Scientists warn Christmas lights harm the planet

From the “bah humbug department”. I have nothing against energy efficiency, I have LED’s myself and I didn’t even put them up this year. But, timing is everything, and people already stress out during holidays. Adding a guilt trip over Christmas lights hardly seems necessary or productive. – Anthony

Find the Christmas lights in this image

Find the Christmas lights in this image

From Australia’s Courier Mail

By Graham Readfearn

December 24, 2008 08:06am

SCIENTISTS have warned that Christmas lights are bad for the planet due to huge electricity waste and urged people to get energy efficient festive bulbs.

CSIRO researchers said householders should know that each bulb turned on in the name of Christmas will increase emissions of greenhouse gases.

Dr Glenn Platt, who leads research on energy demand, said Australia got 80 per cent of its electricity by burning coal which pumps harmful emissions into the atmosphere.

He said: “Energy efficient bulbs, such as LEDs, and putting your Christmas lights on a timer are two very easy ways to minimise the amount of electricity you use to power your lights.”

He said the nation’s electricity came from “centralised carbon intensive, coal-based power stations” which were responsible for emitting over one third of Australia’s greenhouse gas emissions.

Dr Platt added: “For a zero-emission Christmas light show, you may consider using solar powered lights or sourcing your electricity from verified green power suppliers.”


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Solar-powered C hristmas lights – that only work during daylight hours. That should make for an impressive light show. Don’t these people ever get tired of guilt-trips?


Sigh………I guess methane-spewing Reindeer wil be banned from pulling Santa’s sleigh next. In the end – we are not supposed to use anything to light or warm ourselves, just huddle and blink at the stars wondering what the bright lights in the heavens might be. The shame of these people knows no bounds……..


In whose lifetime will this madness end?

Graeme Rodaughan

Interesting to note that the lights track very closely to development, average prosperity, and probably human longevity…
I.e not too many lights on in Zimbabwe…
Hang on a second – isn’t that also correlated to CO2 production…
And we are being told to shut CO2 down.
Personally all those lights are a beautiful sight.

Well, as W. C. Fields once said: “Give him an evasive answer…”


I use nothing but hybrid reindeer and green Christmas trees.


I put those 4.8W LED strings on my tree this year. All told maybe 12 strings for 50 or so Watts .. my TV draws more than that .. practically anything else in my house draws more than that.

Steve Keohane

What happens to the Pacific and Alaska at night? Things must be worse than we thought! Merry Christmas all, may the GW not get too deep, stay warm and safe.


WTF?! It snowed before I could get my Christmas lights up! lol!
Now if I had got those energy efficient festive bulbs none of this would of happened, curses, I’ve spoiled christmas. 🙁
Oh but on the bright side(hehehohoho), I hear a polar bear was doing his green part and ate one of those pesky CO2 producers, snowmobile and all.
( I heard it tasted a lot like Ribbon seal with a slight hint of Anwar! :p)
All the best to you on this merry global catastrophe and have a happy warming new years! 🙂

Leon Brozyna

We have found Scrooge and he is on a green crusade.
Bah! Humbug!

John Laidlaw

“verified green power suppliers”… they’ll give you a really good deal. Not.
How about we take the five billion or so in grant money that’s been given to researchers who are desperately trying to prove the “un-debatable” (although frankly shoddy and shaky) alleged science of anthropogenic global warming, and hand it over to real scientists to research nuclear fusion? Whilst they’re getting some real answers to the thorny problem of sustainable energy, the rest of us can lay in supplies in case(?!) the weather/climate continues to turn cold and nasty. Just a thought. Probably not the most popular of ideas…
Here’s another thought: when nuclear fusion is a reality (which it surely will be one day), we can turn on our ultra-efficient LED Christmas lights, sit around the fire whilst the cold winter winds blow around our superbly-insulated houses, and reminisce about the days when so many megawatts of energy were wasted arguing with the AGW zealots. Pass the eggnogg!


