Earth Hour: a dissent

I thought this essay deserved a wider audience. I have added some paragraphing to aid readability but changed not a word. Reprinted with permission.

- John A

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. - Ross McKitrick

Earth Hour: A Dissent

by Ross McKitrick

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics, Univer...

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In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour.

Here is my response.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity.

Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.

Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water.

Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases.

Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the west developed.

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.

I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply.

If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.

No thanks.

I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.

Ross McKitrick
Professor of Economics
University of Guelph

h/t to the Bishop Hill blog for bringing this essay to my attention

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210 thoughts on “Earth Hour: a dissent

  1. Excellent essay.

    Apparently the watermelons are promoting another ‘Earth Hour’ at 8:30 PM on March 26th (Saturday). Might be a good idea to move this post up to the top then. Last year I turned on every light in the house (and the outside ones, too), as did some of our neighbors.

    /Mr Lynn

  2. I am amazed by the calls to rip down nuclear power and replace them with windmills. Are people so uneducated to know they are demanding to be removed from the grid?

  3. Thank you Professor McKitrick, a very erudite treatment of the modern day luddites.
    What would our world be like if they existed back in time?

    Alarmist: Thomas what is that machine you’ve made?
    Newcomen: It’s a steam engine.
    Alarmist How can that possibly benefit anyone?
    Newcomen: We will be able to pump water out of the mines more efficiently which will allow us to dig deeper. Also to pump sewage and clean water.
    Alarmist: Anything else?
    Newcomen: Well, one day it may be adapted to transport people and goods.
    Alarmist: Whatever, any other bright ideas?
    Newcomen: The dynamo hasn’t been invented yet, but when it is we will be able to create electricity to power homes and industry.
    Alarmist: Enough. Newcomen the machine, unless you didn’t realise uses coal and you know that coal is destroying our environment. Cease now with all this poppycock and stick to what you are good at, my sister needs some iron gates, she will call in about four to discuss.

  4. 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.

    For some reason, that ain’t going to happen. Why not switch off everything for a whole day? Why not show real solidarity with the third world by sharing their energy poverty?

    Sanctimonious is right.

  5. Great essay.

    What people who adore Earth Hour are saying is that the modern way of creating energy is sustaining the world’s population at its present level…so let’s create less energy. I suppose it’s less electorally toxic than forcing people to be sterilised, coercing women into abortion and rebuilding death camps.

  6. This should be read and re-posted by everyone who hasn’t shut down their computer, and everyone who hasn’t shut their mind.

  7. “Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. “

    I love this!!

    Thank you Mr. McKitrick.

  8. Observance of Earth Hour is nothing but a religious ritual, and that is guaranteed by the right to freedom of worship. I have no more problem with those who observe the ritual than I have with those who observe any other. I do not share their faiths, but cannot prevent them from worshipping their gods.

    But, there are two undesirable consequences of the ritual:

    Those who observe it are also likely to promote lobby groups that pressure elected vote-hungry governments to cut back on power generation, especially fossil-fuel power generation, thus succeeding in reducing our supply.

    If enough of them get this madness and shut off their power all at the same time, the resulting spike could damage the grid. And when they turn it all on at once, the overload could be as damaging. At that level of participation, it looks like sabotage.

  9. We may want to organize an Energy Hour on March 26th, an hour of celebrations and thanksgiving to electrical energy and what it has done for the mankind and us.

    Everyone should try to increase the consumption of electricity during the hour at least by a factor of 5: note that it would only cost a fraction of a dollar. I wonder who would win. ;-)

  10. Every time I see misguided people like DeChristopher pulling their hypocritical stunts I feel the same way. To them I add my voice, “You go back to nature and leave the rest of us alone.” Not only do I like the way things are, but I also think we could make them a lot better by widespread deployment of nuclear power.

    (How many people have been harmed by the damaged reactors in Japan? Not so many. Allowing people to build homes and cities in a potential tsunami path is infinitely more harmful.)

  11. I think the true green believers should embrace earth hour so much that they remove their websites. After all, accessing their nonsense uses electricity in the form of servers, router time, etc..etc.. I’m all for freedom of speech, but if by your own speech you condemn your best methods of spreading your speech, well that’s nearly the definition of insanity.

  12. My Florida apartment went for two different weeks without electricity because of tropical storms hitting my city several years ago. It was torture. Soaring temperatures, 100% humidity, no air-conditioning, and no lights. Fortunately, I was able to pack up my critters both times and escape to a relative’s air-conditioned house.

    Anyone who celebrates a lack of electricity is either a fool who doesn’t have a clue, or a masochist who enjoys suffering.

    Back to Nature, huh? I can’t even stand picnics.

  13. I detest Earth Hour for the western prententiousness of it all.

    Rajenda Pachauri (IPCC) gave a presentation in India last week, at Amrita University.

    http://web.amrita.edu/news-images/2011/pdfs/pachuri-amrita.pdf

    “1.6 billion people lack access to electricity, 25% live in India.”

    According to the Indian Times he also said this at this presentation:

    “Given that human actions are increasingly interfering with the delicate balance of nature, natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes and tsunamis will occur more frequently, said Dr Rajendra K Pachauri, director general of TERI, and the chief of the inter-governmental panel on Climate Change.”

    http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2011-03-14/coimbatore/28687815_1_harmony-green-drive-renewable-energy-sources

    Tsunamis are by definition caused by events like earthquakes…

    The Amrita University, omit ‘earthquakes’ from their quote, or has the newspaper made the connection and added it?

    “Human actions are interfering with the delicate balance of nature,” he added. “Floods, heat waves, water scarcity, tsunamis will become frequent in the future.” Rajendra Pachauri, 11th March 2011

    http://web.amrita.edu/news/news-content.php?id=7&ct=10

  14. Like others on here, I celebrate Earth hour every year by turning on all of the lights, and preheating the oven to 350 F.

    Let’s all join in the fun and see if we can offset the actions of all the technophobes who still find it okay to use their iPhone (let’s hope they unplug their chargers while they aren’t charging!).
    ——

    http://earthhourblog.posterous.com/go-beyond-the-hour-this-earth-hour-with-the-6

    The 60+ iPhone app will integrate with the recently launched ‘Beyond the Hour’ platform – an online platform that captures and allows individuals, governments and organisations across the globe to share their actions, and acts as a tool to showcase and inspire environmental commitments.

    The app allows you to search for the acts of others for inspiration, add your act and share it with the world, with the following features:

    * Add your action
    * Add a picture to every action from the camera or the photo gallery
    * Embed video from YouTube
    * Find acts by searching for recent, popular, country, and quickly find your own acts
    * Use the phone’s location-based services to filter actions based on location and proximity
    * Share each action using popular social networks, and by SMS and email
    * Add an Earth Hour reminder on your phone’s calendar

  15. Since they started this nonsense, I have put it on my calendar and ensured that every light in the house and out of doors is turned on. Talk about shining a bright light on ignorance!

  16. Kudos to my fellow Canuck’s essay. Ever since Earth Hour appeared, my way of dealing with it has been to leave all the lights in the house blazing, with curtains wide open for the world to see. Many were not amused when told (indicated by a sad glance at the floor or their shoes), although a few did get the point.

    Apart from the sheer inanity of the concept, laid out nicely by Prof McKitrick, the whole exercise reminds me of the state-engineered mass behaviour shenanigans we were subjected to in commie Eastern Europe a lifetime ago. Demands for arbitrary, “symbolic,” and otherwise pointless, useless and ultimately degrading gestures such as Earth Hour are the hallmarks of tyranies, or at least wanna-be tyrannies. One way to turn otherwise intelligent humans into dull cogs is by getting them used to going along with stupidities without daring to even asking why. Today we are urged to volutarily “show solidarity” with Mummy Earth, tomorrow we’ll have earnest teens knocking on our doors to politely suggest that we should turn off those lights “like everyone else,” and the day after tomorrow, they’ll be lobbing brick bats through our windows for non-compliance.

    If knew what the diff between AC and DC is, why on earth we need a positive and a negative, or how to effectively manipulate physical objects like wires without strangling or frying myself, I’d assemble a big, 100 Watt incandescent bulb-lit sign reading “Happy Earth Hour !”

  17. Thanks a million Ross, couldnt have said it any better. Sure nice to read about someone who is highly educated and has common sense as well! I read and see way to many highly educated people talk total nonsense/stupidity about the way we live and our environment. Maybe these cool guys like Ross we dont hear much about because of our lefty braindead media. Making energy more expensive just for the sake of it is madness!!

  18. True earth-hour rebellion would be putting up christmas lights and turning them on… something like this:

  19. “Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness.”

    Bullseye. Thank you Ross. This is the 21st century version of witchcraft supersition.

  20. So, if we all turn off all our lights and electrical appliances and hide in the dark for one hour each year we will solve what exactly ?

    Watermelons who wants to do that should be forced to do that for at least a month during the winter season in the north.

    Not being allowed to use any modern technology, heating, electrical appliances or transport, they will certainly change their mind.

  21. I spend a lot of my time working in and on behalf of sub-Saharan Africa. Believe me, not having electricity is a major issue. While hotels and large institutions can afford generators, normal people can’t. Instead, when they need light they burn unhealthy smoky oils for a flickering flame.

    Nobody wants to live like that. They want the benefits of what electricity can bring them. Such as power in their health clinics that would allow them to treat patients after dark, for example!

    Generators are more expensive than grid power. Every hour they run their businesses on generators is making them less competitive in the world. Is that the aim of those who would deny them electricity?

  22. Ah-ha! Just figured out why Earth Hour will never be expanded to throw us into the Dark Ages for an entire day. All but a few fanatics would reel back in horror and demand that they burn kittens, puppies and their grandmothers on nuclear piles at their front lawns just to keep the juice flowing.

  23. “REPLY: Happy to give you one if JohnA says he read your comment. He may have simply seen it at BH independently. It happens. Thank you sincerely in either event. – Anthony”

    Thanks, Anthony. That did cross my mind, but the opportunity for a humourous remark was just too good to ignore.

    I already have two hat tips from WUWT, by the way. Still, my trophy cabinet looks bare. :)

  24. As I keep telling Aussies in support of this, the power stations are still running, generating power. You simply cannot turn off a power plant like you can turn off your lights, and visaversa. They simply don’t get it. The emissions are still, well, emitted.

  25. Luboš Motl (March 17, 2011 at 7:32 am) wrote
    “We may want to organize an Energy Hour on March 26th, an hour of celebrations and thanksgiving to electrical energy and what it has done for the mankind and us.”

    Something of the kind exists, Human Achievement Hour. Celebrate what man’s intelligence has created!

  26. Reminds me of the futile gestures here in England by those supporting the miners during the 1980s miner’s disputes, by placing a lighted candle in the window of their gas centrally heated house – I would not allow it in ours, much to the reprobation of our public sector neighbours. We were one of the few remaining houses in the street with a working coal fireplace.

    The lights were on, but no-one was in.

  27. There will be half a million people demonstrating in London’s Hyde park on the 26th of march against the right wing governments attempts to sabotage the NHS under the guise of economic necessity. If the light all go off, half a million people groping around (or maybe just bumping into each other), could be interesting. Maybe we should just do it in broad daylight.

  28. Right now there are 180 men going into the gaping maw of the Japanese Reactors
    (Bushido,truly) they need electricity, to power pumps. Earth hour is irrelevant
    and empty-I plan to turn every light on in my house run my dryer,and fire up the old F-150….

  29. Well certainly no one wants to return to earlier times when we lacked the immense benefits of electricity. But it is wise for a short time every year to remind ourselves that this incredible enterprise we have constructed, our economy, is the real “abstraction”. The benefits we enjoy are not without cost, and we need to be aware of this. Earth Day serves this purpose.

