is lie in wait and bite any journalists' head off who transcribes it as 'likely'.

Life's good when you have room to play from 1C to 10C.

Mar 23, 2013 at 1:16 PM | Registered Commentershub

Just wanted to mention that the WWF's Earth hour website has articles that are open for disqus comments if anyone fancies helping to 'raise awareness' of the case against this madness.

Mar 23, 2013 at 1:56 PM | Unregistered CommenterChilli

Re: Mar 23, 2013 at 10:21 AM | Don Keiller

"Don Keiller asked

"Do you stand by your comments of 4C-15C temperature increases by 2090?"

Richard Betts replied

"Anyway - yes, I stand by my comments of 4C or more global warming being possible by the end of this century, with local warming higher in some places, up to 15C in the Arctic an extreme but plausible case." "

Thanks for this, Don, else I might have missed it!

Interesting he's sticking to the original message despite the revision in the Met Office forecast earlier this year -


A revised Met Office 'decadal' forecast.

http://tallbloke.wordpress.com/2013/01/05/major-change-in-uk-met-office-global-warming-forecast/

Unfortunately the Met Office seemed to have omitted the final five years from its 'decadal' forecast.

http://bobtisdale.wordpress.com/2013/01/06/ukmo-lowers-5-year-global-temperature-forecast-and-omits-the-second-5-years-of-the-decadal-forecast/

And just for perspective it's interesting to compare it with the graph they produced in their booklet

"Warming, Climate Change - the Facts"

in September 2009 just before the Copenhagen Conference.

See 6th slide down or Page 04

http://people.virginia.edu/~rtg2t/future/gcc/UK.Met.quick_guide.pdf

(Odd isn't it that their 2009 graph doesn't show any of the flatlining admitted in their 2012 forecast!!!)

PS I'd recommend all who haven't already a copy of this to get one now whilst they still have the opportunity - RB was quick to sever the link when I last highlighted the one still available on the Met Office web site.

Mar 23, 2013 at 2:44 PM | Unregistered CommenterMarion

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