“SCIENTISTS have warned that Christmas lights are bad for the planet due to huge electricity waste and urged people to get energy efficient festive bulbs.”
…and they want us to use plug-in electric cars…?
Must be grant application time again.

Oh give me a break. There are a lot more Kwh to be conserved by dealing with excessive outdoor lighting, especially all the light wasted that shines upward. Given the typical ground albedo (about 19%), much of the light in your photo above is from light nighttime lighting that lights the sky, not the ground. The grinches at CSIRO are barking up the wrong tree.

And how about this one from the Australian ABC:
Festive feasts ‘contributing to climage change’
Leftover food rotting in landfill sites will add to greenhouse gases…
So after you’ve turned your Christmas tree lights off, you can sit in the dark and eat a Mars bar instead. Yep, we sure know how to enjoy ourselves Down Under!
Best wishes to WUWT for a well-lit and well-fed Christmas.
Simon from Sydney
Australian Climate Madness

Jim B Canada

Quick point the picture you are showing is GREATLY ENHANCED picture. In reality from that distance NONE of the lights shown would be visible.
Another giant leap in exaggeration, but just a small propaganda step for NASA.


Perhaps we could have christmas lights powered by wind farms. OOPs that would only be 20% of the time and who knows when.
Pipers Creek Australia


Enhanced? Nah! Didn’t you know the ocean was filled with bioluminescent plankton? Look at that ocean glow! This must be our fault somehow.


Jim B Canada (00:01:08) :
Not only is the photo highly enhanced, it also indicates the sun appears to have gone out completely.
So it definitley can’t be a factor in global warming.
Another NASA first!

Les Francis

The Australian CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific Research Organisation) was once a very well respected Government financed institution.
The finance has been gradually reduced for years and years, During the funding reducing periods many employees and researchers were fearful of their livelihood.
And then came AGW and a new lease of life.
There are some very committed researchers and scientists at the CSIRO – and you can take that to mean ambiguity
This poster must disclose that he has done contractual work for the CSIRO in the past (administrative and facility works and not scientific)

Les Francis (01:21:15) “The Australian CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific Research Organisation) was once a very well respected Government financed institution….”
Well respected, and a source of pride and inspirtation to many generations of we Australians.
Now, this story… Aargh… it brings me feelings only of anger and shame.

Freezing Finn

Forgive me father for I’ve sinned…
Anyways – to compensate the “unnecessary” CO2 I’m causing during X-mas, I’ve decided to hold my breath occasionally, sing as well as fart less during the holidays – I hope that’ll do…
And if not – well, I guess I’ll just burn in the hell fire of global “warming” then…

David L. Hagen

We need first to care for the poor, not pad the pockets of demagogues. Carbon dioxide is essential for plant growth. The increase in CO2 from burning fossil fuels will strongly help developing countries grow the enough food for their growing populations. Global temperatures have been declining for the last decade even while CO2 rises. Annual days without sunspots are the second highest since 1900, suggestion decades of colder weather. More people die from cold than from heat. So with the shepherds, lets celebrate Christmas.


This is way OT, but will likely get a thread:
Bet this one has legs.


As Darell Huff once said, “A difference is only a difference when it makes a difference”. I wish people would remember that.

Freezing Finn
How inconvenient – wasn’t Al Gore Sr. a “coal-igarch” as well as from Tennesse?


Here in the UK, East Sussex council has banned fairy lights that haven’t been approved as a “Fire Risk”……guess who for?
The Fire Service!!
Slightly off topic: on top of this the council has banned comfy chairs in the recreation room and the snooker table the firemen use in their downtime “because if makes them look unprofessional”.
If even that isn’t enough for the poor firemen to cope with, the EUSSR is insisting that the UK complies with the 48 hour a week Working Time Directive (Law). This will hit the UK’s retained fire servce that is made up of paid volunteers that give up their time off from their usual full time jobs to support the full time Fire Service. By the time they’ve done their training they may only have 2 hours left per week as the backup team.
So if you have a fire this winter, don’t expect the Fire Service to come and put it out….guess that means more noxious gases from burning furniture, exploding gas appliances etc to add to GW. No doubt they’ll include that now in their AGW figures. Maybe that should be called the EU Global Warming scam caused by their mad Directives!