    It is also prudent that we celebrate our successes, as you say. But let us not blind ourselves to the reality that this same success will be short-lived if we over-use our dwindling resources, pollute our environment and destroy vital, life-supporting ecological processes. We are doing this now and the whole planet is affected by our actions. Earth Day is intended to remind of this fact.

  30. My brother-in-law, a Professor at Rutgers, an expert in the physics of surfaces, is now in India. Guess what? India is too vast and poor for a network of electrical power lines. So they are working like mad on another solution: solar cells for every town. THEY seem to think that bringing electricity to the masses is important. How do you make better solar cells? Pick the brains of our best and brightest, that’s how.
    I would put money down that India does not celebrate Earth Day.
    By the way: without GM crops, India would really be hurting.
    And nuclear energy will only help the urban areas of India, again because of the distance limitations.

    It is just another fraud perpetrated by the phony one-worlders, who preach but do not practice. It is okay for energy limits to be imposed on others, but they will still travel in their own jets, own several houses, and use up resources. Check how much energy Bono uses in his travels. Or how much of a carbon footprint Al Gore has in his little place. Any of them.

  31. Fantastic! I agree totally..

    I guess we all do here.. but it is commonsense.

    One small point though..

    ..there is no such thing as fossil fuels.

    And that makes Earth Day even more ridiculous.

  32. John A., thank you for sharing this. To Prof. McKitrick, I say, amen. With half the population living in cities, humans are becoming more clueless about nature and are turning their fantasy of it into a religion.

  33. I would like to applaud Mr. McKitrick for his excellent essay on the importance of cheap electricity. Cheap energy is quite possibly the single most important factor in the unleashing of mankinds potential. It is the cornerstone as he so eloquently elucidates.
    This piece should be trumpeted from the roof top of every free man’s home during the most repugnant “earth hour” along with running every single light in their household.
    P.S.- Many thank yous for all your work & efforts in the battle against the CAGW madness.

  34. Excellent!

    It seems even more profound when you think of what the people of Japan are going through. Some of those people don’t have a choice to do without electricity.

  35. Hugh Pepper says:
    March 17, 2011 at 8:12 am

    “Well certainly no one wants to return to earlier times when we lacked the immense benefits of electricity. But it is wise for a short time every year to remind ourselves that this incredible enterprise we have constructed, our economy, is the real “abstraction”. The benefits we enjoy are not without cost, and we need to be aware of this. Earth Day is intended to remind of this fact.”

    It would certainly remind me of how precarious our civilization is, of how the flick of a switch could turn us back to the dark ages. In such moments of melancholy introspection I would then insist that governments provide cheap and reliable electricity for all. Contemplating a world without electricity would make me aghast at the idea of replacing proven technology with the vagaries of wind.

    But that’s just me.

  36. Justr about says it all. Who wants to live like the North Koreans or even the poor Africans. We want cheap electricity for ALL when demanded and DDT for those areas that suffer from the diseases that were prevented before Carson’s ill researched book Silent Spring.

  37. Outstanding

    A breath of sanity – Quite raised my spirits for the day…..!!

    Well done Ross and thanks to John A for posting it here.

  38. Do you imagine if our ancestors living in caves had a earth hour where they would extinguish their fires? If they did that we would not be here to enjoy the fruits of the human intelligence and ingenuity.

  39. I’m 80% in agreement. Anyone who wants to live without electricity deserves to, and I’m four-square behind their right to do so. As long as they leave MY electricity alone. I like electric lights and refrigeration. Even the Amish have sufficient sense to use technologies they deem to be non-disruptive. (I think our greenies and techies could possibly both learn a lot from the Amish)

    That said, there appear to be just about enough recoverable hydrocarbons to support 9 billion humans through the end of this century at decent levels of energy use — 200,000 btu per day per person in temperate rural areas; 400,000 per day in industrial countries; 600,000 per day in very cold climates. And we really ought to leave a few of those resources for future centuries. They might come in handy.

    I think there is sufficient evidence already in to write off wind as more than a minor contributor to future energy mixes. Not that wind turbines shouldn’t be deployed. They’re fine up to a level that no country other than perhaps Denmark yet comes close to. But they can never really power more than a fraction of a society where every human has access to adequate housing, food, water, medicine, and some luxuries.

    So, I think we should be pouring research money into solar, nuclear, and fusion. The human race needs some mix of those technologies. It does not need deus ex machina solutions from people who have neither the skill nor desire to practice basic addition.

  40. John A says:
    March 17, 2011 at 7:25 am
    Why not switch off everything for a whole day? Why not show real solidarity with the third world by sharing their energy poverty?
    Sanctimonious is right>>>

    Because “Earth Day” isn’t about sympathy for the third world, it is about sticking a guilt trip on the first world for being the first world. I’ll no more show solidarity with the 3rd world by sharing their energy poverty than I will by sharing their dictatorships, theocracies, tribal warfare, religious warfare, ethnic cleansing, disregard for human rights, corrupt governments, corrupt police forces, corrupt armies and…gotta go to work, the list is to long to type up in one day.

  41. I have been trying for a couple of years to get the dumb-as-rocks Republican Party leadership to articulate a plan for a New Industrial Revolution and attack what amounts to Obama’s New New Deal. No vision. Play it safe. If the myopic ‘leaders’ don’t do something they and America will be left in the dustbin of history.

    My hope always comes back to the people. Something along the lines of the Tea Party might get us on track. We have to drag our leaders along and force them to do the right thing. Later on they will take credit for it.

    This essay will help give more people the tools they need to make the case for an energy rich future. I use this soundbite: Which future do you want? Little House on the Prairie, or Star Trek? In my slide presentation, I show a replica of the actual Little House. It’s a one room log house, smaller than a one-car garage. Very rustic.

    The California Energy Commission thinks energy is evil, and we should all use as little of it as possible. I have said energy is essential to support a population of almost 7 billion people. Without abundant energy, the planet will be depopulated. Perhaps starvation will be the main factor. However, if disease becomes part of that process, all bets are off. There may be little ability to stop things like plague, cholera, typhus. People may become desperate and start killing each other. In that case, we are looking at a new dark age.

    Whoever are pulling the poltical strings behind the scenes are playing a dangerous game. Do they want to recreate some sort of feudal society in which only a few are left at the top to run everything? That strategy will destroy western civilization. The comforts of life will go away. It takes a complex structure to educate a population, maintain services, and innovate. Great innovations are not planned by a centralized authority. Ideas pop up in a chaotic process. It takes a fertile society for innovation to be successful. Centralized command and control governments don’t allow innovation to occur efficiently. The control stifles the creativity. Creativity requires freedom of thought, which challenges the controlling authority.

    The socialist left-dominated world media are demonizing nuclear energy. They are spreading propaganda, serving a master that wants to scare people away from cheap abundant energy. Nuclear energy has the potential to free people for centuries. The availability of energy will give us choices we otherwise would not have. Nuclear energy can give us 100% energy independence and allow us to avoid wars over petroleum. We don’t want to be in the position of Japan during WWII with supplies cut off. Our adversaries might not be as kind to us as we were after the war to help rebuild and free the nations we defeated.

    I hope there is some debate over events in Japan and we move beyond the current wave of hysteria. Integral Fast Reactors, perhaps LFTRs, are not capable of meltdowns. They should be a total game-changer. Our efforts should go into building new natural gas generation capacity for the short term, and move toward IFRs as soon as the technology can be commercialized. We may also want to build more reactors using the Areva model until IFRs can be built.

    Compare these numbers: To replace California’s energy needs just in electricity with wind power, we would have to construct 100,000 1.5 MW wind turbines on 25,000 square miles of land (actually at sea, since there is not enough land with the required winds available). To replace CA’s electricity with nuclear power would require 24 San Onofre plants requiring an area of 3 square miles. The nuclear plants would have better than a 90% capacity factor, running 24/7/365. With wind, you take your chances getting anything, with an average capacity factor of 30-35% (being generous).
    Then we get to costs – suffice it to say we can’t afford the bill for wind power. And the high cost of green energy isn’t just money, it’s also freedom and privacy.

  42. Thank you Dr McKittrick, this essay effectively distills my opinion of the earth hour and earth day nonsense. Not enough people realize this is the best civilization to date, and the activists and opponents of development are like termites in a house, who undermine and weaken the foundation of our bountiful society, which is our access to efficient and relatively cheap energy.

    The comment above (Barry Woods) that references Pachauri indicates he is such a termite, doing his best to bring down the house of modern civilization, and also indicates his ignorance of the extent of human influence on earth’s systems, by suggesting that human actions cause tsunamis.
    Pachauri:
    “Human actions are interfering with the delicate balance of nature,” he added. “Floods, heat waves, water scarcity, tsunamis will become frequent in the future. The impact on agriculture and healthcare will be enormous. The world will be forced to take care of more and more climate refugees in the very near future.”

    http://web.amrita.edu/news/news-content.php?id=7&ct=10

    Pachauri is not a wise man, more likely a venal political hack, and his opinion on human influence on the climate is probably about the same value as his opinion on the cause of tsunamis.

  43. Professor McKittrick has nailed it.
    I existed without electricity for long periods on remote sheep stations; it was hard, dirty work without much respite. Kerosine (Parafin) Coleman patent lanterns to be filled and kept clean, feeding twelve of us from a wood-fired stove which had to be lit around 3.30 in the morning to produce an early-morning cuppa, chopping the firewood, a meat safe outside the kitchen thick with blowflies on the outside of its fine steel mesh ventilator, constantly feeding that damned stove with lengths of wood to get the three-course evening meal cooked and to ensure there was enough hot water in the over-sized hot water tank from the wet-back on the stove to wash dishes and allow everyone to shower before bed. The only positive was the entertainment which we made ourselves, mostly telling tall stories, someone always had a guitar, which helped, but no reading and no radio unless a supply of batteries had been laid in. Personal computers, cellphones, television etc were not even a dream then; in case of emergencies there was an ancient hand-cranked Ericsson telephone in the kitchen, connected to the outside world with fencing wire transmission lines strung on tall wooden poles beside the access track all the way to the gravel road past the property.
    Earth Hour is beyond stupid. It probably seems fine to the Greenies who live in cities and go camping every year to ‘get away from it all’ but take all their electro-goodies with them ‘to get back to nature’.
    Our suburban London will no doubt celebrate it as we have done in the past – by completely ignoring it.

  44. Peter Kovachev said,
    I’d assemble a big, 100 Watt incandescent bulb-lit sign reading “Happy Earth Hour !”

    LOL!!
    Makes me wonder how many millions of unlit Happy Earth Hour signs there were last year; we just couldn’t see them in the dark.

  45. I convinced a local parish priest to turn ON the lights of the church in our neighbourhood. It was a beautiful site to see all the stained glass in a backdrop of black.

    When all the greenies and green-bots went into darkness, my house was fully illuminated 127 light bulbs in all, with my F250 idling while illuminated in my driveway, AND my generator and my snow blower were both running making a huge racket.

    I kind of ruined the whole effect in my neighbourhood. The green-bot now think little of me but I am under no obligation to join their BS religion….sanctioned by our city no less.

    So I say, illuminate pockets of our neighbourhood for life and liberty, and leave the culture of death and the greenies in their primitive darkness.

    PW

  46. What a load of rubbish. Completly misses the point of Earth Hour

    It is about humanities massive wasting of energy. We only have a finite amout that we can comfortably produce at any given moment, without causing problems.

    I am a big fan of WUWT, but you really need to be more careful with the content you post here. This comes off as a rant that as I said totally misses the point of Earth Hour and under mines the credability of WUWT.

    JOJO

    REPLY: Well, you are certainly entitled to that opinion, but I stand behind and support Dr. McKitrick’s essay, Earth Hour is nothing but a pointless feel good exercise in hype, and I’ve said so before.

