Earth Hour – Is it worth the effort?

Guest post by Russ Rodrigues

imageOn Saturday, March 31st at 8.30pm (local time) WWF is inviting you and everyone around the world to celebrate Earth Hour 2012 by turning off non-essential lights for sixty minutes to “protect the planet”.

Now, I’m all for saving electricity and lowering my utility bills, though I can’t help but wonder… does the collective action of millions of people turning off their lights have any real, tangible impact on our planet?  Can an hour of conspicuous conservation actually help us achieve our greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reduction targets?  Or is Earth Hour merely another exercise in self-satisfying slacktivism, achieving nothing more than the squishy “feel-good” objective of “raising awareness”?

To answer these questions and get a sense of how effective Earth Hour really is, let’s look at the results of last year’s effort, specifically in the province of Ontario, Canada (where I happen to live).

Ontario’s Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) reported that that on March 26th, 2011, between 8:30pm and 9:30pm, due to conservation action during the last episode of Earth Hour, province-wide demand for electricity fell by 360 megawatts or 2.1% compared to a typical Saturday evening in late March.

Let’s simply assume that all 360 MWh of power demand was actually eliminated, rather than being merely postponed.  Since it would be difficult to quantify the impact of time-shifting household activities, let’s just be generous and ignore it altogether.

How big a deal is 360 MWh?  At Ontario’s blended average retail electricity price of 7.74 cents per kWh, that 360 MWh of reduced consumption amounts to a province-wide total cash savings of $24,864.   One could, perhaps, compare that savings to the money spent promoting Earth Hour in Ontario by the WWF, various levels of governments, and numerous corporate partners, to say nothing of the costs incurred by the individual participants.  But I don’t imagine that would be a favourable comparison.

So cost savings aside, how big an impact did Ontario’s Earth Hour have on the province’s CO2 emissions?  Let’s ignore the extra emissions generated by people who traveled to and from public gatherings, or by those who lit paraffin wax candles (each of which emits about as much fossil-fuel derived CO2 per hour as a compact fluorescent light bulb). For simplicity, we’ll just focus on the CO2 emissions from the electricity that was saved.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), non-baseload electricity emits an average of 690 g of CO2 per kWh into the atmosphere.  So, by simple math, by conserving 360 MW of electric power during Earth Hour, Ontarians reduced their CO2 emissions by a total of 248 metric tonnes.

248 tonnes.  That sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it?  And it isn’t really that difficult to achieve… in fact, it’s even kind of fun.  Perhaps we could just have a few more Earth Hours each year, and have some real impact on our emissions reduction targets.  So, how many Earth Hours would it take?  Once every quarter?  One per month?  Or maybe make it a fortnightly event?

In 2007, Ontario introduced its Climate Change Action Plan action to reduce total GHG emissions. This action plan established an annual GHG reduction target “6% below 1990 levels by 2014, a reduction of 61 megatonnes relative to business-as-usual” (pg 6).  By eliminating 248 tonnes of CO2 emissions, Earth Hour achieved 0.000407% of this target.

Or, looked at another way, it would take nearly 246,000 Earth Hours to achieve the province’s annual emissions reduction target.  Unfortunately, there are only 8760 hours in a year, so it would require a little more than 28 years of sitting in the dark to make good on a single year’s emissions reduction target.  The WWF certainly isn’t kidding when it asks Earth Hour participants to sustain their actions “beyond the hour.”

But details like this aren’t what Earth Hour is about.  It’s about demonstrating our commitment to the planet… about taking a stand on climate change… about promoting environmental consciousness.  It’s a symbol of hope for the future.  It’s an opportunity to light lots of pretty candles (preferably of the carbon-neutral, beeswax variety) and unite as a community in celebration of… well, uniting as a community.  Yes, it’s all that and countless other fluffy intangibles.

So, you might as well just enjoy Earth Hour.  While switching off your lights won’t achieve any material impact in terms of reducing emissions or protecting the planet, at least you can shave a bit off your electric bill while feeling good about yourselves.  And of course, you’ll be doing your part to “raise awareness”.

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Spreadsheet for the calculations: Earth Hour Calculations (.xlsx)

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130 Responses to Earth Hour – Is it worth the effort?

  1. MattN says:

    Why don’t we have the power companies shut everyone’s power off for an hour instead, and see how everyone like it?

    Lights are a minimal part of an overall power bill, particularly if you’re like me and have CFL and some LED lightbulbs. The HVAC and appliances dwarf lights in power consumption….

  2. Nerd says:

    It’s going to be interesting to see what happens to Canada in 20 years if we see another Little Ice age or some sort assuming it actually happens…

  3. wwschmidt says:

    I want anyone who’s considering turning off lights to know that I am going to turn ON every light I can during this hour, just so you can know that your efforts to save the planet are all wasted.

    Why? Because that’s how I roll, babyeee!

  4. Larry Geiger says:

    I would like to help and turn off all the wasteful street lights in our neighborhood, but it seems near impossible to get those things turned off. Go figure.

  5. Jay says:

    We should do this simply to reduce light pollution, so we can enjoy the night sky — on a clear night, that is. We should do this at least once a week for the benefit of astronomy. :)

  6. GeoLurking says:

    Earth Hour…. yay.

    I usually drag out all the floodlights I can get a hold of and point them skywards. It’s worth the extra kilowatts just to get into the satellite photo with my own little pixel.

  7. V Martin says:

    With apologies to the ‘Earth Hour’ website (http://www.earthhour.org/), I submit the following….By way of introduction, I do think that it is VERY unfortunate that ‘Earth Hour’ would choose the date of their special hour to exactly coincide with ‘Engineering and Scientific Achievement Hour’.

    ABOUT ENGINEERING AND SCIENTIFIC ACHIEVEMENT HOUR
    Hundreds of millions of people, businesses and governments around the world unite each year to support the largest Engineering and Scientific event in history – Engineering and Scientific Achievement Hour.
    In isolated pockets around the globe, engineers, scientists and other dissident supporters of the truth ignored the force-fed glowbull warmist lies and propaganda as disseminated by a willingly duped and thuggish media by sending out their own powerful message for acknowledgement of the great engineering and scientific achievements that have truly allowed the comfort and pursuit of happiness by all to be a reality. It also ushered in a new era with members going Beyond the Call of Duty to commit to lasting action for the common sense approach to the wellbeing of all who live on the planet. Without a doubt, it’s shown how great things can be achieved when people come together for a common cause.
    Some call it war!! And the metric (in Ontario) to see who wins this war will be this…. http://www.ieso.ca/ Which side will move the scale from where it would be for a typical Saturday at the end of March? Those who are against Engineering and Scientific Achievement day or those earth worshipping whackos who want to return us all to the Dark Ages?
    Do your part… for the time from 8:30 to 9:30 pm on March 31, turn on every electrical appliance in your house. If you have electric heaters and gas… turn them both on and open every window you have. Let your cars, snow blowers, lawnmowers and garden tractors idle in the driveway. It’s actually very simple… for the one hour of Engineering and Scientific Achievement Day, switch on EVERY SINGLE ITEM YOU OWN THAT ACTUALLY REQUIRES ENERGY… ESPECIALLY ELECTRIC APPLIANCES THAT TAKE LOTS OF POWER. For this one hour, you can even leave the fridge door wide open. Do all the baking that you had been planning on doing and in fact, leave the oven door open while you are doing it…perhaps celebrate by having oven cooked pizza. All those tasks that you have been putting off? Do them during this 8:30 to 9:30 pm timeframe! Vacuum the house, do a steam clean of all your carpets and so on….
    Perhaps in advance of the great event, send out literature to all your neighbours and run a contest…. Record your kWh right at 8:30 and again at 9:30 pm and see who increased their kWh the most! Have a prize for the winner… if the neighbourhood is large, the prize could be something that was truly symbolic of Engineering and Scientific Achievement day… Something like a Ford F350 4 wheel drive would be appropriate!
    Thanks to this group for the inspiration to finally recognize the great achievements and sacrifices of the engineers and scientists who have made our lives so much better. Otherwise, we would all be living in mud houses, eating nothing but grubs and dying off at a disease rate that threatened our extinction. http://www.earthhour.org/

  8. Eyes Wide Open says:

    “But details like this aren’t what Earth Hour is about.”

    Nope, it’s about total propagandic nonsense!

  9. nigelf says:

    And miss Hockey Night in Canada? Not too f&%$ing likely!

  10. Alan S. Blue says:

    Instead of an hour, or an hour a couple of times, we should always propose some serious effort instead.