Freezing Finn

The Kingston incident just the “tip of an iceberg” – and there’s more to come?
From LPAC:
Dec 23, 2008 –Communities nationwide have repaired fewer than half of the 122 levees identified by the Federal government almost two years ago as too poorly maintained to be reliable in major floods, according to Army Corps of Engineers data.
State and local governments were given a year to fix levees cited by the Corps for “unacceptable” maintenance deficiencies in a February 2007 review that was part of a post-Hurricane Katrina review. Only 45 have had necessary repairs, according to data provided in response to a request by USA Today published today. The remaining unrepaired levees are spread across 18 states and Puerto Rico, most in California and Washington.
As if cued to underscore the problem, an earthen dam holding back a retention pond broke early today at a power plant run by the nation’s largest public utility, releasing a frigid mix of water, ash and mud that damaged 12 homes, buried a road and railroad tracks leading to the plant, and put hundreds of acres of rural land under water. The 40-acre pond was used by the Tennessee Valley Authority to hold a slurry of ash generated by the coal-burning Kingston Steam Plant in Harriman, about 50 miles west of Knoxville, said TVA spokesman Gil Francis.

Brian Johnson

Maybe Christmas lights should be powered only by Eco wind generated power?
Be pretty dim here in Farnham, Surrey, UK as there isn’t even a breeze.

Richard Sharpe

Roger Carr says:

Now, this story… Aargh… it brings me feelings only of anger and shame.

Hang on, I thought that only KRudd could make one feel ashamed of being Australian.


Perhaps each new generation of environmentalists need a fresh cause, and when the limits of what is achievable become apparent, they move onto a new one: pollution, nuclear radiation, the rainforests, ozone, and now, CO2.
CO2 is great because it affects everything. It is the meta-cause that can spawn any number of causes. Christmas lights? CO2. Air travel? CO2. Cars? CO2. Beef? CO2. Greed? CO2.
We’ll start to get into more sensitive subjects. Are you obsese? Feel guilty about your carbon footprint.
I’m waiting for a science study that shows people with higher testosterone levels have a higher carbon footprint lifestyle, and that it is more eco-friendly to be a woman. That should tie in nicely with feminism.

Dan Lee

Looking at this map, the place we should all be emulating is North Korea. It’s that eco-friendly paradise of darkness west of Japan that makes South Korea look like an island. They need to do something about that little blip of light where Pyongyang is, though.


It appears that the Earth IS flat!!!


@Mongo (21:21:26) :
You wrote in part: “Sigh………I guess methane-spewing Reindeer wil be banned from pulling Santa’s sleigh next.”
Didn’t you hear the latest? Santa is going to go to a solar powered sleigh (the very minute they figure out how to get it to run all night on Christmas Eve).

just Cait

grrrrrrrr… the greenies here in Australia are the worst. But for the first time since I’ve been living here, 8 years now, the are showing “It’s a Wonderful Life’ on Christmas day!!
And now it IS Christmas!!
And thank you so much, Anthony, for this wonderful and enLIGHTening blog!
A Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year to you, your family, and all!

james griffin

It pre-supposes that the earth is getting warmer and we are the cause…questionable to say the least.
Latest data (unless your name is Hansen) show plenty of ice in Antartica and plenty in the Arctic…and snao all over Canada.
Skiing good at just about all resorts in Northern Hemisphere.
So put your light on and tell the scientists to “get stuffed”.

Bill Illis

Meanwhile, citizens urged CSIRO to discountinue operation of their global warming supercomputers given the vast energy usage of these supercomputers which causes increases in harmful emissions of greenhouse gases leading to dangerous climate change.