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/27/2010-earth-hour-in-california-just-as-ineffective-as-last-year/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/27/earth-hour-in-north-korea-a-stunning-success/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2010/03/27/tracking-earth-hour-in-the-greenest-state/

    http://wattsupwiththat.com/2009/03/29/earth-hour-in-california-success-or-bust-the-caiso-power-graph-tells-the-story/

    May I suggest that you go to your main A/C breaker box on your home/office and pull the main switch? Live without electricity for a week, like many of the world’s poor, then let us know how that works out for you. – Anthony

  47. I saw the caption of a New Yorker cartoon with two cavemen talking to each other:

    “Something’s just not right–our air is clean, our water is pure, we all get plenty of exercise, everything we eat is organic and free-range, and yet nobody lives past thirty.”

    The Earth Hour proponents seem to take the benefits of electricity for granted and then focus totally on the negatives. I agree with the good doctor, the act of cutting off some of your power use for an hour is useless and hypocritical.

  48. If they want to do ‘earth hour’ then they really need to forgo everything electricity made possible as well. So they should really should just stand outside in a tattered loin clothe.

  49. This essay by Dr McKitrick reminds me of the book “The Evolution Man, or How I Ate My Father” by author Roy Lewis (“Pourquoi j’ai mangé mon père” in French) where the Earth Hour supporters are the hypocritical ones like Uncle ‘Back to the trees!’ Vanya of this very funny and prehistoric story.

    An excellent essay, thanks.

  50. Supporting McKitrick’s article is the corresponding increased use of transport fuel.

    Tad W. Patzek shows rapid growth of fossil fuel drove the US economy during the last century.
    Fig. 7 “Exponential rate of growth of world crude oil production was 6.6% per year between 1880 and 1970.”
    Sources: lib.stat.cmu.edu/DASL/Datafiles/Oilproduction.html, US EIA.

    “Figure 11: Between 1880 and 1940, the annual production rate of oil and, initially, associated lease condensate, in the US was increasing 9% per year!”

    “Figure 12: Between 1880 and 1960, the annual production rate of natural gas in the US was increasing 7.2% per year.”
    Exponential growth, energetic Hubbert cycles, and the advancement of technology
    Archives of Mining Sciences of the Polish Academy of Sciences, May 3, 2008

    Unless we rapidly develop alternative fuels, all oil importing countries are facing a much faster geophysically forced decline in the very near future.

    See: Peak Oil Versus Peak Net Exports–Which Should We Be More Concerned About? by Jeffrey J. Brown, Samuel Foucher, PhD, Jorge Silveus

  51. I’m glad Ross has the cojones to say what needed saying in a widely read public forum. I’ve passed this along to some other sites I visit regularly that have nothing to do with climate, etc. Perhaps someone could bribe the media to invite Ross on a news show on March 26th. :)

  52. They could do something productive like planting a tree. But symbolism is all-important to the ranks of mindless eco-drones.

  53. One other thing, my father-a working cowboy,had a life not much different than his
    ancestors in Appalachia, or the great plains. No electricity,no running water, no indoor plumbing. Until the 1930’s then the REA came and they had electric power.
    The world changed. The cows were miked by machine, Granpa got rid of the Steam
    tractor.(Kept the horses, though-just in case) Though still hard, life was easier.
    Productivity increased, so did prosperity. Pop made much money selling horses to the
    US.Calvary-no kidding. That was replaced by Wheat, Milk, Beef. By the end of the
    fourth year of WW2 there was no more horse Calvary….
    Why do the greenies want poverty and want? that causes Wars.
    -Or maybe that’s the point…

  54. Peter Kovachev says: March 17, 2011 at 7:50 am

    “Demands for arbitrary, “symbolic,” and otherwise pointless, useless and ultimately degrading gestures such as Earth Hour are the hallmarks of tyranies, or at least wanna-be tyrannies. One way to turn otherwise intelligent humans into dull cogs is by getting them used to going along with stupidities without daring to even asking why. Today we are urged to volutarily “show solidarity” with Mummy Earth, tomorrow we’ll have earnest teens knocking on our doors to politely suggest that we should turn off those lights “like everyone else,” and the day after tomorrow, they’ll be lobbing brick bats through our windows for non-compliance.”

    Very well said sir! It is the mark of our soft-socialist governments that they encourage people to ‘inform’ on their neighbours. They start with the small things, like the move to get school-children to inform on people who are not ‘green’!

  55. The consequence of support.
    The darker side of Earth day is that compliance with the nonsense, if those who vilify mankind for his success have their way, will not be voluntary about anything they wish to influence.

    The consequence of the hardships they would impose will not be shared by those in power but separated from the population as happened in the old USSR where the ruling elite lived very privileged lives in grand luxury while the general population suffered from ruling elite laws and often incompetent decisions.

    The supporters, of the celebration of Earth Day, no matter what their station in life, should be exposed for what they are, enablers of would be dictators who are willing to ignore or are oblivious the consequences.

  56. “Earth Hour” is an act of contrition and “Earth Day” is penance for sins against the church of Environmentalism. If by not being a penitent consumer of cheap energy makes me a sinner, then I am surely going to hell…with pleasure. Sure am glad I don’t subscribe to their religion.

  57. “ew-3 says:
    March 17, 2011 at 8:35 am
    Excellent!
    It seems even more profound when you think of what the people of Japan are going through. Some of those people don’t have a choice to do without electricity.”

    Absolutely!
    Not only the homeless and displaced suffering privation in the quake and tsunami affected areas, but also the rest of the country which, whilst intact, must share the pain in the form of rolling brownouts as part of their nuclear power component self destructs.
    Here in the UK, the MSM to a man indulges in wild speculation about the stricken plant and, having solicited the measured and reassuring considerations of nuclear scientists, prefers to publicise ad nauseam the hysterical, hyperbolic outpourings of their so called science correspondents. It comes as no surprise that these are the same people that manifest their stupidity reporting the AGW stories.
    So far I have heard nothing about the Japanese nationwide rolling brownouts; I can only assume that the powers that be would rather we did not see the resultant inconvenience, lest we put two and two together and recall the unfortunate words of Steve Holliday, the CEO of our national grid, who thought that very eventuality would be a very smart thing to do.

  58. No jojo, it hit the nail square on the head. I am constantly dealing with the ideology of the greens that that wants us to return to a simpler time (that simply DID NOT exist). Technology is far more of an answer than a threat.

  59. Send a link for this essay to every newspaper editorial board in the world in anticipation of the March 26th Idiot Hour.

  60. This is not up to Ross McKitrick’s usual standard. I agree with him in recognising the contribution of cheap electricity to the growth and prosperity of humanity. But that is not what Earth-Hour is about. It reminds us that irrespective of out views about climate change we have a duty to be frugal in our own consumption of scarce resources – for the sake of the poor and for the sake of the planet. If Earth-Hour brings home that point then that must be a good thing.

  61. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness
    What Karl Marx excoriated as “rural idiocy”

  62. @John Johnston

    You made my point well. Exactly: if everyone turned everything off the grid would encounter huge problems. Energy would have to be dumped into heat sinks or steered to other networks, either free or even at a loss to allow the generators to continue turning in anticipation of a snap on again after only one hour.

    Ontario Hydro once had a problem in the 50’s where a sudden change in the load caused generators to start revving up and down against each other, first within one station then between stations then across the whole Ontario grid. It was uncontrollable because the bearing/braking systems were not up to scratch. My father told me they had to turn all of them off then start the stations in the order they had been built because no knew how to prevent it see-sawing again on start-up. Using telephones they coordinated the cut-in of each generator, by age, until it was humming along as usual.

    Modern controls can prevent the system taking itself down but can it withstand the deliberate yanking of a giant on-off switch twice in an hour? I guess time will tell.

  63. While I agree with his position, Ross is taking a fairly narrow viewpoint on Earth Hour; its proponents oppose much more than just cheap, widely available electricity – broadly speaking, under all the platitudes they’re pretty much opposed to the Western model of industrial development.

    Further, I’d argue that it hasn’t been just the broad availability of electricity that has advanced our quality of life to where it is now, but rather the discovery and exploitation of portable hydrocarbons for transportation fuels. From shoveling coal into locomotive and steamship boiler fireboxes to tanking up our 747s and Gulfstreams (I wish…) and Corvette ZR1s (and Jetta TDIs, if you’re of such a mind) we have come a very long way in a very short time from the days of, say, the 17th century where almost everyone lived, worked and died within a very few miles of where they were born.

  64. Ross should join one of Hydro Quebec elite banquets here to really know how to celebrate electricity. These guys really know how to do it up well. I am just waiting for Hydro Qubec to bring back their famous advertisements about living better with electricity. You just simply can’t use enough of the stuff to live better.

  65. Thanks, Snotrocket. “Snotrocked,” the visuals of this moniker are simply apalling…I love it. Fortunately, I haven’t heard of roaming packs of eco-jugend enforcing Earth Hour…yet. However, a friend had a neighbour ring his (electric) doorbell and ask him to turn off his lights, as he was the only one on their street who hadn’t.

    Here in Toronto we had a case last year in one of the schools where a kid who brought his lunch in a plastic “zip-lock” baggie (washable and reusable, btw) got singled out and penalized in some way or another. Parents are suing, and for once, I think that’s a fairly worthwhile reaction to out-of-control stupidity.

  66. Bob Ryan,

    Earth Hour uses your feel-good sentiments as camoflage for handing over our individual liberties to Big Government.

    The people behind Earth Hour care not a whit for either the poor or the planet. If we followed the lead of the wannabe statists there would be mass starvation, and the Earth Hour folks could not care less. No doubt that is what they really desire.

    Power is what they’re after. If they cared about the world’s poor they would give up their repeatedly falsified “carbon” scare and support the production of efficient energy.

    You can tell Al Gore he has “a duty to be frugal” in his consumption. But don’t tell me; I’m already frugal, and all I really hear you saying is: “Give up your freedom, and conform!” They used to call Earth Hour-type lemmings ‘useful idiots’ in the old Soviet Union. Nothing has changed.

  67. “Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the west developed.”

    So you are prepared to subsidise the peasants in their huts with no financial wealth so they can use fossil fuel whose price will rise because of the doubling in demand and the lack of future resources. According to wiki $4 to $14 /cu metre is the price of natural gas without their demands. This can only increase as supplies diminish and demand increases. I am surprised you would be willing to subsidise them as this would be a very socialist policy.

    Perhaps their meagre electric demands could be met by a windmill and solar cells better (until the fusion breakthrough)?

    I don’t think you have thought this through!

  68. Here is a suggestion…

    Let’s start our own day of celebration of Electricity & Light. In 1879, Thomas Alva Edison invented the first commercially practical incandescent electric lamp. The lamp itself was perfected on October 21st, 1879, on which day there was put into circuit the first bulb embodying the principles known as the “Edison modern incandescent lamp.” This bulb maintained its incandescence for over 40 hours. So we could use October 21st of each year to celebrate. In order not to overcharge our electrical grid, we could just shine flash lights to the sky on the 21st hour. That would certainly look cool from space. Instead of blackouts, they would see lights.

    Let them have their little hour of stupidity and ignorance and let us shine on every October 21st at 21:00h. I bet we will have much more of an impact, kids would love to shine a flashlight to the sky.

    Who’s with me?

  69. Even with price of electricity rising, we have celebrated our liberation every earth hour since its creation by turning on every light inside and outside our home.

    Kudos to Dr. McKitrick for stating the facts as they need to be stated.

    The Luddites may currently rule the roost, but they will eventually they will fall. I hope its sooner rather than later, but fall they must, as all false doctrines have before them.

  70. Jeremy: “True earth-hour rebellion would be putting up christmas lights and turning them on…”

    Just so happens we still have our christmas lights up on the house (much to my wife’s chagrin), although a much more modest display than your linked photo. I’ll have to keep them up a couple more weeks so I can turn them on during Earth Hour!