    A reduction to eighty percent of current levels is one of the target numbers I’ve heard – so that’s about -two-months- per year.

    So my stock response is: I’ll turn off all of my power for an hour to show solidarity and a willingness to listen, if you’ll personally get to -half- your target numbers during January and report back.

    Oh? Very difficult here with heating and all? Then you need to move to save Gaia….

  11. John says:

    I am going to turn on every light I have, and open the curtains for every one to see.

  12. Curiousgeorge says:

    @ Larry Geiger says:
    March 10, 2012 at 11:53 am

    I would like to help and turn off all the wasteful street lights in our neighborhood, but it seems near impossible to get those things turned off. Go figure.
    ================================================================

    That’s easy. .22 . And you’d be ensuring job security for quite a few people. ;)

  13. Smokey says:

    Curiousgeorge,

    As Bastiat would say, look at all the gov’t jobs that would create. Win-win!

    [/sarc]

  14. Latitude says:

    …anyone ever figured out what it takes to grow a joint in someone’s basement?

    Just try taking their pot away………………

  15. sHx says:

    As I did last year, this year too I’ll mark Earth Hour by turning on all the lights. We ought to be celebrating this great human invention, not condemning it.

  16. Frank K. says:

    “Earth Hour”

    Sheesh – we went through this nonsense last year.

    Well, I’ll turn off my lights for an hour if NASA, NOAA, and all academic institutions doing climate “science” turn off all of their computers for an hour, especially those running climate models…

  17. AndyG55 says:

    I have several 500w spotlights, I like to point them up to the sky and turn them all on.

  18. Petra says:

    “So, by simple math, by conserving 360 MW of electric power during Earth Hour, Ontarians reduced their CO2 emissions by a total of 248 metric tonnes.

    248 tonnes. That sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it?”´

    Well, consideríng ….
    that 360 MW means a fairly small coal-power-plant;
    that there always has to be a perfect second-sharp balance between consumption and generation;
    that Earth Hour will mean a sudden drop-off of consumption of 360 MW in let’s say a minute;
    that the 369 MW power-plant will have to go off the grid within this minute;
    that the 360 MW power-plant will be off for just a short hour;
    that the 360 MW power-plant will have to reconnect with the grid after one hour within let’s say a minute to counter a sudden 360 MW jump of consumption;
    and consindering that coal-power-plants are pretty slow in reaction to steering and need their time to adapt, sometimes hours…

    – well, then there is a very good chance that the engineers in charge will NOT shut off this small 360 MW power-plant at all, but will just let the steam off into the atmosphere, by-passing the turbine, in order to be ready to reconnect when consumption jumps up again – which means that they will not burn 1 ounce of coal less than without Earth Hour.

    And then the Earth-Hour-emission-reduction will be excactly – ZERO.

    But everybody shutting off the lights and saving the planet will experience a very very cosy and satisfying feeling of doing-good and being nice to Mother Earth. And that’s quite something, isn’t it?

  19. Ric Werme says:

    Jay says:
    March 10, 2012 at 11:54 am

    We should do this simply to reduce light pollution, so we can enjoy the night sky — on a clear night, that is. We should do this at least once a week for the benefit of astronomy. :)

    I’ve considered putting black trash bags over the decorative parking lot lights at the town offices. Or shorting out their power wires. Or shooting out the lamps (a bit of a challenge given that the police department is there).

    Perhaps I should just pay GeoLurking’s floodlights a visit. :-)

  20. Don E says:

    I like Steve Goddard’s idea for Earth Month:
    “Earth Hour is a wonderful idea, but we can do better. Everyone should give up fossil fuels for the month of January. No cars, no electricity – no food or water which has been produced or transported using fossil fuels.
    Only then will we understand just how little we need heat, light, or food.”

  21. 1DandyTroll says:

    I remember the first year they tried this, my mom got all exciting because it would be so cozy, wink wink nudge nudge, my dad, apparently, was completely terrified and suffered post traumatic stress from reliving earlier “cozy” episodes in life, rightly before having kids. :p

    I wonder though if people really understand how much of their donated money to WWF for saving this or that animal actually ends up going to ad for this earth hour crap they’re pulling.

  22. Jimbo says:

    Many developing countries often suffer from quite a (unintended) few Earth Hours every day, week, year. It’s not just the light that go but the fidge, tv, desktop the lot. ;-)

  23. zac says:

    No point at all. But you seem to accept the pseudo science of greenhouse gases, rather than the real physics of lapse rate.

  24. Adam says:

    You know a great addition would be to estimate the money and CO2 spent on advertising earth hour. Hopefully it’s less than the money and CO2 saved but I imagine it’s quite a lot.

  25. Charles Brecknell says:

    I belong to a social club & a member is proposing an event for Earth Hour, described as:

    “Join us and take part in this global event. Earth Hour has been organised by The World Wildlife Fund since 2007 and is held annually on the last Saturday in March. The intention is to inspire people from all parts of the globe to take seriously sustainability and environmental issues and to appreciate the world we all share. As they point out, a healthy planet isn’t just good for polar bears but for all of us.
    People are asked to switch off non-essential lights for one hour. Most things are possible by candlelight and of course some things are more fun.
    We will have a quiz and food; whether its a sit down meal, buffet or bring and share will depend on numbers. Please let me know asap, if you think you may be interested; it doesn’t have to be definite and will not commit you to coming. More details will follow.
    Donations will go towards WWF; the suggestion is for whatever you might normally want to spend on a Saturday night!”

    I’d like to make a polite, factual response to this- can WUWT readers help?

  26. joated says:

    Of course, the power plants can’t scale down their production of electricity during that one hour. The turbines must spin…just in case. Just as they must spin to back up all those bird shredders called windmills when the wind doesn’t blow (or blows too hard).

    BTW, Russ, I hope you didn’t hurt your tongue when you planted it so firmly in your cheek while typing that penultimate paragraph.
    “…It’s about demonstrating our commitment to the planet… about taking a stand on climate change… about promoting environmental consciousness. It’s a symbol of hope for the future. It’s an opportunity to light lots of pretty candles (preferably of the carbon-neutral, beeswax variety) and unite as a community in celebration of… well, uniting as a community. Yes, it’s all that and countless other fluffy intangibles.”
    Fluffy indeed!

  27. Eve Stevens says:

    I will certainly help. For the whole month of March and April, I will not turn on a light, my computer, my hot water heater, the stove and microwave, coffee maker, washer and dryer, the TV and the thermostat is set at 12 C. Guess I should post this on an AGW site and challenge someone to surpass my efforts.

  28. Earth hour is earth’s hour, in the sense of denying for an hour the worth of humanity.

  29. Rosco says:

    Of course the actual energy saving was ZERO.

    You can’t just take your foot off the “gas pedal” at a power station – those tons and tons of rapidly spinning generators don’t like to change velocity rapidly – so just because demand dropped for a short period of time doesn’t equate to a single gram of CO2 – the boilers and turbines were kept at base load capacity as calculated by the engineers as sufficient meet demand fluctuations and the energy “saved” by Earth hour was simply wasted.

    Not one single gram of CO2 is saved by this farce – the only value it may be considered to have is a feel good one – or perhaps conditioning us to our “clean energy” future whereby less than a few percent of energy supply today is going to be the only energy supply in our future.

  30. Tommy says:

    Definitely not worth the effort even if AGW was real. I recall the electric company released the stats during earth hour a year or two ago, and guess what?? The electric consumption went a bit up compared to normal, which was explained by electric ovens turning on when those old fashioned light bulbs were switched off.
    Here in this climate there is absolutely no benefits which is also why the ban of the old fashioned bulbs makes absolutely no sense.
    The energy is not wasted and helps heat up our buildings.

  31. ShrNfr says:

    I am going to do what I always do. I will turn on my LED lights and use them for whatever purpose. Instead of the total hypocrisy of mucking up the environment with mercury compliments of twisters, I will read my books using all of 7.5 W of LED spotlight. Do I do this to reduce global warming? You gotta be kidding. I do this because I am a simple NE Yankee chap who runs his life by “Use it up, wear it out, or do without”. Aka a cheapskate. I love Obama yacking his head off today about CAFE standards. Hey, buddy, nothing works like the free market and high gasoline prices to make people want higher mpg cars. King Canute demonstrated his humility. This idjit (sic) thinks he can keep the tide from coming in. Oh, my car? Yeah, it is 16 years old now, gets 28 mpg city and 37 highway. A simple dumb old Ford Escort Wagon. Told ya I was a cheapskate.

