Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour — More Harm Than Good

Yes, believe it or not, but sitting an hour in the darkness is not going to achieve much. If anything, it is a lot more likely to increase greenhouse gas emissions:
It will take more than the metropolitan borough of South Tyneside, population 152,000, to solve global warming. 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. In economic terms, the environmental and humanitarian benefits from the efforts of the entire developed world would add up to just $21,000.

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.
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.
So, even if the recent climatic trends were truly man-made, then those 40 watts of mine (3 compact florescent light-bulbs) wouldn't do much to "save the planet". But real climate change experts actually dispute the notion of man-made climate change, let alone - global warming. This whole hysteria then turns out to be nothing more than a mass-sacrifice to Gaia, with all its attributes - candlelight, vegetarian meals (because you wouldn't want to turn on the stove during "Earth hour",) meditation (a TV set consumes several times more energy than a light bulb) and so forth. So why would any of us want to participate in a massive neo-pagan ritual which has a lot more symbolism than practical use?

Sure, these exercises in earth-worshiping may be beneficial for all those self-righteous enviro-nuts who foretell an environmental apocalypse in 100 months, while flying around in their private jets and who call on us to "live simple" from their 35-bedroom mansions. But from the actual environmental prospective that "Earth hour" won't do anything to make the air cleaner. Not to mention that accepting this global warm-mongering as indisputable truth only harms us socially.

1 comment:

Kilgore Trout said...

What if Earth Hour, for many of those people about to take part, was an intended gesture and benchmark of what might happen if we all (heaven forfend) actually pulled in the same direction just once, to see what happens? Neo-pagan ritual? Doubtful, a small experiment in the science of human nature, probably.