  71. Bob Ryan says:
    March 17, 2011 at 10:12 am

    This is not up to Ross McKitrick’s usual standard. I agree with him in recognising the contribution of cheap electricity to the growth and prosperity of humanity. But that is not what Earth-Hour is about. It reminds us that irrespective of out views about climate change we have a duty to be frugal in our own consumption of scarce resources – for the sake of the poor and for the sake of the planet. If Earth-Hour brings home that point then that must be a good thing.
    =================================================

    I ask you, has it brought home that point? Apparently not. But, that’s probably only because it is based on a failed premise. “we have a duty to be frugal in our own consumption of scarce resources”…….Show me what “scarce resources” we are consuming? The thought is a trap of the worst kind. Efficiency has always been the aim of technological advancements. It continues to be so. Our fuel use is directly tied to our economic advancements. As was pointed out earlier, it is poverty that kills. Mankind has been hearing the “scarce resource” thought since before Malthus. Paul Ehrlich is one that advanced the idea recently, as has many others. I consider it a most dire form of misanthrope.

    Bob, don’t fall in the trap!

  72. Here’s how we celebrated the “Hour of Power” at the Currie homeschool last year:

    http://jaycurrie.info-syn.com/eager-homeschoolers-get-ready-for-the-hour-of-power/

    Yes, those are 1000 watt photolights.

    (Now we do live in British Columbia where well over 90% of the electricity is hydro generated so we likely did not release any of that nasty plant food into the atmosphere; but we annoyed our more sanctimonious neighbours which made it all worth while.)

  73. Interesting that EarthHour is scheduled during one of the periods of time when most of the northern hemisphere can go without heat or A/C fairly safely.

    I had the “privilege” of experiencing EarthWeek in December 2007 when an ice storm took down 90% of the power lines in the town where I lived. Even in a semi-underground, well-insulated, small apartment that had been pre-heated to 75 F (just in case), it got quite chilly rather rapidly. Not having lights or hot water was also unpleasant. I gave in and relocated when it got to 38 F inside.

  74. “The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity.”

    Talking of electricity the people in the the Tsunami hit area of Sendai in Japan will be suffering from a couple more nights of sub-zero temperatures. Parts of north eastern Japan are also enduring snow. This is the real demon.

  75. Hear, hear! Lubos Motl is right. Every year, I tell friends they should flip on a bunch of switches in their houses to celebrate Earth Hour, er, Human Achievement Hour. Use your electricity and be proud of it!

  76. These fools only want to celebrate Earth Hour AFTER having achieved good standards of living over and above those people living in the developing world. I live in a developing country and I can tell everyone here that it sucks when the lights keep going out. Businesses just turn on their generators and chuck out the soot again. Candles are also lit which regularly causes house fires and the loss of hard earned belongings.

    These idiots are watermelons to the core. Utter hypocrites!

  77. I have an idea to how to celebrate electricity and vote against earth hour. How about we turn off our electric water cylinders during the afternoon, say about 8 hours before earth hour. Then we turn them on again together at the commencement of earth hour. That way we wouldn’t use more energy, we might even save some, and it wouldn’t cost a cent! And we could absolutely blow away the impact of them turning off their energy efficient lamps.

  78. thefordprefect says:

    “So you are prepared to subsidise the peasants in their huts with no financial wealth so they can use fossil fuel whose price will rise because of the doubling in demand and the lack of future resources.”

    You get today’s conflation award. Who is proposing subsidies? The West didn’t develop using subsidies; the free market provided cheap, abundant energy and enormous wealth. I feel sorry for those in the third world who live under bad governments – which is the only reason for their national poverty.

    But I feel no guilt. If their despotic governments instituted reforms including minimal government interference, free trade, property rights, low taxation, and a fair legal system, within one generation you would see a South Korea-type society emerge from the previous North Korea-type poverty.

    Bad government is the sole reason for national poverty. Japan has no natural resources, but it is one of the wealthiest countries in the world. Unfortunately, our present Administration is leading this country down the wrong path, and the result will be much higher taxes, expensive, intermittent energy supplies, and increasing poverty. And it appears to be a deliberate agenda.

  79. Thank you, Dr McKitrick. You have forcefully and coherently expressed my feelings. I will be referring others to this post.

    Have you thought of trying to get this published in the Post? It deserves wider exposure and I think they would do it.

  80. A great essay, so well put and to the point.
    I like Lubos Motl’s idea of energy hour
    I’m up for it. Lets celebrate man’s acheivements.
    Maybe even our US friends could fire up ” Old sparky” for energy hour and top some cons. Use electricty wisely

  81. @Peter Kovachev, March 17, 2011 at 10:30 am:

    Thanks, Snotrocket. “Snotrocked,” the visuals of this moniker are simply apalling…I love it.

    Just between me and you, it’s Mr Science: But, being a friendly sort of guy, I use Snotrocket – my first name. ;-)

  82. I’ve made a reservation to eat out on that night… I mean, I can’t eat at home with the lights off, right?

    This is like Meatless Mondays, which we follow with T-Bone Tuesdays, just for balance.

  83. I love electricity and all it brings to our modern way of living as much as anyone, but I also work hard for the money I earn and I don’t like throwing it away needlessly. Every penny I don’t spend giving it the power company is a penny I can spend somehwere else or save. If you enjoy your big electricity and gas bill each month, good for you, but as the cost/benefit and ROI makes sense, I’m making my home and my business as energy efficient as possible and using less grid power than ever, and within a few years, I’ll be selling my excess energy back to the grid…and to you. So turn on your christmas lights and everything else in your house and open up your wallet!

  84. Thank you, Prof. McKitrick, you speak for me, too. I love electricity, and since I learned at a rather much younger age where not to put my fingers, it and I have done a lot of good and had a lot of fun.

    Being of sound mind, I’d like it to be cheaper, actually, but in a country where all major political parties are committed to claptrap and insist on adding ever-increasing quantities to our bills to fund useless bird mincers that’s not going to happen, at least not until “after the revolution”.

  85. R Gates gives us another reason to eliminate alternative energy subsidies, and a lesson on how not to win friends and influence people.

  86. … and another thing!

    Why stop at one hour, or a day or week.
    Why not force them to ‘celebrate’ earth hour for three whole months, in winter?

    Hand the wimmin of that movement some books from the 19th century, about how to run a house: washing, drying, ironing, keeping the fires going, cleaning the lamps, cleaning the floors without a hoover, no fridge, no freezer except the one outdoors, water from a pump outside …

    At least this would mean they’d have no time nor inclination to go on any protest marches, or read any of their propaganda literature: they’d be far too exhausted …

  87. WWF and their war on population has always turned my stomache.
    In my mind, the turning out of the lights are a demonstration of WWF:s
    desire to wipe out humanity from the face of the earth, and the few
    initiated who recognize this are alughing inside when the stupid humans
    signal compliance.
    The author of “Brave new world”, Aldous Huxley, had a brother, Julian Huxley who was a very strong advocate for selective breeding and sterilization in humans. Julian was one of the founders of WWF, so was Maurice Strong.
    WWF even linked to a paper discussing ways to forcibly sterilize people, with viruses spread by mosquitos and by vaccines.
    Sounds like a James Bond Villain, and indeed, Strong and WWF/IMF was the inspiration for the eco-villain “Maurice Green” in the Bond movie “Quantum of Solace”.
    This is such a wicked evil bunch of people, that when you tell the truth about them, people think you are making it up, but it is all true.
    Oh, the author of the script for quantum of solace is canadian, so is Maurice Green, sorry, I mean Maurice Strong.

  88. Smokey says:
    March 17, 2011 at 11:39 am

    Unfortunately, our present Administration is leading this country down the wrong path, and the result will be much higher taxes, expensive, intermittent energy supplies, and increasing poverty. And it appears to be a deliberate agenda.
    ====================================================
    Indeed, from Goddard’s site,

    Obama Succeeds!

    “Somehow we have to figure out how to boost the price of gasoline to the levels in Europe”———— Secretary Of Energy Chu

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122904040307499791.html

    and, “Illinois Senator Barack Obama has slipped an amendment into the energy bill providing a $30,000 tax credit to encourage gas stations to pump “E85,” an 85% blend of ethanol and gas used by so-called flexible-fuel vehicles.”

    http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article 0,9171,1069470,00.html#ixzz1Gt2RyfVJ

    We are well on our way to being able to say, “Mission Accomplished.”

  89. My wife and I worked as humanitarian missionaries in the Dominican Republic for six years recently, only returning to the States last year. 80% of the people there either have no electric at all, or random, partial service, an hour or two a day — insufficient for refrigeration. They would desperately love to get regular dependable electricity so that they could keep food cold and safe to eat. Children die there from this lack. Children don’t study and do homework in the evenings, as there is no brightly shining light bulb.

    Our Dominican friends laugh when a ‘disasterous’ power outage is reported on the US TV news, some neighborhood without power for …well…hours!

    I’m all for cutting down on energy waste but the phrase ‘turning out the lights’ isn’t accidentally associated with death….that’s what it really means for so many people.

  90. Smokey says:
    March 17, 2011 at 12:15 pm
    R Gates gives us another reason to eliminate alternative energy subsidies, and a lesson on how not to win friends and influence people.
    ____
    Smokey,

    You apparently love giving your money to the big utility companies…and eventually to me. Keep it up…

    And right now, electricity is being brought into many 3rd world countries, village by village, and it isn’t big grid power, but small solar power systems that are truly making a difference in these people’s lives…Small (and Electric) is a beautiful thing! Here’s one company now competing in this space:

    http://www.ic-green.com/ABOUTUS/OurCompany.aspx

  91. I agree with everything Ross says.

    Seems obvious to me why it is only an earth hour. They want to get people to support their point of view in a way that is very little effort, but leave them feeling pleased with themselves.

  92. About my idea above… apparently, the invention of the incandescent light bulb was made first by Sir Joseph Wilson Swan and not Edison. So, we would need to find another date and time to light up the sky.

  93. What a wonderful article……it would be very interesting to listen to the views of Cameron, Obama, Moon and Gillard on Earth Hour and then ask them to comment on this.
    Better still get them to comment on both in front of the poor and needy in the Third World.

  94. R. Gates writes, “[a]nd right now, electricity is being brought into many 3rd world countries, village by village, and it isn’t big grid power, but small solar power systems that are truly making a difference in these people’s lives…”

    Indeed. And, after being decimated with malaria, thanks to Sanger’s “Silent Spring” and the resulting ban on DDT, the “silent genocide” of sub-Saharan Africans can merrily continue, now by teasing them into further misery with placebo power sources. All to be provided by government-cushioned “green” corporations, of course, the kind run by cutting-edge kidults with messianic complexes and an old fashioned hunger for the green stuff. Africans need to kick such goofs out and to liberally access their massive coal reserves. They need real, experienced and competent mining and utilities companies which will provide them with plentiful and affordable electricity, the only time-proven exit gate out of poverty.

  95. WOW! Earth hour is observed to raise awareness. Not to protest against electricity, or the use of it. It is to bring to the front the fact that electriciy, just like any other forms of energy is scarce and people should preserve it. Limit the usage! (Switch of that light when u r not using it)
    U really thought earth hour is to protest against the evil rulings of the ‘electricity’ dictator?

  96. Sir Charles Parsons, Englishman. Inventor of the steam turbine, if he was alive today he would probably be rotating in his grave*. Cheap and reliable electricity has given us everything we have.

    *And probably generating more power than those ludicrous windmills that now litter our landscape.

  97. Excellent – I’ll be manning the lighting desk for a revue at my local church hall for that hour and will have thousands of watts of lighting power under my command. Hope those on stage like it bright!!!