  32. A Lovell says:

    Every year at this time I re-read the predictions made on Earth Day 1970, and have a bit of a giggle. They’re quite fun to bring up whenever one encounters a true believer.

    http://www.ihatethemedia.com/fifteen-foolish-forecasts-how-did-environmentalists-get-it-so-wrong-on-earth-day-1970

  33. robmcn says:

    No more wimpy Earth Hour, instead how about a Big Brother Earth Month?

    Where the world’s greatest environmentalists get to spend 12 weeks in a house where any function or food that depends on fossil fuel is not allowed. Think, no running water, no commercial foods, no electronic communications, everything replaced with green revolution technology like with wind up torches, well water, home grown veggies. It really is about time environuts showed the rest of us how it is done.

  34. Disko Troop says:

    Eve, I suggest you ask Al Gore to join you. He could regale you with stories about how he invented the internet. It would be fun in the dark with Al.

  35. SasjaL says:

    “Earth Hour” is just an idiot indicator, to see how strong the general belief is and the possible extent they can encourage mandatory expenses and taxes …

    It has been said before and needs to be said again: You are encouraged to turn off the light, the symbol of life, hope and existence … Figure it out for yourself!

    All the AGW movements in the United States should register as ecclesial organizations. Then they will not need to pay taxes for their commercial business …

    Before it’s to late …

  36. DN says:

    I did the calculations in a message I sent to my colleagues last year. Here it is:
    —–
    The purpose of Earth Day is to “turn off lights for one hour as a symbolic action to raise awareness about climate change.” The goal of sitting in the dark for an hour is to provide “an opportunity for all of us to reflect on what we can do – at home and in the office – to lessen our impact on the environment.”

    I thought I’d simply offer a few facts and figures for your consideration as “Earth Hour” approaches. First, according to the IMF, there is a direct and very stark correlation between electrification and standard of living. The poorest countries in the world are also those with the lowest levels of electrification (expressed in Watts of electrical consumption per person).

    The group with the highest per capita electrical consumption contains Australia, the US, Canada and Norway; the lowest contains Chad, Rwanda, Afghanistan, Ethiopia, Nigeria and Bangladesh. Nobody in any of those latter countries will be turning off any light-bulbs on Saturday night, because the per capita electrical consumption in each of those countries is 15 Watts per person or less – not enough to run a single light-bulb. In other words, if you want to raise the standard of living of people in the worst-off countries in the world, don’t send them cheques, used clothing or Hollywood celebrities; provide them with cheap, abundant electrical power.

    The importance of electrification is not reflected only in GDP. International activists and aid agencies are continually bombarding potential donors with heart-rending images of children in the most dire conditions of abject poverty. Well, guess what – there’s also a very direct and very stark correlation between electrification and child mortality.

    Graphing child mortality against electrifcal consumption, once again the extreme end groups contain Australia, the US, Canada and Norway (highest electrical consumption and lowest child mortality), while the countries with the lowest electrical consumption have the highest child mortality: Ethiopia, Nigeria, Rwanda, Chad and Afghanistan. In other words, if you want to solve the child mortality problem – which, according to all of the commercials we see on TV, is the purpose of foreign aid – then once again, don’t send monetary donations to individuals or agencies; provide the population with cheap, abundant electrical power.

    Electricity is the lifeblood of modern society. I don’t just mean its trinkets and trappings, like X-Boxes and LCD televisions; I mean its very foundations. Stop and imagine for a moment what would happen if the power really went out. Not just a few light-bulbs, but everything.
    Actually, you don’t have to imagine it – you just have to have been living in Ontario or the north-eastern US on the 14th of August 2003.

    Remember that? That was the great Northeast blackout – the second most widespread blackout in history, affecting 10,000,000 people in Ontario and 45,000,000 in the US. That part of the grid normally supplied about 28 GW of power. During the outage, supply dropped to about 5 GW. You can find pictures of the continent at night. It’s fascinating how much the blacked-out area looks like the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, the Gulf of Mexico and Hudson’s Bay – places where there are simply no people. This is what doing without electricity looks like.

    You want symbolism? THAT is symbolism.

    Do you suppose the people affected by that blackout were reflecting on how good the loss of the grid was for “the environment”? Or were they wondering how to keep their food from spoiling, how to get water out of their 180’ well without a pump, how to cook, how to clean their clothes, or – luxury of luxuries! – how to cool their homes in the 35+ temperatures we were enjoying that day? Were they worrying about carbon emissions, or about driving safely without traffic lights? Or about how long auxiliary generators at hospitals would hold out? Or whether banks could keep their computer servers running? Or how to fuel their cars with no power to the gas pumps? Were police, fire and ambulance radio services still working? Were the intensive care, cardiac and oncology units at hospitals still functioning? How about air traffic control?

    And that was in the summer, when ambient outdoor temperatures are survivable. But this is Canada. Suppose a major blackout had happened in winter? Wait a minute…it did.

    The central North American ice storm of January 1998 destroyed over 1000 high tension pylons (and 35,000 wooden power poles) in Quebec alone, and resulted in a loss of electrical power to more than 4,000,000 consumers, in some cases for many weeks. The damage to the grid was so severe and so widespread that the Army deployed armoured personnel carriers to rip downed power lines out of the ice in an attempt to salvage them. Damage exceeded $4-6 billion and resulted in the largest domestic deployment of military personnel in Canadian history.

    Thousands of farm animals were crushed under falling roofs, or froze to death because there was no power to heat their buildings. During those power outages, how many folks do you think were reflecting on their impact on the environment…as opposed to, say, the environment’s impact on them?

    We take the grid for granted; we treat it like a constant, something that’ll always be there. But it’s not a constant; it’s an enormous and immensely complex, interconnected, continent-wide machine consisting of hundreds of power plants, thousands of transformer stations, hundreds of thousands of step-down transformers, millions of pylons and miles of wire, hundreds of millions of individual consumers, and tens of billions of electrical appliances. Managing the generation, distribution and consumption of the amount of energy handled by the grid is a feat of engineering that makes most other human achievements look like finger-painting. Every day the North American grid distributes the electrical equivalent of the energy contained in a 10 Megaton hydrogen bomb – and yet we don’t even think about it.

    It took the most technically advanced civilization in history more than a hundred years to accomplish something as magnificently complicated, capable and invisible as the North American power grid, and it takes all of our ingenuity to keep it operating in the face of ever-increasing demand, insufficient maintenance, and government regulations that place illogical constraints on generators. And as we are painfully reminded every time there’s a major power outage, the grid is all that stands between us and the unpleasant reality of the natural world. If you live in Canada, that’s a pretty serious consideration.

    Now, let’s take a moment to think about what “Earth Hour” really symbolizes. If you accept the figures in the CIA World Factbook and those provided by the US Energy Information Administration, then the per capita electricity consumption in Canada is 1910 W/person. For a family of 4, then, the total load is 7640 W. The average Canadian house, according to NRCan, has 40.9 light bulbs,(Note A) of which 52% are high-efficiency (usually CFLs rather than the far more efficient, longer-lasting and much safer LED bulbs). At an average of 60W per incandescent light bulb, and 15W per CFL (to match the 800 lumens generated by a 60W incandescent bulb), the approximate lighting load for the average household if all lights were turned on simultaneously (an unusual occurrence) would be (21×15)+(20×60)=1515W.

    In my house, I counted; between 1930 and 2030 hrs on a Saturday, I would normally have 2 lights on in the kitchen, 3 in the office, 1 in the living room, 2 in the kids’ bedrooms, and 3 outside. Half of these are halogen or LED, but let’s pretend they’re all 60W incandescent bulbs – that’s a total load of 11×60 or 660W. If I turn these all off for one hour, I will have spared the grid 0.66 kWh.

    What kind of emissions am I saving? Well, according to Ontario Power Generation (Note B), Ontario’s generating capacity is roughly one-third each nuclear (6606 MW), hydroelectric (6996 MW) and thermal (6327 MW). As I write this, however, the power actually being produced by each of those elements of our overall generating capacity is 5709 MW from nuclear, 2255 MW from hydroelectric, and 319 MW from thermal plants. In other words, of the 8283 MW currently being generated in Ontario, only 3.85% comes from carbon-emitting sources (accordingly, even if you accept the premise of the AGW thesis, 96.15% of Ontario’s generated electricity cannot in any way be even remotely connected to “climate change”). So of the 0.66 kWh I’ll save by shutting off my lights for “Earth Hour”, I’m saving 0.66 x 0.0385 = 0.0254 kWh worth of emissions. According to Environment Canada, using coal to produce electricity creates 0.5418 kg of carbon dioxide per kWh generated, so turning off my light bulbs for an hour will save 0.5418 x 0.0254 = 0.0137 kg, or 14 grams, of carbon dioxide.

