Tomorrow night is “Earth Hour,” where at 8:30 p.m. people around the world are encouraged to turn off their lights to save the planet, of course.
Bjørn Lomborg has a good piece out on why Earth Hour is not only folly, but ignores the 1.3 billion humans who live in “energy poverty” and would like nothing better than to turn a light on:
On the evening of March 23, 1.3 billion people will go without light at 8:30—and at 9:30, and at 10:30, and for the rest of the night—just like every other night of the year. With no access to electricity, darkness after sunset is a constant reality for these people.
At the same time, another 1 billion people will participate in “Earth Hour” by turning off their lights from 8:30-9:30.
The organizers say that they are providing a way to demonstrate one’s desire to “do something” about global warming. But the reality is that Earth Hour teaches all the wrong lessens, and it actually increases CO2 emissions. Its vain symbolism reveals exactly what is wrong with today’s feel-good environmentalism.
Earth Hour teaches us that tackling global warming is easy. Yet, by switching off the lights, all we are doing is making it harder to see.
Notice that you have not been asked to switch off anything really inconvenient, like your heating or air-conditioning, television, computer, mobile phone, or any of the myriad technologies that depend on affordable, plentiful energy electricity and make modern life possible. If switching off the lights for one hour per year really were beneficial, why would we not do it for the other 8,759?
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.
And here’s good video produced by the Copenhagen Consensus Center on just how important electricity is to our everyday lives and why we should focus on those without power tomorrow, rather than the stunt that will capture the media’s attention.