  98. hMAd says:
    March 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    WOW! Earth hour is observed to raise awareness. Not to protest against electricity, or the use of it. It is to bring to the front the fact that electriciy, just like any other forms of energy is scarce and people should preserve it. Limit the usage! (Switch of that light when u r not using it)
    ===================================================
    First, electricity isn’t scarce. It just isn’t shared well.
    Secondly, you’re celebrating by doing something we were all taught as children? Why don’t we celebrate shutting open doors or shoe tying, too?

  99. I switched on all my outside and indoor lights last time those unknown people who pay for the TV advertisements for “Earth Hour” tried their silly trick. This time I will do it again.

  100. Another thing living with inexpensive electricity seems to do is reduce the family size. Without it you need a large family (6 to 12), half of which will not live to become adults. They collect firewood, clean the pots, work the crops and if you are lucky take care of you in your old age (perhaps 30 to 50 years old). I can think of no exceptions. However, put me down as a “Waste not-Want not” person. I find no benefit in wasting energy, especially if it is just to show you can.

    Robert

  101. I would go one step further and say that energy is *everything*. It defines “modern”. Before that we had animals for power, including slaves. We would still use them if there wasn’t something cheaper and better, courtesy of other energy sources which make machines possible.

    The city dwellers may romanticize the pioneers, but remember that for the pioneers it was man *against* nature, and nature often won.

    If you want to save electricity, just do it. If you make a big deal out of it with events like these it just looks like intimidation.

  102. There was a reason pre-Christian culture holidays revolved around light and warmth. From the solstices to Easter and the harvest, humans knew that light and warmth were good and that cold and dark was bad.

    It’s too bad the Enviro[snip] aren’t as advanced in their thinking.

  103. Personna Smokey the Astroturfer says: March 17, 2011 at 11:39 am

    But I feel no guilt. If their despotic governments instituted reforms including minimal government interference, free trade, property rights, low taxation, and a fair legal system, within one generation you would see a South Korea-type society emerge from the previous North Korea-type poverty.

    Even for an invented personna you are very obnoxious.

    The west has had cheap abundant fuel to grow with. We have squandered this resource and continue to do so – just read the comments here. In the UK just using modern wall warts &lt 1 watt instead of the usuallo 3 watts would save a small power station. Now swith off all those set top boxes when not reuired and thats another power station. Now switch to efficient lighting and thats another power station.

    Drive a small efficient car, cycle to work, take only one flight holiday per year.

    Insulate your house, stop draughts, reduce the remperature during the winter and increase it in the summer by a degreeC.

    All this is feasible without loosing your freedom and without going back to the dark ages. Is this so much to ask? Wind turbines generate 20% rated power on average over the year. This means you save oil/gas for the future – is this bad?

    I thought personnas were supposed to research before posting. How can you say that ALL lack of industrialisation and wealth is caused by despotic governments – where is your proof. Perhaps you need to bring on line another of your personnas to back up your dross.

    Some aboriginal peoples prefer to be left with their lifestyle. Some may wish to progress to westenrn “civilisation” but because we have squandered to cheap fuel will not be able to reach their aspirations.

  104. Douglas DC says:
    March 17, 2011 at 8:11 am

    Paul Westhaver says:
    March 17, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Could you please explain how firing up an F150 and an F250 will consume more electricity from the grid?

  105. R. Gates,

    “And right now, electricity is being brought into many 3rd world countries, village by village, and it isn’t big grid power, but small solar power systems that are truly making a difference in these people’s lives.”

    I’m sure it does make a difference, compared to what they had before -which was nothing – and so long as it is donated by kind Western nations. What’s not to like?

    The only problem is, these solar panels will not come close to powering a modern industrial economy.

    Did I tell you about the solar panels the council put up on the roof of our leisure centre? It covers every square metre of the very expansive roof. At a rough guess, I’d say about 150 to 200 sq metres. That sort of serious solar panelling should provide some serious power, right? The authorities have kindly provided a real time display of the ‘power’ generated. I check the figure every time I go there. So far, it has varied from between 2.3 and 2.9 kw at 12 noon. About enough power to boil a kettle. Hmm. Watts up with that?

  106. It strikes me that this ‘Earth Hour’ is very similar to the self-flagellation practiced by certain religious groups. It accomplishes nothing but makes them feel holy. How can we in the UK show our (non) support????

  107. thefordprefect;
    All this is feasible without loosing your freedom and without going back to the dark ages. Is this so much to ask? Wind turbines generate 20% rated power on average over the year. This means you save oil/gas for the future – is this bad?>>>

    Yes, it is bad. The wind turbines provide power that fluctuates wildly, and provide for no storage mechanism when excess power is produced. That means that conventional power stations must take up both the fluctuations, and have reserve capacity available. Conventional power plants cannot respond efficiently to either, it takes hours to ramp up or ramp down a power plant properly, and wind gust fluctuate in seconds. The result is a drop in efficiency on the part of the conventional power stations that eliminates the value of the wind power, and reduces the lifetime of the conventional power plants substantially.

    As for your contention that all of these things you listed could be accomplished without losing our freedom, may I ask how it is that will happen? The honour system? 100% voluntary participation? 90%? 75%? What do we have now? Oh, almost 0%, and after “earth day” fades from memory (like the next day) it will rise to…let’s round off to three decimal places… 0%.

    The only way you get significant adherance to such standards is for a central authority to enforce them. The reason its not called “enfreedom” is the “force” part.

  108. I do not comment much. However, Ross McKitrick, I would like to be your neighbor. Rational thought seems in such short supply these days. Refreshing.

  109. The real “deniers” are the warmists. They want to deny plants their CO2, third-world countries the right to lift themselves out of poverty, and humans from procreating.

    Yet the warmists have no problems using their computer(s) late at night in a brightly lit office, TV’s (for their news and other entertainment), car(s) for driving to work, air transportation for their conventions, staying warm or cool using a modern heater or air-conditioner….all the while drinking their Co2 laden soda pop (or beer). All things based on foundations they abhor the most. Funny how they won’t deny themselves.

  110. My wife remarked that it is indeed all about guilt and tokenism. The people who participate in this futile gesture need to visit the east coast of Japan and see Earth month in operation.

  111. R. Gates says:

    “You apparently love giving your money to the big utility companies…and eventually to me. Keep it up…”

    I know Gates is trying to be insufferable, and succeeding. This is the same Gates who preaches, based on zero evidence, that CO2 is melting Arctic ice cap – but who will not give up his multiple cars. There’s a word for that beginning with H, and it’s not “hero.”

    Sort of like a junior Al Gore.

  112. My neighbor of 97 recently told me electricity was one of the greatest things in her life. Her family had been using a barrel in a creek for a refrigerator and with the advent of the real thing, it changed her life.

  113. Smokey says:
    March 17, 2011 at 4:47 pm
    R. Gates says:

    “You apparently love giving your money to the big utility companies…and eventually to me. Keep it up…”

    I know Gates is trying to be insufferable, and succeeding. This is the same Gates who preaches, based on zero evidence, that CO2 is melting Arctic ice cap – but who will not give up his multiple cars. There’s a word for that beginning with H, and it’s not “hero.”

    Sort of like a junior Al Gore.
    _____

    No, I just think it’s funny that people would willingly give more of their money to big power companies than they have too and would reject the notion of living smarter and keeping more of their hard earned money.

  114. I’m joining in the Bright Lights Big City movement on the 26th. Loud music too. I might even run the sprinklers as long as all the snow is gone….just for effect.

  115. R Gates, I pay for my energy and have a family of 4. I am the Dad and I regulate the thermostat as all good Dads do. I constantly turn off electrical things in my house whenever I feel they don’t need to be burning. But at times I like to celebrate and my Bright Lights Big City movement means I get to light my house up like an X-mas tree (didn’t want to offend) on the 26th. It’s worth the extra $1.00 on my bill this month. And I breathhhhhhhh co2. Mmmm mmm mmm. Love the stuff and so do my plants. And don’t get me started on beer..

  116. Hoser says:
    March 17, 2011 at 8:54 am
    I have been trying for a couple of years to get the dumb-as-rocks Republican Party leadership to articulate a plan for a New Industrial Revolution and attack what amounts to Obama’s New New Deal. No vision. Play it safe. If the myopic ‘leaders’ don’t do something they and America will be left in the dustbin of history. . .

    Let me encourage late-comers to go up and read Hoser’s entire post: excellent reasoning, and right on the money. The key to the New Industrial Revolution (besides getting government out of the way) is energy: cheap, abundant energy.

    Let the Obammunists drive up the cost of fuel, which is their stated aim. If they think last November was an aberration, just wait until gas and heating oil hit $5 or $6 a gallon. Then maybe we can elect not just “dumb-as-rocks” Republicans, but Americans willing to take the steps necessary to put this country back on the track to growth and prosperity.

    /Mr Lynn

  117. “I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. ”

    I’m looking for a word here…. is man “supernatural” “unnatural””subnatural”???

  118. NICE OP-ED, ROSS!

    One of the first things I read about AGW many years ago now was what I remember as a Preamble to something IPCC, in which it said their aim was to lower carbon emissions to zero. No, that is not a typo. I wish I could find that again. I filed it somewhere and can’t find it anymore. It may not have been IPPC, but I sure recall reacting with, “WTF? They can’t seriously have that as a goal! If they did, they’d take mankind back to 1780, with the world being an agrarian society! We can’t possibly support 6 billion people with an agrarian society! We’d have to let 3/4 of the population of the world die!”

    My second thought was that these people certainly attend The Church of Humans Are Evil And Only Animals And Plants Have the Right to Be Alive. They are the authors of the “documentary” propaganda in which they show what the world will be like 100 years after humans are all gone.

    This is nothing more than self-loathing, the idea that we are all worthless because Bambi’s mother got shot in a fictional cartoon movie. These people can’t tell the difference between reality and fantasy. Yes, that is the definition of insanity. But many people buy into it.

    They can’t remember that 40 years ago – before the U.S. passed the Clean Air And Water Act in 1970 and just after Lady Bird Johnson got us all in the U.S. to stop littering – that the air in our cities and the trash in our streets was THEN an abysmal indictment of us as caretakers of the Earth. Since then major parts of the world have done a VERY good job of reducing pollution; car emissions and coal furnaces were a major part of the earlier pollution. Many tens of thousands of scrubbers were put on what we used to call “smoke stacks,” and which now emit almost no smoke at all. If anyone wants to point at the odd stack that emits water vapor as steam and indict us, that person doesn’t know what they are talking about. And the water quality worldwide is ridiculously better than at that time. Our water treatment plants that were built due to that law have improved our lives immensely. NOW most of our cities use their riverbanks to draw tourists, not for effluent from factories. (Do we have it all figured out yet? No, but we have made great strides.)

    As to Pachendra’s comment that “…human actions are increasingly interfering with the delicate balance of nature,” he doesn’t point out that much of that effort to “interfere” is in reducing pollution. Interference goes both ways, Rajendra…

  119. Kevin G noted on
    March 17, 2011, at 7:48 am:

    The app allows you to search for the acts of others for inspiration, add your act and share it with the world….”
    ……….
    People are asking us to turn off our lights for an hour … and also are promoting to those of us using computers (which probably use electricity) … a scheme for downloading from a web server (which probably uses electricity) … an app for our iPhones (which probably use electricity) … with which we will take photos and video and upload ideas back to the server for further viewing on further computers.

    Not to save the world, but to share with it.

    These are the Igor Stravinskys of cognitive dissonance.

  120. “Thefordprefect” wrote, “Some aboriginal peoples prefer to be left with their lifestyle.” That’s like saying some homeless people prefer to be dirt-poor and to live on the streets. A few might have this “preference,” but they either suffer from mental illness or wish to avoid even worse alternatives.