    Paraffin, a complex hydrocarbon that is solid at room temperature, produces, like other alkane fuels, roughly 3 kg of carbon dioxide per litre when burned (about a 3:1 ratio by mass). This means that if I want to replace my lost electrical light with paraffin candles, then – if I want to remain “Earth-friendly” – I can’t generate more than 14 grams of carbon dioxide. This means that I can only burn about 5 grams of paraffin. Ikea sells packs of 24 tea lights weighing 2 pounds (909 grams), so each tea light weighs about 37.85 grams (call it 35 grams once we lose the packaging and the aluminum holder for the paraffin). If I can only burn 5 grams of paraffin, that’s 1/7 or 14.3% of a tea light. Tea lights are advertised to burn for 4 hours, so to get one hour’s worth of light out of one, I’d have to burn 25% of it.

    So I can light a single tea light during Earth Hour to replace the 11 light-bulbs I’ve turned off – but I’ll have to blow it out after 14.3/25×60=34 minutes, or else I’ll have produced more carbon dioxide from my tiny candle than Ontario Power Generation would have produced to run my 11 light-bulbs for an hour.

    For the first 34 minutes of “Earth Hour”, therefore, I’ll be trying to run my life by the light of a single, tiny candle; and for the last 26 minutes, I’ll be sitting idle in the dark.

    It doesn’t get any more symbolic than that.

    If “Earth Hour” symbolizes anything at all, frankly, it’s the inability of people to do basic arithmetic. It also symbolizes the widespread and appalling ignorance of the historical fact that abundant electricity produced by the cheapest means available (and anyone who understands the market should understand that “abundant” and “cheapest means available” are inextricably interconnected) is a major part of the difference between the life that we enjoy here, and the grinding poverty and catastrophic child mortality of the third world.

    Nowhere is this easier to see than in a night-time satellite image of the Sea of Japan. The northern part of the Korean peninsula simply isn’t visible, because there’s virtually no electrical power anywhere but in Pyongyang. It’s always “Earth Hour” in North Korea. If you want to reflect on something during Earth Hour, reflect on that.

    The line dividing the modern from the pre-modern world is drawn in electric light. It took an awful lot of human science, human ingenuity, human resources and human labour to create the means to produce clean, white illumination at the flick of a switch. Voluntarily turning that switch off is a “symbolic act”, all right – but I don’t think most people who do so understand just what it is that they’re really symbolizing.

  37. Olen says:

    They are soliciting participation in their fraud for a short time to gain acceptance from a public that likes reliable electrical energy over un-reliable energy offered by the green crowd.

    They have already destroyed the best light bulb on the market and now they want you to sit in the dark for a short time to show support. A few words come to mind to describe this.

  38. DirkH says:

    Charles Brecknell says:
    March 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm
    “As they point out, a healthy planet isn’t just good for polar bears but for all of us.”
    “I’d like to make a polite, factual response to this- can WUWT readers help?”

    The planet is pretty healthy. Polar Bears have increased in numbers since hunting was banned. Increased CO2 leads to higher plant growth, and even better, it enables plants to grow in drier climates, as they need less stomata. When CO2 is scarce, they develop more stomata to breath CO2, but this also leads to higher water evaporation. Hence, due to more CO, the Sahel zone is currently greening.
    Here’s a very impressive demonstration of the effects, German video, the researcher visits the same spot in the Sahel zone for 30 years now and explains he has never seen anything like it – where there was desert, there are now endless areas of vegetation.
    http://notrickszone.com/2012/01/03/der-spiegel-the-ground-zero-of-climate-change-is-becoming-green-expanding-sahara-is-a-myth/

  39. pesadia says:

    Its a very clever marketing strategy which is trying to shame those people who do not participate. You can literally walk outside your door and recognise the sinners. In all probability, earth hour is being promoted in schools in order that the pupils might put pressure on their parents to participate in this religious celebration.
    Don’t be fooled, and resist pressure from your children and friends. This represents the ECO foot in the door.
    My wife and I spent the afternoon talking to two very pleasant Mormons and after three hours of good humoured discussion about their faith, they asked if they could say a prayor before departing.
    This is the foot in the door and I quietly and politely told them that it would not be appropriate as we had not changed our position with regard to faith in or the existance of a deity.
    Neverthless, it was a very interesting exchange and they are welcome to visit again.
    Same methodology really.

  40. Lonnie E. Schubert says:

    No, earth hour is not worth any effort.

  41. Kasuha says:

    “Or is Earth Hour merely another exercise in self-satisfying slacktivism, achieving nothing more than the squishy “feel-good” objective of “raising awareness”?”
    This. No doubt about it.
    And maybe a measure of how many loyal followers does the religion have.

  42. Malcolm Miller says:

    In Australia I switch on every light, especially outside ones, when the stupid ‘Earth Hour’ is proclaimed. What a ridiculous eco-fascist piece of propaganda!

  43. sunsettommy says:

    Just lightbulbs?

    bwahahahahahahahahahaha!!!

    I have a better idea for these pretentious greenie’s.How about go to the home’s breaker box and shut the main disconnect switch to OFF for an hour.A whole hour just to see what it is like to go without electricity at all in the house.

    I dare you to do it.

  44. Well, since my wife & I don’t have air-conditioning (even less so in Winter) and the building has central forced water heat (whose electricity demands are probably on the order of $15/month, or perhaps $0.30 per person), our single largest electricity use is the fridge. I doubt unplugging permanently it will be terribly smart, & unplugging it for an hour would have no effect on our bill.

    As far as light goes, it’s an obvious sign of civilization and human habitation, & has been for thousands of years. I’m pretty sure that’s what the Whirled Wildlife Fundus objects to.

  45. Aussie Luke Warm says:

    Good article, Russ. To me slacktivism is good. Can you imagine what it would be like if Joe & Mary Average and their 2.1 children got serious about this catastrophic man-made global warming rubbish? Oh, and I’ll proudly be turning all my lights on during Smurf Hour to celebrate human achievement and to protest against UN/WWF/Greenpeace et al greenie policies denying the 3rd world cheap, reliable energy.

  46. Bob in Castlemaine says:

    Most likely the minimal reduction in power use for that hour that faithful celebrate, would be more than offset by the increased power use as a result of preparation and stand down. Examples that come to mind, increased fuel used for traveling to and from related celebratory events, rescheduled activities that still occur but simply do so at another time and I’m sure there would be many more such examples. The difficulty with the examples mentioned of course is that they are far more difficult to measure, but probably exceed the bee’s diaphragm worth of savings due to earth hour.
    Anyway I’m going to celebrate human achievement hour and do my bit get up the noses of the Gaian faithful.

  47. Colin in BC says:

    I celebrate every earth hour the same way:

    1. Turn on every light in the house
    2. Put the oven on self-clean mode
    3. Do some laundry
    4. Take a soak in the outdoor hot tub

  48. Trex says:

    I like to turn on all the lights, and then listen to the Trace Adkins song “Every Light in the House is On” during Earth Hour.

  49. Mike McMillan says:

    248 tonnes. That sounds pretty impressive, doesn’t it

    CO2 is 11/44 carbon, and commercial bituminous should run about 70% carbon, add the phase of the moon and you get around 100 tons of coal, which is a bit over one railroad hopper car saved. Bunch of pikers compared to the savings North Korea makes daily.

  50. Eimear says:

    As I grew up in house with no electricity, I see earth hour as a kick in the face from elitist eco dreamers towards a world where a great many of our fellow humans have no electicity. Shame on them.

  51. dp says:

    Thanks for the heads up. I’ll be sure to test my UPS systems before hand to ensure they will help get me through the post spontaneous conservation surge when everyone turns everything back on. I’m surprised the TSA doesn’t consider this a DDOS attack on the grid.

  52. Mike McMillan says:

    Make that 12/44 carbon. Less radioactive.

  53. Alan S. Blue says:

    DN’s message is worth a full post in its own right.

  54. AndyG55 says:

    Around your area, do the local left newspapers take a helicopter up to show that people are turning off the lights. ;-)

  55. AdolfoGiurfa says:

    Remember? for us WUWT fans, it´s the carbon feast day, a day to prepare the biggest barbecue we can, and to burn all the “fossil” fuels we can. A day of a real pagan celebration to Gaia (We know she likes it!).

  56. Mariwarcwm says:

    Thank you for pointing out that there is such a thing as ‘Earth hour’.