The amount of power used in lighting all of the Christmas lights in the world is trivial compared to overall daily use. If the atmosphere were this sensisitive, we would have long since died. The journalistic offal referenced in this thread offers nothing but an AGW version of ‘bah-humbug’


Australia as a continent is on the edge of the map, blacked out compared to the northern hemisphere. Even if you believe in global warming, our country is still in the dark.

Steven Hill

Turn off everything and the cities would lose money on natural gas sales and need to raise taxes, you can bet on that. It’s turning into madness now, turn off your Christmas lights. I guess they will want to replace Christmas with Green Day or something.

Bruce Cobb

Do these so-called “scientists” have no shame? These peddlers in fear and guilt, particularly at this time of year, and during a time of a worldwide economic crisis rivaling the Great Depression are the lowest of the low. One does not have to be particularly “religious” to see that charity, kindness, and yes, love are eminently desirable, and even essential human qualities. In Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol” and Seus’s “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas”, both Scrooge and the Grinch have revelations and redeem themselves. Will the the AGW zealots and pseudo-scientists such as these ever realize the great harm they have caused, apologize, and redeem themselves? It seems doubtful.

Tom in typically warm Florida

Dr Platt added: “For a zero-emission Christmas light show, you may consider using solar powered lights or sourcing your electricity from verified green power suppliers.”
I wonder if Dr Platt owns any stock in “verified green power suppliers”?

John Egan

You are so evil. Don’t you know that Santa’s workshop is going to fall thru the thin ice at the North Pole if global warming continues unabated? (Not to mention that Santa is overweight because of his junk food diet filled with empty calories) Don’t you know that Arctic ice has been melting for the past two weeks – in mid-December – in the total darkness?

Sean Ogilvie

I wonder what puts out more CO2; printing, distributing and disposing of the Brisbane Courier Mail news paper or the Christmass lights in Brisbane Australia? If the former, the least they can do is stop printing. Everybody has to do their part right?


In the clean, green, PNW we use only renewable hydroelectric power for our Christmas lights.
Oops, forgot, it seems hydro is not clean, green, or renewable in Washington State. It got left off the list when the watermelons mandated what types of power were to be considered sustainable.

Carl P.

Of greater concern to me: What about the heated CO2 emissions of the “CSIRO researchers” ??

North Korea gets special UN kudos for its campaign against running dog capitalist Christmas lights. And all capatilist lights, for that matter.
Have a Merry Global Warming Christmas, everyone!

Bill Marsh

I think what we’re shooting for is a return to the early neolithic, before bronze.


Les Francis (01:21:15) :

The Australian CSIRO (Commonwealth Scientific Research Organisation) was once a very well respected Government financed institution.

As you know, CSIRO spearheaded ground breaking research wrt El Nino and
La Nina oscillations. Their work regarding fish migration and the precipitation outlook for the south eastern Asian region and South American was respected and held in high regard by primary producers of Australia many other countries.
They have now become a pathetic joke who’s agenda is to pander to the pseudo science of the IPCC and the ideologies of environmentalism.
They will earn and deserve nothing but contempt from our rural producers.

David C. Greene

The NASA presentation of the whole world at night brings up two questions: (1) (facetious) Who turned off the sun for the photo? and (2) Were the originals that went into the presentation “photo-shopped” to enhance the effect? Off-topic: isn’t the term “denier” applicable to one who dismisses temperature data from satellites while clinging to the obviously flawed (and manipulated) surface temperature record?

Retired Engineer

Looking at LED Christmas lights in stores, I have not seen any lumen/watt figures on the boxes. Nasty incandescents aren’t all that good, but really efficient LED’s are very expensive.
I have some doubts as to the overall savings. Particularly counting the CO2 emitted during the untangling process.
Won’t matter, in a few years incandescents will be history.
I think the scientists warning us about such things harm the planet far more than the things they warn us about.
Let’s hope a small measure of sanity returns next year.
Merry & Happy to all.
REPLY: I bought the LED lights mostly because they have long life and had better connections…I get tired of playing “find the dead bulb”. – Anthony