    There is not a single example of an aboriginal population anywhere in the world which at any time tried to consistently avoid the material benefits of civilization. Most may prefer to be left alone, and few are interested in low-tech drudgery which always earns little, and like the rest of us, because yes, they are human like us, they want their societies and lives to be stable. Many, like the !Kung of the Kalahari avoided civilization, but their understanding of civilization was confined to unpleasant contacts with impoverished and violent herders and farm hands.

    “Thefordprefect” continues, “Some may wish to progress to westenrn ‘civilisation’ but because we have squandered [the] cheap fuel will not be able to reach their aspirations.” Goodness. First of all, why put the word “civilization” in scare quotes? A civilization is a complex, organized and socially stratified urban culture, not a state of someone’s manners or ethics. Anyway, which “cheap fuel” have we squandered”? Firewood? That is the most inefficient, low-grade and if you care about such things, high carbon fuel. Petroleum products and nuclear? Obviously you need a civilization to extract those and make them useful, and we have ways to go before running out. What holds back people from progressing technologically is the problem of not having access to better and cheaper forms of fuel. Wood is not it by far, and if anyone had to go and find wood, cut it, split it, cure it, stack, protect it from theft, and then watch it go up too quickly in smoke, they’d know what I mean. But now, in addition to bucolic fantasies about cheap and easy fuel, we have a new impediment: the “green” humanitarian, who thinks pristine peoples should be locked in “their” environment, to be given only silly trinkets like solar panels, hand-pumps, some old tools and a few bucks in micro-loans for them to make and sell cute baskets.

  121. tom s says:
    March 17, 2011 at 5:57 pm
    R Gates, I pay for my energy and have a family of 4. I am the Dad and I regulate the thermostat as all good Dads do. I constantly turn off electrical things in my house whenever I feel they don’t need to be burning. But at times I like to celebrate and my Bright Lights Big City movement means I get to light my house up like an X-mas tree (didn’t want to offend) on the 26th. It’s worth the extra $1.00 on my bill this month. And I breathhhhhhhh co2. Mmmm mmm mmm. Love the stuff and so do my plants. And don’t get me started on beer..
    ____
    Very glad for you…and the power company will gladly take that $1.00 from you (very likely several times that amount by the way), and I’ll gladly take my cut of that $1.00. Thanks for playing, come back soon…

  122. Like many folks, my IRA contains a significant fraction of utility stocks. They pay better than average dividends. I bought them much cheaper than they are today, and I don’t have to lift a finger to get the benefits. I am Mr Big Utility.☺ Which makes way more sense than depending on excessive taxpayer subsidies that scam other taxpayers.

    Maybe when solar is a mature technology I’ll consider it. But I’m skeptical of the seemingly snake-oil sales pitches I hear, for something that depends on intermittent sunshine and requires maintenance. If solar was viable it wouldn’t need subsidies. Thus, it’s a scam on the taxpaying public.

  123. thefordperferhick

    You first, get back to me in say 400 years.

    I know how my great, great, great, grandfather Mangus Colorados Apache Chief lived,
    do not care to go there, be my guest.

  124. Tom Konerman says:
    March 17, 2011 at 6:30 pm
    “I’m looking for a word here…. is man “supernatural” “unnatural””subnatural”???”

    The word that comes to my mind is rational. We are natural, of course, with the ability to reason, which is our only means of survival. From the trader on Wall Street to the bushman in the Kalahari, all humans have to think in order to live. We either choose to be rational and support our own lives, or live irrationally and let nature take its course.

  125. jojo says:
    March 17, 2011 at 9:23 am
    What a load of rubbish. Completly misses the point of Earth Hour

    It is about humanities massive wasting of energy.
    ———-
    Bob Ryan says:
    March 17, 2011 at 10:12 am
    …. I agree with him in recognising the contribution of cheap electricity to the growth and prosperity of humanity. But that is not what Earth-Hour is about. It reminds us that irrespective of out views about climate change we have a duty to be frugal in our own consumption of scarce resources….
    ———-
    hMAd says:
    March 17, 2011 at 2:00 pm
    … Earth hour is observed to raise awareness. Not to protest against electricity, or the use of it. It is to bring to the front the fact that electriciy, just like any other forms of energy is scarce and people should preserve it. Limit the usage!

    =//=//=//=

    Interesting. Apparently, not too long ago the Earth Hour website was quoted as saying:

    Earth Hour – Earth Hour Global Site
    http://www.earthhour.org
    In 2010 hundreds of millions of people turned off their lights for Earth Hour. In 2011 we will continue to be a global call to take action on climate change

    Then there’s this web page:

    In 2007, 2.2 million people and more than 2,000 businesses turned their lights off for one hour in Sydney, Australia to take a stand against climate change. In 2010 a record 128 countries and territories joined the global display of climate action.

    And these press releases:

    2011-03-17 11:51:00.002 GMT

    City leaders pioneer environmental action beyond the hour

    About Earth Hour
    Earth Hour is a global initiative in partnership with WWF. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour on Saturday March 26, 2011 at 8:30 PM to show their support for environmentally sustainable action. The event began in Sydney in 2007, when 2 million people switched off their lights. By 2010, Earth Hour had created history as the largest voluntary action ever witnessed with participation across 128 countries and territories and every continent, including the world’s most recognized man-made marvels and natural wonders in a landmark environmental action.

    2011-03-15 17:47:00.000 GMT

    STARS LINE UP FOR EARTH HOUR 2011

    About Earth Hour
    Earth Hour is a global WWF climate change initiative. Individuals, businesses, governments and communities are invited to turn out their lights for one hour on Saturday March 27, 2010 at 8:30 PM to show their support for action on climate change. The event began in Sydney in 2007, when 2 million people switched off their lights. In 2008, more than 50 million people around the globe participated. In 2009, Earth Hour reached 1 billion people in 4,088 cities and towns in 88 countries making it the largest public demonstration for action on climate change ever.

    All emphases are mine, of course.

  126. Peter Kovachev says:
    March 17, 2011 at 6:50 pm

    . . . There is not a single example of an aboriginal population anywhere in the world which at any time tried to consistently avoid the material benefits of civilization. Most may prefer to be left alone, and few are interested in low-tech drudgery which always earns little, and like the rest of us, because yes, they are human like us, they want their societies and lives to be stable. Many, like the !Kung of the Kalahari avoided civilization, but their understanding of civilization was confined to unpleasant contacts with impoverished and violent herders and farm hands. . .

    There have been many small, ‘aboriginal’ or ‘native’ societies which recoiled from acculturation, assimilation, or worse, at the hands of the expanding West. Not all of indigenous life is dreariness or drudgery, and few pre-contact cultures have survived missionaries, government agents, rapacious businessmen, and the like, without losing their own sense of cultural identity, language, customs, and social integrity.

    But we can’t preserve these societies like specimens in zoos, and once most have been exposed to the gizmos and geegaws of modern technology, they see where the future lies, and knowing what they have lost, also know what they want. The vast majority of poor peoples in the world are not intact ‘tribal’ societies at all, but peasants tied to pre-industrial bondage, by an historical succession of tyrants, some indigenous, some not—chieftains, kings, emperors, viceroys, governors, and whatnot. Their salvation lies with becoming part of the vast expansion of wealth made possible by the Western Enlightenment ethic of individualism and entrepreneurship, mediated by cheap, abundant energy.

    /Mr Lynn

  127. Ross McKitrick, I applaud you for this whole marvelous essay, but wish to add a side note to this paragraph: “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.”

    In the late ‘40s and early ‘50s we lived that way. Our farm, not very far from the capital city of Melbourne, Victoria, Australia, was in an odd pocket which was without electricity. It was a magnificent brick home surrounded by rich soil; but nary an electric wire in anything but the ’36 Dodge and the ex-army Blitz Buggy.

    Our mother cooked with wood, and we lived (and did our homework) after dark courtesy of kerosene lamps, and even though we were used to electricity in our grandparent’s home in Melbourne, and in our various schools, we never felt deprived at home, nor missed the convenience of a light switch.

    None of this alters the message of your essay; but it does add a shading.

    Fact is, I often feel a real nostalgia for those “primitive” days of my youth.

  128. Good stuff, Ross. Adam Smith, in the Wealth of Nations more or less said the same thing – in 1776.

  129. I see I’m not the only one to show token resistance. I have started leaving my mobile phone chargers plugged in… costs next to nothing. On the other hand I am now having to skimp on my heating as I can’t afford to heat my tiny flat, with electricity getting so expensive…

  130. JimF says:
    March 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm
    Good stuff, Ross. Adam Smith, in the Wealth of Nations more or less said the same thing – in 1776.

    Didn’t Adam Smith also say this in the same book?

    “To found a great empire for the sole purpose of raising up a people of customers may at first sight appear a project fit only for a nation of shopkeepers. It is, however, a project altogether unfit for a nation of shopkeepers; but extremely fit for a nation whose government is influenced by shopkeepers.”

  131. Tom Konerman;
    I’m looking for a word here…. is man “supernatural” “unnatural””subnatural”???>>>

    I remember neither the exact quote nor the author (Heinlein perhaps?) but it was along the lines of:

    When a beaver builds a dam, it is natural. When a human builds a dam, it is evil.

  132. Speaking of poverty and all that: much to the probable discomfiture of the Greens, Rome-Clubbers, and other Thanophiles, the 2005 target of halving poverty in 10 yrs was completed in half the time — by 2010. Mostly due to the increased coal-fired power generation in China and India, it seems.

    Oops!

  133. Shona: get thyself a wee fan, and set it in the corner. Point or deflect the airflow upwards (only some fans’ bearings can tolerate vertical operation, so deflection is OK). It mixes cool floor air with warm ceiling air, makes for much greater comfort, and an up to 40% reduction in heating or cooling costs! The architectural built-in version is a hollow column in the corner with openings top and bottom, and a small internal fan. Direction of flow doesn’t matter: it’s the mixing that does it.

    Works with everything from fireplaces to stoves to forced air to radiant heat sources.

    I’ve used the technique for years, works great!

  134. P.S. to above. A fan on low speed would use about 50W; that’s 20 hrs operation for 1 KW. You will save vastly more than that would cost with reduced heating demand.

  135. Super Mr. McKitrick, perfect!!

    ” everybody wants to go back to nature, but nobody by walking on his feet!!”

  136. This is a great essay; accessible but not simple, profound but not pretentious.

    In Australia the government funded ABC has been running many pro-AGW articles and practically none with counter arguments; here are a couple of egregious ones:

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/45244.html#comments

    And this effort attacks Roy Spencer:

    http://www.abc.net.au/unleashed/45086.html

    If Ross is willing I would like to submit, on his behalf, his note here to Unleashed to see if under the ABC’s nominal rules of balance it can get published.

  137. Many thanks to Ross for putting it so well.
    Actually, Earth Hour is pretty useful as it gives me an opportunity to express my contempt for this anti-science, anti-humanity nonsense. If there is another Earth Hour I’ll be putting on all my lights.

    How appropriate that this nonsense is celebrated by putting off the lights. If these idiots have their way, our lights will be going off regularly due to power cuts. The sad thing is that we have the capability to generate an abundance of energy from coal, gas and – yes – nuclear. But it’s the extreme environmentalists who have been busily shutting off these options, hence the UK government’s obsession with covering our countryside with monstrosities that don’t work most of the time.

    If they achieve their aim of around 30% wind power, we’ll be having enforced Earth Hours whenever the wind doesn’t blow, which is quite often. Except that each Earth Hour will last for many hours.
    Chris

  138. Gareth Phillips I doubt that many will turn up for a phoney protest, the NHS is dead and useless, its time is over and it needs replacing.. Earth hour is funny in Ontario, to cope with the drop in demand they turn off the hydro plants.

  139. Feet2theFire said on Earth Hour: a dissent
    They are the authors of the “documentary” propaganda in which they show what the world will be like 100 years after humans are all gone.