    My lights will be blazing to release some long trapped CO2 molecules to enrich Earth’s atmosphere for the benefit of all plants and creatures.

    Let us hope that the AGW crowd achieve some enlightenment soon.

  57. Bob B says:

    In protest, I turn on every electrical item in the house to celebrate human kinds acheivements

  58. SteveS says:

    WWF? When did the World Wrestling Federation get all weepy and environmental?

    Here in Michigan, we just had a 5 day power outage due to a winter storm. I ain’t turning off the electricity for nothing or nobody, no thanks! Anyone who wants to go live in the 19th century is welcome to it.

  59. Wayne Delbeke says:

    When we worked in Ethiopia, we had “earth hour” at least once a day. Ever wonder why so many buildings in poor countries have big water tanks on the roof? Cause the power and water are often off daily. They live “earth day” every day. And that is why I have a 12 kw automatic gen set plus 4 kw and 1 kw portable units to power up remote equipment around the farm. Without power, I have no lights , refrigeration, heat or water. I could survive without it, but it isn’t about survival in Canada or the US for most people. I like to be able to use the Internet and cook my meals on the electric stove rather than the wood stove (and yes, I have one in the kitchen but I prefer not to have to use it – been there, done that for too long).

    I don’t need earth hour to remind me what it was like living in rural Alberta in the 40’s and 50’s with out power or running water. That’s for hiking and vacations now.

    Maybe we need to send our children out into the bush for a couple of months in the summer without electricity and running water and “toilet” facilities so they can appreciate what they have. They could have “earth summers” making hiking paths or planting trees. (Actually my kids did that and I am not sure it helped.)

    I will go unplug my trough heater as there is water running through it from the spring and it won’t freeze up at this point in the year so that is my 200 watt times the rest of the winter hours contribution.

    I will be thinking of you all at 8:30 while I watch the moon and planets go over my relatively un-light polluted evening sky … just a slight orange glow from the gas plants over the next ridge a few miles away. Then I”ll light the fireplace and be sure my geothermal heating system doesn’t have to use any electricity. ;-) (Oh dang, I forgot about the CO2 from burning the wood …)

  60. SteveS, the wrestlers might be interested in the salary
    Earthhour is actually a company owned by Australian newpaper co Fairfax and eco charities WWF etc. with directors paid AUD$165K taxfree
    ..make sure you put some more money in the donation buckets

  61. Robert of Ottawa says:

    Earth hour has no practical raison d’etre but it has an important social one.

    It is the warmista, greenie, religion version of denial, such as Christian Lent or muslim eid. It provides a common focus in time and action for all believers. They all share the pain together.

    I, like some anti-Whale, shall burn, baby, burn!

  62. Goldie says:

    To be completely realistic here for a moment – Australia, East or West draws the majority of its load from large base load coal fired power stations or large gas fired power stations. The former take a matter of days or even weeks to shut down and start up and the latter certainly take many hours. The only rapid response generation plants are the gas turbine peaker plants that are for peak periods only. Which of course is not when Earth Hour occurs. Therefore if Earth hour were to cause an overload of the grid then the only option for generators is to slow the turbines as much as possible, which is terribly inefficient or bypass the steam for an hour. Net saving Zero.

    The educational benefit of earth hour is purely dependent on what one thinks one is educating the hoi poloi about.

  63. Squidly says:

    Oh goody! … I love Earth Day. It is the only day that my wife will let me to turn on all our TV’s, lights and appliances at one time! It is quite a grand celebration!

    Also hoping to take a cruise past Al Gore’s house this year to see what he does this time (leaving all of my TV’s, lights and appliances on while I am gone of course).

  64. GeoLurking says:

    A Lovell [March 10, 2012 at 1:11 pm]

    “Every year at this time I re-read the predictions made on Earth Day 1970, and have a bit of a giggle. They’re quite fun to bring up whenever one encounters a true believer.”

    Heh… that has some gems.

    I like this one:

    “By the year 2000, if present trends continue, we will be using up crude oil at such a rate…that there won’t be any more crude oil. You’ll drive up to the pump and say, `Fill ‘er up, buddy,’ and he’ll say, `I am very sorry, there isn’t any.’”

    Kenneth Watt, Ecologist

    According to http://www.eia.gov, in 1975 the daily production of crude oil (world wide) was 61,123,000 bbl/day. In 2009, it was 84,389,000 bbl/day. (that specific spread sheet stops at 2009)

  65. View from the Solent says:

    Alan S. Blue says:
    March 10, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    DN’s message is worth a full post in its own right.
    ==================================================
    Indeed

  66. Very good!
    Thanks Russ.

  67. Wade says:

    March 31 is the Final Four. (http://www.finalfour.net) At 8:30 p.m., I will be watching basketball. If they are going to pull a stunt like this, at least put it on a day where nothing special is going on.

  68. Jessie says:

    Charles Brecknell says: March 10, 2012 at 12:45 pm

    Yes,

    All donations from your proposed event can go to providing a laptop to each child in X community. These children will be able to access reading, writing and maths. And children in other environments.

    They will be able to do this in the absence of teachers, a school, absence of electricity and after they have finished goat herding, hoeing the [pitiful] paddock, and trudging kilometres in unsafe areas with a clay vessel or a piece of twine to haul water or cooking fuel loads back to their miserable smokey abodes. After they have repowered their laptop during the day and fed their aging husband and his other aging wives. And their families, they will have a meagre screen light emitted, where they can know what it is to be a child, with a future, once again.

    There is no mistaking what it is and for whom it is intended.
    http://one.laptop.org/about/hardware
    source: http://one.laptop.org/

    African Grain Handout 1973 (abstract interested in discussing fashion!)
    http://www.britishpathe.com/video/african-grain-hand-out/query/costumes

  69. Eve says:

    Hey Disko Troop, I am not in Canada at the moment so I can do the earth months. I just want to get some of the warmists to do it with me.
    I can do next January without fossil fuel in Canada also because I won’t be there. But I am not inviting Al Gore to my house in the Bahamas. I will invite him to my house in Canada.
    My use of fossil fuel is much less here. Don’t have heat and don’t need it. Have ceiling fans, not air. Two lights on at present, a computer and the fridge. During the day, no lights on, sometimes the computer and ceiling fan and always the fridge.
    Funny how much easier it is too use less power in a warmer climate.

    PS. Electricity is cheaper in the Bahamas than Ontario and so is just about everything else.

  70. Katherine says:

    I second the motion for DN’s comment on March 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm to be elevated to a separate post. It’s well worth the read.

  71. Jessie says:

    View from the Solent says: March 10, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Having just caught up and read (somewhat) 2 weeks of WUWT I would say also, with apologies to DN @ 1.22pm as I had not read his excellent post at the time I posted, this also
    = an article of worth as link 1 + link 2 below.

    1. Earth hour has no practical raison d’etre but it has an important social one.
    (Robert of Ottowa http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/10/earth-hour-is-it-worth-the-effort/#comment-918873 )

    +

    2. The cartoon is correct – score it 9 out of 9.
    Wind power – It doesn’t just blow – It sucks!

    Alan MacRae http://wattsupwiththat.com/2012/03/10/saturday-silliness-joshs-wind-energy-fact-sheet-global-wind-power-to-the-nearest-whole-number/#comment-918548

  72. Jer0me says:

    I remember when traveling in India 20-odd years ago, someone asked me if it was true that in England we had electicity all day every day. When I confirmed that this was true, they looked at me in astonishment. Then they claimed I was lying.

    I think everybody who wants to participate in this nonsense should spend a month the way those people did, and many still do. They had electricity in the mornings and evening for a limited time, mostly. Even in larger towns and cities where you had electricity all day & night, it would go off three or four times a day for up to an hour.

  73. Jesse says:

    I live in very rural SW Pennsylvania (USA). My power company tends to drop electric service for varying periods of time every week or so. I’m sure it’s not intentional, but by now I have probably paid my “carbon dues” for several years.

  74. If you look at it another way, the switch to DST has the same effect – once per year. The “spring forward” would save the same amount of CO2 as the “earth hour” does (that 248 metric tons). Of course, the “fall back” ADDS that much CO2 (248 metric tons) to the earth, leveling it out.

    One more thing – how many of you enjoyed your every-four-years Leap Day? Using his calculations, that “extra day” added 5,952 metric tons (248 x 24) of CO2 to the earth. You’ll need 24 annual “earth days” to get rid of that amount.

    Add THAT to his “…so it would require a little more than 28 years of sitting in the dark to make good on a single year’s emissions reduction target…”, and you’re beginning to see just how ineffective the effort is.

