Once again, congratulations to all of you who turned off your electric lights last night and sat around in the dark for an hour with a few candles burning. When I say ‘congratulations’ I actually mean ‘tough luck, suckers’ because you have actually increased the carbon dioxide emissions of the planet by doing so. Well done.
Bjørn Lomborg explains:
Hypothetically, switching off the lights for an hour would cut CO2 emissions from power plants across the world. But even if everyone in the 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 Britain’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 afterwards.
And the cosy 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. (source)
And in any event, ACM ensured that the efforts of New South Wales environmentalists (with the emphasis on ‘mentalists’) were negated by the annual Power Hour display at ACM Towers (photo).