    The only “documentary” I’ve seen like that is “Life After People”, and it has served wonderfully to confirm my basic premise: In the end, Nature wins.

  140. thefordprefect [TFP] scolds:

    Drive a small efficient car, cycle to work, take only one flight holiday per year.

    “thefordprefect” persona is a busybody eco-lecturer. I will continue driving my CO2-belching 271 horsepower car. I will never cycle to work, unless it’s on a motorcycle, and I will take as many airline flights as I please – completely guilt free.

    TFP continues:

    Insulate your house, stop draughts, reduce the remperature during the winter and increase it in the summer by a degreeC.

    As if everyone hasn’t heard that a hundred times. I’ve insulated my house to save money and for comfort, not to please little hitler wanna-be’s, who crave a totalitarian government to micro-manage everyone’s life.

    I will keep the temperature where it’s most comfortable, in both summer and winter. I pay for it with my own earned money, and no busybody do-gooder is going to tell me how warm or cool to keep my house.

    All this is feasible without loosing [sic] your freedom and without going back to the dark ages. Is this so much to ask?

    Let me put it this way: Butt out, serf. I will live my life as a free man, paying my own way.

    How can you say that ALL lack of industrialisation and wealth is caused by despotic governments – where is your proof. Perhaps you need to bring on line another of your personnas [sic] to back up your dross.

    First, I can say that all lack of national industrialization is the result of bad government, because it is an obvious fact to the most casual observer. North and South Korea have the same people, the same geography, the same culture. One has good government that embraces the free market [or the Karl Marx term: capitalism], and the other is a Socialist/Communist totalitarian dictatorship. The problem from Albania to Zimbabwe is the same: bad government. The more Socialist/Communist a country’s government is, the worse off its citizens are.

    And second: I have only one on-line persona: Smokey. That’s all. Both you and “walt man” have accused me this past week of having multiple posting names. That is not true. And for someone who names himself after a Douglas Adams character, who are you to criticize?

    There’s a saying: A thief thinks everyone else is a thief. So the probability is high that both TFP and walt man post under various names. I do not. Just because other commentators have criticized TFP’s post as I have, he wrongly assumes that they are me. That is certainly not the case, as those other commentators know.

    Finally, TFP says:

    Some aboriginal peoples prefer to be left with their lifestyle. Some may wish to progress to westenrn “civilisation” but because we have squandered to cheap fuel will not be able to reach their aspirations.

    That is a bunch of horse manure. Every word of it. Some aborigines steer clear of technological civilizations out of fear, because technological civilizations have guns. But every civilization, from stone age to socialist, wants the goodies that come from a free market economy: modern medicine, cheap and abundant food, cheap energy, a huge selection of quality goods and services, electronic gadgets, heated homes, cell phones, you name it. And regarding “squandering” cheap fuel: it is exactly none of TFP’s business what people do with the energy they freely purchase. TFP’s argument is based entirely on his green-eyed envy of prosperous “capitalist” societies.

    TFP is consumed by greed and covetousness. If he could, he would surely confiscate and expropriate the earned wealth of the citizens of “capitalist” countries – simply steal it outright, using any convenient feel-good eco-excuse – and hand it over to the opressive governments he worships, beginning with the UN.

    The despotic leaders would, naturally, pocket TFP’s stolen loot. Their citizens wouldn’t get the benefit, any more than the citizens of Venezuela, Libya, Saudi Arabia, Iran or Zimbabwe get the benefit of the money their leaders intercept and steal.

    TFP no doubt fancies himself as some sort of Robin Hood character. That’s an easy way for a thief to justify his actions. But Robin Hood stole from the bad, and gave to the good – exactly the opposite of what modern eco-thieves intend to do.

  141. I guess the next step is celebrating Earthmas. Well, not celebrating exactly. What’s the word for wallowing in sanctimonious guilt trips again?

    My favorite response to past Earth Hours were the satellite photos of black North Korea at night where those ideal greens celebrate it every night.

    Has Maurice Strong moved there yet or is he still hiding in ‘green’ China?

  142. An excellent essay! One more item I would add to the list for “people who see virtue in doing without electricity” is water from their tap. No doubt the city water or water from their own well requires an electrically powered pump, and the filtering, disinfection and purification would not occur without electricity. If you want to do away with electricity, plan to go without safe drinking water.

  143. Smokey the Astroturfer says: March 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm
    “I will continue driving my CO2-belching 271 horsepower car. I will never cycle to work, unless it’s on a motorcycle, and I will take as many airline flights as I please – completely guilt free”.

    Thank you for this insight into your very selfish mind.
    You seem very sure that squandering very useful portable source of power is fine -because you can aford to.

    Do you not think of future generations?

  144. thefordprefect says:

    “Smokey the Astroturfer.” What’s an astroturfer?

    OK then, on to the easy deconstruction:

    TFP is in favor of a totalitarian society… and he calls me “selfish”?? I always think of future generations, and I certainly don’t want them under the hobnailed boot of a green watermelon dictatorship like TFP does. Individual liberty and the free market are infinitely preferable to an intolerant greenshirted gang intent upon sending scientific skeptics and energy users to the gulag.

    And using an emotion-laden term like “squandering” energy is a failed tactic. Energy use is getting more efficient all the time. I have a 1993 car with a V-6. It puts out 164 rated horsepower, and gets exactly 20 miles per gallon city/highway. My 2010 car [yes, I have 2 cars, neener] is also a V-6, puts out 271 HP, and gets 23 combined miles per gallon. Increased efficiency, see?

    TFP, I suggest you completely stop using any petrol products at all, in order to avoid being called a hypocrite. Peddle your bicycle around town, I enjoy the mental image of that immensely. And I also suggest you keep a copy of Henry Hazlitt’s Economics In One Lesson with you, because you haven’t a clue about economics.

    Really, you seriously need to get your head out of the socialist clouds. The world doesn”t work the way you wish it would, not by a long shot. The free market, if left alone, will provide ample energy and prosperity for all. It always has, for the same reason that Malthus and the Luddites were wrong. The new Green Malthusian Luddites are just as misguided.

    So, what’s an astroturfer? And I’m still waiting for either the other screen names that you believe I’m posting under, or an apology for deliberately casting baseless aspersions. You know how sensitive the UK is to libel, I’ve seen you post about it on Bishop Hill.☺

  145. I hereby announce the month of April as being EARTH MONTH..

    All those who TRULY BELIEVE that CO2 is an evil gas, MUST turn off all electrical appliances, not use their cars, etc etc for the WHOLE MONTH.

  146. Another big plus:

    without electricity, the “warmists” couldn’t post their junk-science on blogs !

    or at least, only when the wind is blowing.

  147. “I refuse to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs benefits is something to be ashamed of.”

    Agreed.

    Apparently the watermelons are promoting another ‘Earth Hour’ at 8:30 PM on March 26th (Saturday). Might be a good idea to move this post up to the top then. Last year I turned on every light in the house (and the outside ones, too), as did some of our neighbors.

    /Mr Lynn

    I will be burning avgas at 36000 feet at that time (8:30 PM 26th March) and most likely enjoying a nicely chilled champagne. I will give earth Hour no more thought than to shake my head at the folly of the human hating greens.

  148. Ed says:
    March 17, 2011 at 7:28 am
    … than forcing people to be sterilised, coercing women into abortion and rebuilding death camps.

    Ahhh… green jobs for all.

  149. Anton says:
    March 17, 2011 at 7:45 am
    My Florida apartment went for two different weeks without electricity because of tropical storms hitting my city several years ago. It was torture. Soaring temperatures, 100% humidity, no air-conditioning, and no lights. Fortunately, I was able to pack up my critters both times and escape to a relative’s air-conditioned house.

    Anyone who celebrates a lack of electricity is either a fool who doesn’t have a clue, or a masochist who enjoys suffering.

    Sorry Anton – I must disagree, it is entirely possible for a committed green to be both a fool and a masochist.

  150. Peter Kovachev says:
    March 17, 2011 at 7:50 am
    Kudos to my fellow Canuck’s essay. Ever since Earth Hour appeared, my way of dealing with it has been to leave all the lights in the house blazing, with curtains wide open for the world to see. Many were not amused when told (indicated by a sad glance at the floor or their shoes), although a few did get the point.

    Apart from the sheer inanity of the concept, laid out nicely by Prof McKitrick, the whole exercise reminds me of the state-engineered mass behaviour shenanigans we were subjected to in commie Eastern Europe a lifetime ago. Demands for arbitrary, “symbolic,” and otherwise pointless, useless and ultimately degrading gestures such as Earth Hour are the hallmarks of tyranies, or at least wanna-be tyrannies. One way to turn otherwise intelligent humans into dull cogs is by getting them used to going along with stupidities without daring to even asking why. Today we are urged to volutarily “show solidarity” with Mummy Earth, tomorrow we’ll have earnest teens knocking on our doors to politely suggest that we should turn off those lights “like everyone else,” and the day after tomorrow, they’ll be lobbing brick bats through our windows for non-compliance.

    If knew what the diff between AC and DC is, why on earth we need a positive and a negative, or how to effectively manipulate physical objects like wires without strangling or frying myself, I’d assemble a big, 100 Watt incandescent bulb-lit sign reading “Happy Earth Hour !”

    This is very insightful – sounds like actual experience. Every “mass action” like Earth Hour is a tool to breed a habit of unquestioning conformity. – To question and to dissent are the correct counteractions.

  151. thefordprefect says:
    March 18, 2011 at 5:18 pm
    Smokey the Astroturfer says: March 18, 2011 at 2:12 pm
    “I will continue driving my CO2-belching 271 horsepower car. I will never cycle to work, unless it’s on a motorcycle, and I will take as many airline flights as I please – completely guilt free”.

    Thank you for this insight into your very selfish mind.
    You seem very sure that squandering very useful portable source of power is fine -because you can aford to.

    Do you not think of future generations?

    thefordprefect – you appear to have bought into the dogma of serious and immediate resource limitation.

    This is one of the follies that underly the current war against the worlds poor being propagated by first world urban elites. You appear to believe in Malthusian nightmares and limits to growth – not realising that capable men can innovate their way to new solutions – as has been done in the past.

    Some links to assist with your thinking.

    http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/5.02/ffsimon_pr.html

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/03/20/there-is-no-energy-shortage/

    http://chiefio.wordpress.com/2009/05/08/there-is-no-shortage-of-stuff/

    Frankly – I think that the number one issue that we (humanity) face is Poverty, and the second most important issue is Tyranny.

    The best policy approach is to maximise human liberty and prosperity. Imagine a world with 7 billion people living as the modern world does now. With 6 times the numbers of physical scientists and engineers and associated available capital we will be capable of solving all of our resource issues.

    But if we shrink back from the challenges and timidly accept the (initially) soft tyranny of the luddite greens we will not solve these problems and we ensure our eventual collapse as a civilization due to lack of resource production.

  152. How do so many people miss the bigger picture? Earth hour isnt about electricity, or government, its about creating awareness to consider our earth everyday.
    Its a simple message to get you to THINK about all forms of pollution and what impact a single human being has on our planet.

    I suppose you would applaud rational thinking when your consideration for the people of Japan and third world countries is to waste what you have? Because we all know that in times of suffering its better to brag about what we have.
    Can you honestly hold your head up high while you burn every light in your house and say i did this for the people who dont have electricty? Will you open every tap in your house and do it for all the millions that dont have clean running water? Will you waste your food for all the millions of people that are starving? Will you refuse to recycle for all those that cant!

    Is it really that hard for you to THINK about what YOU are doing to or for this planet? Where do you think your flushing toilet and trash go?

    What so great about 2011 anyway? Trying to convince my daughter that christmas tree lights are the new stars? Because a machine can keep me alive thats living? That skyping, bbm, blogging is the same as human touch? That having 150 choices of loo paper to wipe my **** with is really worth killing the tree that gives me water, food and clean air?