    When people ask you if you participated in “earth hour”, tell them you already give to the cause by skipping an entire hour on March 11, 2012 (setting your clocks from 1AM to 2AM).

  75. Ron Sinclair says:

    When I saw Ontario, I smiled, as I am also in Ontario. Last year when Earth hour night came, I grumbled and said “no way” was I turning off the lights just to feel good. Shortly after, my wife stepped outside and looked up and down the street. She came back in and said – turn off the lights – all the neighbors have, and I don’t want to be embarrased!
    Oh well! Another confirmation of the herding instinct.
    Ron

  76. On Saturday, March 31st at 8.30pm I’ll be yawning.

  77. Luther Wu says:

    Need to bring all of those 500 watt halogen light stands from the shop and fire ‘em up on the front lawn.
    Take that greenie dip$4!+$.

  78. Paul Hogan says:

    Only simpletons would turn their lights off on the order of friends of the earth and the likes. How dumb the vast majority of people are, no wonder they are so easily led, just like sheep. So sad.

  79. Arno Arrak says:

    Russ Rodrigues: “But details like this aren’t what Earth Hour is about. It’s about demonstrating our commitment to the planet… about taking a stand on climate change… about promoting environmental consciousness. It’s a symbol of hope for the future.”
    None of the above, I hate to tell you. It is just a warmist propaganda device designed to make you think that reducing carbon emissions is a good thing the world. There is no rational reason for reducing carbon emissions because they do not cause warming as this propaganda tells us. The real science that applies to carbon is the work of Ferenc Miskolczi, a Hungarian scientist who worked at NASA. Using NOAA database of weather balloon observations he was able to demonstrate that the transmittance of the atmosphere in the infrared where carbon dioxide absorbs has been constant for the last 62 years. The amount of carbon dioxide in the air increased by 21.6 percent during this same period. This means that addition of all this carbon dioxide to air had no effect whatsoever on the absorption of IR by the atmosphere. And no absorption means no greenhouse effect, case closed. It follows that IPCC climate models that use the greenhouse effect to predict warming are all dead wrong. And since carbon dioxide does not cause warming doubling it will do nothing either. Which means that the vaunted sensitivity of temperature to doubling of carbon dioxide is exactly zero. It is time to start thinking of how to undo the damage done by numerous legislative acts aimed at reducing carbon emissions that have no rational science to back them up.

  80. Billy says:

    Woodstock Sentinel Review April 26, 2011, page 12 reported;

    Earth day, friday evening, Ontario exported 3,230 Megawatts of wind power for 2 hours to stabilize oversupply. The price was minus $0.09/kwh for the first hour and minus $0.023/kwh for the second hour. Ontario had to pay to export energy due to Earth Day.

    Source IESO , text rewritten for brevity.

  81. Bob Bernstein says:

    My lights will probably be off during earth, but that is because I will be watching a movie on my energy sucking 60 inch plasma TV and surround sound setup. It burns a lot more energy than all of my light bulbs combined.

  82. Interstellar Bill says:

    Just say when and I’ll turn ON both giant TVs & surround sounds, all five of my computers, my refrigerator & freezer on max, the air conditioner at the same time as the fireplace heater, both showers, the dishwasher, the electric oven, all the lights, and the pool pump with heater on max.

    Maybe it’ll make up for having two hybrids.

  83. Sirius says:

    “Earth Hour – Is it worth the effort?” That’s really a futile and stupid hold stuff. So not again, please!

  84. Gail Combs says:

    sHx says @ March 10, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    As I did last year, this year too I’ll mark Earth Hour by turning on all the lights. We ought to be celebrating this great human invention, not condemning it.
    ____________________________________________
    Agreed. Not only that I will turn the heat up from 50F where I normally keep it to 72F.

    ………….
    An 80% reduction in mankind’s CO2 emissions is being discussed in the EU. Poland was the only government to veto. Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard of the EU’s executive arm wants “…. the roadmap lays out a route towards a long-term aim to reduce the bloc’s carbon emissions by 80 percent by the middle of the century…” http://www.chicagotribune.com/health/sns-rt-us-eu-environmentbre82817a-20120309,0,4020654.story

    This is based on “reducing CO2 output by 80%” being the low end of numbers estimated to “remove” mankind’s footprint of warming according to: http://www.newscientist.com/data/doc/article/mg20427373.400/ce_new_scientist_report.pdf

    SO what does that mean to us common folk?
    The average energy consumption for the USA is 335.9 million BTUs per person. http://www.nuicc.info/?page_id=1467

    In 1800 the USA had a per-capita energy consumption of about 90 million Btu. http://www.bu.edu/pardee/files/2010/11/12-PP-Nov2010.pdf

    If the USA reduces its energy consumption by 80% it equals 45.18 million Btu. per person which is HALF that used back in colonial times. With the current population this could not be done without anarchy. With the exception of the Amish/ Mennonite type communities, none of us are adapted to live completely self sufficiently and even they need metal. Therefore the only way we could reduce our per capita carbon emissions while still having enough energy for anything close to a modern society is Nuclear. Wind Power, Bio-fuels and Solar are never going to be anything more than rich man play toys (Boondoggles), suited to certain niche markets but they are just not reliable 24/7 365 days a year. Heck they CONSUME more energy during manufacture and transport than they actually produce so their Carbon foot print is hardly zero.

    Bio-fuel: http://stopogm.net/sites/stopogm.net/files/foodvsbiofuelspimentel.pdf
    Solar: http://www.newton.dep.anl.gov/askasci/eng99/eng99553.htm
    Wind power: http://www.windpowerfraud.com/

  85. dannyboy says:

    I will turn on extra lights in remembrance of all those who do not enjoy the easy availability of electricity.

    The WWF can go fly a kite in a lightning storm.

  86. As V. Martin has already indicated, there appears to be an unfortunate coincidence of times with Human Achievement Hour. This is the 1 hour/year where I stress test my homes electrical system by turning on every appliance and light that is connected to the electrical system. Considering that I have 200 A coming into my house, in theory I should be able to use close to 200 Kwh over this 1 hour period. Haven’t come close yet and think I used about 30 Kwh during the last Human Achievement Hour.

    In terms of choice of lighting, I have 1 W LED’s outside which provide a surprising amount of light and are on all the time. Haven’t gotten around to trying higher wattage LED lights as Kamloops power is rather dirty (lost 2 computer power supplies due to transients in the last 6 months) and the cost of UPS systems for power conditioning is a lot more than the cost of buying incandescent bulbs which I stocked up on over the last few years. Heat from incandescent bulbs is welcome in this climate in the winter.

    Turning off streetlights periodically to facilitate astronomic observation is an excellent idea that I would be in favor of. I do have one spot in my house where there is a deck that I light with a 1 W red LED that provides a view of a truly dark section of sky but it would be so nice to be able to see the full sky with dark adapted eyes. Perhaps the solution is to replace all street lights with high-power red LED’s which wouldn’t affect visual dark adaptation and would allow for people to view the night sky better within cities.

  87. wermet says:

    I propose that we make Earth Hour tonight (12 March 2012) between the hours of 2:00AM and 3:00AM! It will probably have about the same impact on the world as the previously scheduled date and time, i.e. none.
    .
    .
    .
    [For those not paying attention or in non-daylight savings areas, this is the hour that is "skipped" over when US daylight savings time starts!]

  88. Billy says:

    Boris Gimbarzevsky says:
    March 10, 2012 at 9:01 pm

    As V. Martin has already indicated, there appears to be an unfortunate coincidence of times with Human Achievement Hour. This is the 1 hour/year where I stress test my homes electrical system by turning on every appliance and light that is connected to the electrical system. Considering that I have 200 A coming into my house, in theory I should be able to use close to 200 Kwh over this 1 hour period. Haven’t come close yet and think I used about 30 Kwh during the last Human Achievement Hour.

    Boris, your 200A service can only supply 80% of rated ampacity continuously. (CEC 8-104).
    160A X 240V = 38,400W = 38.4kw at unity power factor. Inductive loads would reduce it more.
    Electricity is rigidly defined by ohms law and mathematics.

  89. wermet says:

    I will also *not* be turning off my lights for this “feel good”, “do nothing” event. And no one, not even the power company, can make me change my mind! I have many of my lights (and all computers) on UPS’s! Yeah battery backups! :)

  90. Cassandra King says:

    You know, its heartbreaking to think of the hundreds of millions of human beings who have no electricity, of the hundreds of thousands of poor elderly who are unable to afford the massively increased energy bills. These self obsessed green idiots pimping their earth hour do not stop to think of the consequences of their actions, more importantly they are not being challenged. People are dying because they can no longer afford energy bills inflated by the policies the greens have peddled. Chickens have a habit of coming home to roost, these utterly foolish greens have yet to realise the reality.

    Cheap and reliable electricity to the masses is a great and noble thing, there is nothing bad about the concept whatsoever, we should not feel guilty about the miracle of electricity. Rather we should celebrate this wonderful gift, at the appointed hour I urge everyone to turn on every light and appliance you own. All ecofascism can offer darkness and poverty and cold and ignorance, they wallow in their feelings of moral superiority but most have no conception of the indignities of poverty, of the awful conditions of the poorest in this world and it is the poorest who are suffering most on the alter of their ridiculous cult.

    There are millions in the 3rd world who would love to have lights to turn out, there are millions of poor elderly who would love to be able to switch on a heater in winter. Most greenies are middle class guilt ridden and gullible looking for a cause, most have no idea what its like to be cold and hungry and poor. These foolish people need to be shown the door before they drag us into a new dark age, they need to see the consequences of their actions.

  91. HaroldW says:

    Always worth revisiting Ross McKitrick’s excellent thoughts on Earth Hour:
    http://www.rossmckitrick.com/uploads/4/8/0/8/4808045/earthhour.pdf

  92. Curt says:

    The more energy I’m using the better I sleep at night. Especially if it’s from oil, coal, or nuclear sources.

  93. wayne Job says:

    This year although I have run out of tractor and truck tyres to burn on my bonfire, but I shall still have a blaze that can be seen from space. I shall ensure that my factory and dwelling is fully awake and burning around 100KWs for the hour, negating anyones attempt for miles around to drop the load on our coal fired power station. The 200 litres of used sump oil should ensure that the bonfire blazes brightly.

  94. earthling12E says:

    I’d be more inclined to turn all my lights on for that hour, because for as long as I’ve lived, which is just over 71 years, I’ve never ever left “non-essential lights” switched on intentionally.

  95. Hannu says:

    For years I have now heated up my electric sauna during the earth hour. 6kW stove, heated up for an hour, uses about as much electricity as all the people turning their lights off in my part of town save during that hour.

    Warm sauna, cold beer, annoy the greenies. Can it get any better?

  96. Corky Boyd says:

    Now if you shut down all the subways in NYC and DC, Amtrak’s northeast corridor, all printing presses for Sunday’s papers, all the street lights, all the traffic lights, all the TV and radio stations, all the charging stations for EVs and all the lights of Las Vegas you might make an impact for that single hour.

    But most of that usage would simply be delayed to later hours and you won’t see TV stations shutting down in prime time.

  97. Chris Wright says:

    How appropriate that the destruction of common sense and the corruption of science should be celebrated by making the lights go off. Unless this anti-science madness can be stopped then the lights really will go off all across the world.
    I’ll be celebrating Earth Hour by putting all my lights on. I’ll be celebrating light, warmth, the fight against disease, human progress, the integrity of true science, and the vast contributions to human wellbeing from fossil fuels.
    Chris

  98. H.R. says:

    @wermet says:
    March 10, 2012 at 9:12 pm
    I propose that we make Earth Hour tonight (12 March 2012) between the hours of 2:00AM and 3:00AM! It will probably have about the same impact on the world as the previously scheduled date and time, i.e. none.
    .
    .
    .
    [For those not paying attention or in non-daylight savings areas, this is the hour that is "skipped" over when US daylight savings time starts!]

    Hey! That’s exactly the hour I used to celebrate Earth Hour ;o)

    (Clever and funny, wermet. Nice.)

  99. Blade says:

    SasjaL [March 10, 2012 at 1:19 pm] says:

    ““Earth Hour” is just an idiot indicator, to see how strong the general belief is and the possible extent they can encourage mandatory expenses and taxes …

    It has been said before and needs to be said again: You are encouraged to turn off the light, the symbol of life, hope and existence … Figure it out for yourself!

    All the AGW movements in the United States should register as ecclesial organizations.”

    You nailed it! Agree with every word.

    idiot indicator … consider that stolen. :-)

  100. Richard S Courtney says:

    I also think everybody would benefit from reading all of the excellent post by DN at March 10, 2012 at 1:22 pm

    And the post by Cassandra King at March 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm deserves a read, too.

    Richard

  101. Gail Combs says:

    Squidly says:
    March 10, 2012 at 3:43 pm

    Oh goody! … I love Earth Day. It is the only day that my wife will let me to turn on all our TV’s, lights and appliances at one time! It is quite a grand celebration!

    Also hoping to take a cruise past Al Gore’s house this year to see what he does this time (leaving all of my TV’s, lights and appliances on while I am gone of course).
    _____________________________________________________

    Please report back with pictures if possible.

  102. Gail Combs says:

    Cassandra King says:
    March 10, 2012 at 10:09 pm

    You know, its heartbreaking to think of the hundreds of millions of human beings who have no electricity, of the hundreds of thousands of poor elderly who are unable to afford the massively increased energy bills. These self obsessed green idiots pimping their earth hour do not stop to think of the consequences of their actions, more importantly they are not being challenged. People are dying because they can no longer afford energy bills inflated by the policies the greens have peddled…..
    ______________________________

    Unfortunately Cassandra, they are well aware of the consequences and are very happy with it because they hate the human race and want a substantial portion of it to die off.

    In 1988, Britain’s Prince Philip expressed the wish that, should he be reincarnated, he would want to be a deadly virus that would reduce world population….

    You then have Malthusians Margaret Mead, John Holdren (present US science Czar) the Erlichman’s…. http://inthesenewtimes.com/2009/11/29/1975-endangered-atmosphere-conference-where-the-global-warming-hoax-was-born/

    Thanks to one socialist and a co-founder of the Fabian Society who was a bit of a blabber mouth we have a glimpse of “Socialism” divested of its warm fuzzy sheepskin. (Also checkout the London school of Economics, Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and “The Third Way”)

    [ex] [b]SOCIALISM[/b]
    “Under Socialism, you would not be allowed to be poor. You would be forcibly fed, clothed, lodged, taught, and employed whether you liked it or not. If it were discovered that you had not character and industry enough to be worth all this trouble, you might possibly be executed in a kindly manner; but whilst you were permitted to live, you would have to live well.

    George Bernard Shaw: The Intelligent Woman’s Guide to Socialism and Capitalism, 1928, pg. 470

    EXTERMINATION OF THE “SOCIALLY INCOMPATIBLE”

    “The notion that persons should be safe from extermination as long as they do not commit willful murder, or levy war against the Crown, or kidnap, or throw vitriol, is not only to limit social responsibility unnecessarily, and to privilege the large range of intolerable misconduct that lies outside them, but to divert attention from the essential justification for extermination, which is always incorrigible social incompatibility and nothing else.

    [b]KILLING THOSE “UNFIT TO LIVE”[/b]

    “The moment we face it frankly we are driven to the conclusion that the community has a right to put a price on the right to live in it … If people are fit to live, let them live under decent human conditions. If they are not fit to live, kill them in a decent human way. Is it any wonder that some of us are driven to prescribe the lethal chamber as the solution for the hard cases which are at present made the excuse for dragging all the other cases down to their level, and the only solution that will create a sense of full social responsibility in modern populations?”

    Source: George Bernard Shaw, Prefaces (London: Constable and Co., 1934), p. 296.
    Source: George Bernard Shaw, “On the Rocks” (1933), Preface.
    FROM: http://www.sovereignindependent.com/?p=7948

    So much for helping your fellow man. Sounds more like a desire to keep the cattle (chattel) healthy to me but then isn’t that what PETA does, demote people to the level of cattle?

  103. I served my involuntary “earth hours” and days, and at times weeks in Eastern Europe as the inept and corrupt regimes were crapping out. Every light will be blazing in our house for sure, just to stick it to the greenie busybodies in our neighbourhood who a couple of years ago knocked on doors to remind people to “do their part” fo Mommy Earth. (Anyone know how much energy tasers use? Just kidding!)

    And thanks for the advice to get high-energy stuff done at that time (baking and catching up on some work with my DeWalt table saw). Forgot that we need to “offset” the WWF marketing shtik.

  104. d says:

    Im with wwschmit i usiually turn on all lights and appliances in my house during earth hour.