    That even in 2011 there is no cure for cancer or aids, and even though i lived to 70 and the whole world could watch me die, all the matters is that i have someone to hold my hand.

    This world and eveything in it only really needs and needed one thing – LOVE!

    So ask yourself if turning off your lights for 60 minutes could save a loved one from dying would you do it?

    I like Ross McKitrick to answer that too!

  153. I think that the number one issue that we (humanity) face is STUPIDTY!

    Ross McKitrick, an economist, was asked his thoughts on earth hour, not his thoughts on cheap electricity, how its improved life and how we would live without it. Sadly 90% of the people that posted a reply didnt answer the question either but went on to support how great electricity is and that because you love it you must abuse it.

  154. I suddenly remember, that light represents hope, happiness, life and similar things.

    On Saturday, it is expected that everyone should turn off the lights … Go figure!

  155. Rayleen:
    Go without food and only love. I’ll give you a month +/- a couple weeks. I’ll send flowers.

    BTW, trees are farmed for lumber, not paper. Paper is a product of waste material from the tree. So go ahead an wipe away guilt free. No trees were killed for it. Although, you won’t need the paper. You have love.

    Anon: Way to exemplify your point!!

  156. Mike: This is the stupidity Anon was referring too. Ofcourse you need food just like you need electricity, but would i go an hour a day or even a week without food to show that i care for a cause, yes i would just like the millions faste for faith. But send the flowers anyway. Wiping is a little sweeter knowing that if it doesnt degrade it gets recycled, but trees do die. And im not saying we dont need toilet paper im just saying we dont need 150 choices.

    An average American uses 50 pounds (23 kg) of toilet paper per year which is 50% more than the average of Western countries or Japan. Millions of trees are harvested in North America and in Latin American countries leaving ecological footprint concerns. (Wikipedia)

  157. SasjaL: Candles provide light too. If you can google what light represents then you should be able to google what Earth Hour is all about.

  158. I have thought for a long, long time that the ecofreaks were closet racists. They’ve got their good lifestyles but they don’t want the people of Africa, or China, or anywhere else, to get that good life too. There is no way out of crushing third world poverty except through the use of electricity. I grew up with a parent who spent his childhood without it, his family home wasn’t connected to the grid until the 30s. I don’t want to live like that. What’s more, I don’t want to see ANYONE live like that, but the ecofreaks and warmists certainly do. Smells like racism to me since most of the world population that is doing without the benefits of electricity is not white.

  159. Rush read this today on his show, and urged listeners to turn on their lights.

    Glad to see you repeated it in the second spot. Have to remember to take the poll tomorrow (it’s still Friday here in EDT).

    /Mr Lynn

  160. From hMAd, 3/17 @ 2PM:
    “the fact that electriciy, just like any other forms of energy is scarce and people should preserve it. Limit the usage!” Energy is not scarce – a look at planet earth during the hours of darkness will illustrate where the lack of energy is: Africa is the darkest continent in the world because they do not have affordable and available sources of electricity which cannot “be preserved” unless it is stored in a battery……how long will a battery drive an industrialized nation. If you can afford electricity you can use it any time you want. Remember utilities sell electricity….do something for your local power company: buy their product, support your local businesses.

  161. What drivel,

    I do hope that this is the result of miscommunication rather than an inept moron labeling themselves a professor to the disgrace of all the other great men/women who have attained this title. The later seems more likely as you yourself state that you have difficulty understanding what the ‘Earth’ is, I’ll give you a hint, we live on it.

    I’ll sum up the article: “Moderation should be mocked.”

    Earth hour was never a ‘tear down the machine’ event; I don’t see a mass of hippies marching on to the nearest coal electricity power plan with the intent of dismantling it, hijacking hospitals with the goal of switching off all the life support systems.

    It is an acknowledgement of the finite resources we rely on to produce the wonder of modernity. Through responsible use and management of these resources they can be greater shared throughout the rest of the developing world, as I agree, this would benefit them greatly.

    Why do these idiots feel the need to mix the terms responsibility with guilt? I instead choose to feel empowered. Through the slightest changes in our routine, we can have a direct and positive impact on the world. That is what Earth hour is about, I certainly don’t see that as something to feel bad about.

  162. Well said Matt! Our resources are, in fact, finite and the demand for them is increasing as our population grows, (In my lifetime, the world population has tripled.) and as modernization proceeds. It is clearly evident that consumer habits will have to change here in the affluent parts of the planet and Earth Day is intended to remind us of this necessity .It is NOT meant to induce a feeling of guilt, which is the emotional underpinning of this essay.

  163. Mocking the earth? Me thinks the eco tards suggesting such a thought need no help.Mocking ecotards by turning on the lights, illuminating their miserable self loathing, is a kind and friendly act of love.Any time you want to worship nature, I recommend Churchill Manitoba where you can hug a polar bear and really become one with nature a la the grizzly man. To celebrate the hour of power, I will shine some light arround my neighbourhood. Earth day celebrate by encouraging darkness? Wonderful messaging from the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

  164. I did my bit by turning on my outdoor floodlights. Since I live in the country I doubt that my gesture was noted. But it was symbolic.

    Our beloved CBC has a poll in action and all are invited to partake. Go to http://www.cbc.ca/news/yourcommunity/2011/03/earth-hour-will-you-be-participating.html and vote.
    As of 2240 ADT the vote to the question “Are you participating in Earth Hour?” is 76.43% NO.
    It is unfortunate that this posting comes too late for many people to read and act.

    IanM

  165. I’m surprised Guelph University has not fired you for such ignorant comments Professor McKitrick… I’m glad I chose to go to McMaster…

  166. Julia says:

    “I’m surprised Guelph University has not fired you for such ignorant comments Professor McKitrick…”

    And here we see another little totalitarian wannabe in the making. Julia has no use for free speech. Because Prof McKittrick strays from the eco-narrative, Julia’s remedy is… FIRE HIM!!

    It is both sad and hypocritical that universities are among the most anti-free speech places on the planet. Julia should be thoroughly ashamed of her pro-totalitarian comment. But she’s not, because she is Saving The Planet™.

    Insufferable goodness.

  167. @smokey

    I was trying to make a point and make fun of how ignorant this essay is given that he totally is missing the point of Earth Hour. Earth Hour is not demonizing electricity it is simply bringing awareness to the fact that our world is precious and is all we have.
    and of course i did not mean literally for him to be fired. it was a joke, just like this essay

    this video beautifully depicts this..

    Happy Earth Hour everyone! ;)

  168. @ smokey

    it would be great if you stopped attacking peoples comments… i think you are seriously abusing your rights.

    muzzle anyone?

  169. I can bet that many of these anti- earth hour supporters are also fans of “totalitarian” fox news propaganda

    REPLY: And also regular folks that realize that it is simply an exercise in pointless symbolism, that isn’t worth the minor inconvenience. Read the news stories around the world. Earth Hour was a bust, though very very successful in North Korea for the fourth straight year:

    NK

    – Anthony

  170. Beautiful video Julia!
    and i think what she was referring to was the fact that U of G is known for their environmental studies and activism. Professor McKitrick goes against this is professing his opinion about Earth Hour, rather ironic given his place of employment. This essay shows why Guelph is known for their superior veterinarian and environmental studies rather than economic. Maybe need not to be fired, but a little kick in the pants for sure is in order.

  171. @John P:

    It is telling that you take the side of the person who seriously advocates the firing of someone who simply expressed a legitimate point of view. It is Julia who wants to muzzle views that she disagrees with, just like you.

    I have a major problem with that anti-liberty mind-set. You don’t see where that would lead?? Advocating censorship of anyone who thinks differently is so creepy it justifiably scares me.

    I’ve just re-read Prof McKittrick’s essay, looking for anything objectionable in it. There is nothing either wrong, or non-factual about what McKittrick wrote. If you think there is, why don’t you tell us exactly what it is? And I would like to hear how Julia justifies her wish to have Prof McKittrick’s employment terminated [!!] for simply writing this article. I’m all ears; please explain.

    The totalitarian aspect of the eco-movement, as perfectly expressed by Julia, should be of great concern to everyone. Someone who used to post here put it better than I could:

    1. Government is force

    
2. Good ideas do not have to be forced on others


    3. Bad ideas should not be forced on others

    
4. Liberty is necessary for the difference between good ideas and bad ideas to be revealed

    Demonizing “carbon” and beneficial electricity are bad ideas which should not be forced on anyone. And we can certainly do without self-appointed proto-totalitarian greenshirted censors who mistakenly presume they know it all, and telling us what we may or may not write, under threat of being fired. Or worse; isn’t the next step an agricultural re-education gulag? Don’t assume these eco-thugs don’t fantasize about it. Hansen has already called for imprisoning people who run completely legal, regulated businesses.

    You people scare the hell out of me.

  172. get a life

    REPLY: Julia, I have one and it’s quite rich and full and happy. But thanks for the suggestion! Must be gloomy on Hudson Bay, so I understand you being in a funk. – Anthony

  173. “and of course i did not mean literally for him to be fired. it was a joke, just like this essay”

    can you read smokey??… the only thing that is scary is your obsession with this highly opinionated pointless article.

    “you people” your starting to sound like hate speech.

    get a life. get off the computer. and do something good for the world. your probably an old retired nobody that has nothing to do but harass peoples on the internet.

  174. Julia says:

    “and of course i did not mean literally for him to be fired. it was a joke, just like this essay… can you read?”

    I can read. Julia wrote this about Ross McKittrick:

    “I’m surprised Guelph University has not fired you for such ignorant comments Professor McKitrick.”

    There was no “[/sarc]” tag at the end, and it’s pretty clear that Julia meant exactly what she wrote. Attempted cover-ups are always worse than the original mistake.

    The scary part is the total intolerance of different views by people like Julia in censorship-prone university settings. The 1st Amendment is despised, and groupthink rules the opinions of students and faculty alike. As Julia makes clear, tenure is only acceptable for future like-minded eco-rulers – not for anyone with a different opinion.

  175. funny how smokey didn’t deny his retiree, nobody status.

    Canada also has its free speech rights enabled to put limits on these rights from idiots like smokey from spewing hatred against an identifiable group, which happens to be eco-minded people. keep it up smokey. yes “us people” very scary. ooooohhh. just because you have a right to do something. doesn’t make it right.

    but anyways, we are way off topic. didn’t know we had to be so politically correct on this site with “sarc” comments and such

  176. The only person discouraging people’s thoughts and feelings on this site is you Smokey.

    I read all the comments you have posted, and they are all attacking the opposing view. Anyone who thinks differently from you, you have something rather cynical to say. Hypocritical and rather Sad smokes.

  177. John P,

    Get a grip. I’ve often mentioned here that I’m retired from a thirty year carreer in designing, calibrating and repairing weather related instruments in a large metrology lab employing over 140 engineers and technicians. I understand the engineering side of the issue. What’s your background?

    Sure, I’m a nobody. But I don’t think I’m an “idiot.” I just get irked at free speech censors who have their hands deep in my wallet, and who always want more – based on a bogus AGW scare.

    And your judgemental comment needs to be fixed: “just because you have a right to do something doesn’t make it right wrong.”

    There. Fixed.

  178. Margaret,

    I stand by everything I’ve said. How would you feel if people were attacking you for simply expressing your opinion? Persecuted, I would think. Yet Prof McKittrick simply ignores you. That must burn.

  179. Margaret, Julia, and Joanne, wallowing in uninformed self-righteousness.

    Perfect illustrations/embodiments about what is so repulsive about the Enforced Greenness groupmind.

  180. Great article.

    “I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there,….”

    Going further, geologist Richard Sanford said “I love nature, I don’t worship it.”

    (He once had the Society for Objective Science, which nailed environmentalism on fundamental grounds.)

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