  105. It just occured to me, that those of you who have Christmas lights, and I’ve seen some spectacular stuff out there, might want to keep them strung up until the Earth Hour date to spark them up and to send a clearer message than houselights can. Perhaps some of the holiday symbols can ve reshaped to form a “HAH” (Human Accomplishment Hour).

  106. AdolfoGiurfa says:

    We´ll know then, for sure, that in every house with the lights off, lives an idiot.

  107. V Martin says:

    Anyone here want to take me up on a bet that with homes equipped with ‘smart meters’, they won’t be tracking who turned down and who turned up the electrical use during Science and Engineering Achievement Hour? In the near police state in which we live, you just might hear that knock on the door in the ensuing days and weeks ahead. The potential for that alone will make this a very worthwhile experiment….

  108. peter dublin says:

    Turning off the lights at 8.30 pm: Good one about the candle CO2!

    But
    Hardly any coal or coal derived CO2 saved generally
    Ontario = no real savings at all!

    The statement
    “According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), non-baseload electricity emits an average of 690 g of CO2 per kWh into the atmosphere”
    is misleading:

    Firstly 8.30pm is off -peak
    Ontario: “Time-of-Use off-peak period for electricity from 7 p.m. on weekdays.” (ontario.ca/energy)
    The quicker firing gas and hydro etc turbines are mainly on 5-7pm
    So we are talking about base load electricity.
    Ontario = The government’s plan to eliminate coal-fired power by the end of 2014
    Since 2003, Ontario has shut down 10 of 19 coal units.
    The latest 2007 figure I found was 20% coal use, but given shutdown of units since it’s likely less. Nuclear/hydro are the overwhelming Ontario alternatives – without the CO2 emissions

    That’s not all.
    Also outside Ontario, coal plants are by far the main emission “culprit” (2x equivalent gas or oil fired).
    But there is a fundamental misunderstanding about Coal Plants
    As slow cheap base loading electricity generators they are hardly turned down at night.
    So much lighting effectively burns no coal that would not be burned ANYWAY.
    Even at peak hours around 5-7pm quicker supplementing gas or hydro turbines involve less emissions.
    This is on top of the already small grid electricity demand, i.e. less than 1% grid electricity savings from lighting switchovers from US Dept of Energy own stats and surveys, referenced http://ceolas.net/#li171x, also with some Canadian and other data.
    .

  109. clipe says:

    Found the Mauritius article via http://dailybayonet.com/

    “Mauritius is to celebrate Earth Hour, but seems unclear on the concept.”

  110. Another thought about “earth hour” – I also did my part after Hurricane Katrina.

    My house used NO electricity for an entire month, and kept 178,560 metric tons of CO2 (248 x 24 x 30) from getting into the air. That one act of nature had the same effect as me observing the next 720 earth hours.

    So I’m caught up till the year 2732. Get back with me then.

  111. Brian H says:

    Eve Stevens says:
    March 10, 2012 at 12:56 pm

    I will certainly help. For the whole month of March and April, I will not turn on a light, my computer, my hot water heater, the stove and microwave, coffee maker, washer and dryer, the TV and the thermostat is set at 12 C. Guess I should post this on an AGW site and challenge someone to surpass my efforts.

    Too late. It’s the 10th of March already, and your computer is obviously on. Liar.

  112. Maureen S says:

    As for every earth hour I have been aware of, my family will make a huge effort to have every light in the house on, I will run my dishwasher, washing machine, keep the hot tub hot, turn on the the patio lights, keep the barn lights on, continue heating my house and of course as normal for any evening have 6 or so computers running. Oh, yeah and something on tv.

    I believe that the increase in CO2 in our atmosphere is a positive thing. I actually wish the earth was warming because my property would be worth a fortune, but I have read a lot and I don’t think it is. And btw, my cows are happily contributing to the increase of greenhouse gases, just in case it can give them a warmer winter……

  113. ozspeaksup says:

    robmcn says:
    March 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    No more wimpy Earth Hour, instead how about a Big Brother Earth Month?

    Where the world’s greatest environmentalists get to spend 12 weeks in a house where any function or food that depends on fossil fuel is not allowed. Think, no running water, no commercial foods, no electronic communications, everything replaced with green revolution technology like with wind up torches, well water, home grown veggies. It really is about time environuts showed the rest of us how it is done.
    ==========================================
    Excellent idea!!!
    now how many of us need to send this suggestion to the makers of those dud shows to get them to bite on it?
    damn it would be FUN!!! I,d even go to someones home that Has a TV to watch the fights:-)

  114. Gail Combs says:

    robmcn says:
    March 10, 2012 at 1:12 pm

    No more wimpy Earth Hour, instead how about a Big Brother Earth Month? …. It really is about time environuts showed the rest of us how it is done.
    ______________________________________
    The demonstration should be done in Siberia in the month of January. After all they keep telling us that “Snow” will be a thing of the past…..

  115. Be Green says:

    I believe it’s meant to be a symbolic gesture acknowledging the need for each of us to do our part in saving energy.

  116. Alan Watt says:

    I appreciate the silliness of Earth Hour as much as anyone, but I don’t think consuming extra electricity just for spite is the best response. I intend to spend “Human Achievement Hour” with an adult beverage, in the comfort of my home, doing research on one of the thousands of inventors and inventions which have paved our path from energy subsistence pre-1800 to the abundance we enjoy today. I don’t care whether people turn off their lights or not, as long as they are properly grateful lights will come back on when they want them.

  117. Eve says:

    To Brian H, I am not in Canada. But my house in Canada is using enough electricity only to power the refridgerator and to keep the house at 12C. I checked my usage, about 7 kw a day.

  118. Matt in Houston says:

    Every light in my house will be lit. As they were last year and the year before. A beacon against the work of fools and tyrants. And it will only cost me about a dollar. Small price.

  119. jonathan frodsham says:

    I live in Vietnam, the power is always going off, and on, and off and on. So I guess Vietnam is doing their bit to save the planet.

  120. LarryLix says:

    This “Earth Hour” lights shut off is a dangerous game for people to play. The main purpose for the IESO, costing us $billions each year, is to predict the electrical load for each day, in order to adjust the amount of nuclear generation required each day. If they underestimate it, coal and dirty sources are fired up for short term generation, once the Hydro generation schemes are saturated. If this Earth Hour nonsense ever actually became significant the system could end up using dirtier sources for our electrical needs. The alternative is we buy energy, on an emergency basis, from another time zone province or the coal burning Ohio generators that love to pollute us downwind suckers in Ontario.
    If you love acid rain and higher prices from your meterjust keep this uneducated nonsense from the tree huggers.

  121.  lighthouse says:

    Why effectively the same Coal gets burned at night regardless of whether your lights are on or off:
    http://dunday.com/p/deception-behind-banning-light-bulbs.html#coal

    As seen and referenced, it is just one of the many false arguments behind banning simple cheap incandescent light bulbs

  122. jerome says:

    How grandiose it is of humans to believe that we control the climate!
    We can barely predict local weather let alone predict what the climate will be like in the
    coming years.
    The real issues of pollution and the destruction of wild life and their habitats is perhaps not as glamorous or catchy as Climate change but they are something we can actually do something about.

  123. Parmarth says:

    While the earth hour may save something for the environment, our utilities will be challenged to make it work.
    http://www.infosysblogs.com/sap/2012/03/earth_hour_good_for_the_enviro.html

  124. Jack says:

    What a waist of time – turning off a couple light globes for an hour, what’s that going to achieve, Same with exchanging globes with CFL or those led lights, waist of time, you want to save a bit of electricity you should exchange out heat element type units like bar heaters or oil column heaters, or spa heaters, or electric hot water tanks, heat pumps are good, http://www.dux.com.au/products/1&9gtype=search&9gkw=heat%20pumps&9gad=18395353295.1?gclid=CKiU1avxoa8CFQyJpAodH06KZg this – http://www.solarspaheating.com.au/ it’s diy and it’ll have the best payback time of any energy saving idea.

  125. Brian H says:

    What a waist of time – turning off a couple light globes for an hour, what’s that going to achieve, Same with exchanging globes with CFL or those led lights, waist of time,

    Would those be the places where time folds over? But I won’t waste any more brain cells on trying to imagine how time can have a waist.
    >:p

    The point of Earth Hour is purely symbolic; any practical benefits are trivial and irrelevant. Of course, so are the symbolic ones.

  126. Jack says:

    Yeah, I get the symbolic thing, but they make it out as it got some kind of real benefit, and it makes people think that turning off a light globe is going to save energy – rubbish, you just do the numbers 60W bulb vs for example a 3KW bar heating element, but I guess cold shower Earth day wouldn’t go down to well huh?

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