2010 Earth Hour in California – just as ineffective as last year

Earth Hour has come and gone in California (8:30 to 9:30 PM PDT) for 2010 without so much as a blip. In fact the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) power usage graph looks much like last year when there was also no discernible difference.

Using the graph provided by CAISO, here’s what Earth Hour 2010 looked like in California, can you spot where everybody turned off their lights?

California power use 3-27-10 from CAISO - Click for a larger Graphic

FYI CAISO says on the graph page that: Sudden spikes in resource curve graph may indicate false data briefly reported by system

Here’s what Earth Hour in California looked like in 2009:


California power use 3-28-09 from CAISO - Click for a larger Graphic

Note the the drop in power you see  just prior to Earth Hour is normal. As proof, have a look at the Sunday after Earth Hour from last year:


California power use 3-29-09 from CAISO - Click for a larger Graphic

Some said last year that Earth Hour made a difference.  Well Treehugger doesn’t know how to read the graph, and assumes the drop they saw was not business as usual. See that little blip around 0700 on all three graphs? That’s the signature of streetlights all around California automatically shutting off because the photocells get enough light:

From the NOAA sunrise/sunset calculator, San Francisco sunrise on March 27th is:  7:02AM PDT. In Southern California, Los Angeles has a sunrise time of 6:47AM, which is why the “streetlights off” power drop is gradual for about 30 minutes starting before 0700 on the graphs.

If there was a big effect from Earth Hour, you’d see a step event like the street lights at 7AM as everybody turned off their home lights in California at 8:30PM (2030). Plus, the greens don’t seem to realize that no power plants get switched off, so there’s really no CO2 savings.  The power plants are run based on demand forecast. Short term spikes from well intentioned stunts really don’t make a blip of difference to CO2 emissions.

Earth Hour is a failure in California and according to Richard North at the EU Referendum, a failure in Britain too.

Feel free to post any power use graphs from other parts of the world in comments.

From commenter Bahumbug in the previous thread:

Here is a wonderful short article by Ross McKitrick regards Earth Hour via Donna Laframboise at nofrakkingconsensus

“The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity…. It invites people to become sanctimonious do-gooders by turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in service of some ill-understood abstract concept of “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of electricity.


I don’t want to go back to nature. Haiti just went back to nature. For humans, living in “Nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work to end poverty and disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.


…through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations. No thanks. I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization is something to be ashamed of.

Ross McKitrick

Full article in pdf (single page) here

WWF would be better off preaching year round energy conservation than publicity stunts, but unfortunately publicity stunts are what wow the gullible and fill the till.


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Don E

Just ignore them and they will go away.


As much as I don’t buy into the whole thing, it is nice to have a dark sky. Too many people spend too much time indoors staring at the tele or the computer and not looking up to the sky. Too many hours spent wasting time at the screen and not enough time outdoors breathing some fresh air.

Leon Brozyna

Earth Hour – organized by WWF; figures.
It’s a symbolic feel-good gesture, more form than substance. They’re not interested in facts, just publicity and guilt inducement.
Womder how folks would feel if they knew that the group hiding behind that cute little panda is just another big business, acquiring non-productive assets and using them as profit engines harnessed to guilt.

Philip T. Downman

But wait..Wasn’t the purpous to reduce CO2? http://www.straitstimes.com/BreakingNews/World/Story/STIStory_507641.html. To me it seems like a lot of candles and fire acrobats does the opposite?
Enlightment seems needed more than ever.
Someone said: “A difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has it’s limitations.”

John Whitman

The people who did turn out their lights (undetectable number per the graphs/pics) must have previously taken the blue pill. “You take the blue pill – the story ends, you wake up in your bed and believe whatever you want to believe.” They seriously believe, apparently, the ideas that are the basis for earth hour. I am not cynical enough yet to think they were all hypocrites.
Watts is the antidote for the people who took the blue pill. Go WUWT
Apologies to ‘The Matrix’.

George Turner

If people really cut all their power usage for an hour – there would be looting and riots.

Peter of Sydney

Those people participating in earth hour remind me of the people at the top of a skyscraper in the move Independence Day yelling and screaming “welcome” to the aliens, just prior to being exterminated. Stupid is as stupid does.

Old Goat

Loony is a good word. It really just about sums it all up. I notice on the news this morning that many “right-on” UK councils are naming roads and streets after the current AGW frenzy – “Eco Way” being one. Well, I live on Sceptic Street….

Geoff Sherrington

One of the most dangerous man-made devices present in almost every home and office is the electical outlet. It takes less than an Earth Hour to get warm if you stick a metal knife into a toaster, or if a child sticks a wire into a wall socket (as I did when 4). I raise this to demostarate peculiarities in human risk aversion. People who were genuinely frightened for the future of their loved ones woulf shun electricity to the home. They would do this in preference to the plastic approach of earth Hour social engineering. The reason they act this irrational way is because they are stupid enough to respond to years of thought conditioning.

The original poster as well as Philip t. Downman have not understood the purpose of Earth Hour:
– the purpose is not to achieve reduced electricity consumption for one hour each year (hence the ‘ineffective’ statement in the original header is incorrect)
– the purpose is not to reduce CO2 emissions for one hour each year (hence Philip T. Downman’s statement is incorrect)

son of mulder

What do you expect to see? Your graphs have a Y axis in units of 1000 of megawatts. Take a lesson from temperature anomoly graphs and the use of the microscope. You need milliwatts ((1/1000W) for the Y axis. Then you’d spot the kettle in San Francisco being turned off ;>)
REPLY: Actually, no, then the noise level would be so high you couldn’t spot anything individually. thousands of devices are being switched on/off every second- A

R. de Haan

The significance of Earth Hour is that it’s a most effective and a very dirty propaganda tool comparable with the “torch marches of the Brown Shirts”:
it’s pushed by the political establishment to soften people up for policy measures and price hikes and it creates the false idea that Climate policies have massive public support. The event would not have the publicity and impact in terms of propaganda if the lights of famous land marks like the Eiffel Tower, Big Ben etc. did not go out in the presence of the “green”crowds and the tv camera’s.
The wide publicity, the meetings and events, the promotion of the AGW hoax and the brainwashing of our kids.
Earth Hour is cleverly exploited in schools.
The kids have their projects how to save energy (at home) and the schooling material is all about AGW propaganda WWF style.
Earth Hour does not make a dent in the energy use but as a propaganda tool it is most effective. With hour kids that is.
Only for this dirty aspect it should be forbidden!

Al Gore's Holy Hologram

The irony is that on Saturdays many people leave their homes for the evening and the use of domestic power drops consequentially.


Hey jerryb. I’m kinda with you on that. Mind you, Gixxergirl and I were booked at a swanky restaurant that night and she had to ring up and check in case they’d be turning the lights out. (Gixxergirl foresaw swearing and ‘a scene’.) Turns out the guys describe themselves as ‘activists’ and they turned the lights up. The grill, too, if the duck was anything to go by.

Spain is the best example of how to commemorate Earth Hour: By consuming the most in the day! The maximum energy consumption was at 9:05PM! Energy rising from 8:30 PM till 9:20 PM. I’ve put the graph data for Spain at http://ecotretas.blogspot.com/2010/03/dia-da-terra-em-espanha.html


Hi all,
Here is a link where you can have the French daily electricity consumption, in real time.
It seems the Earth Hour had no impact, even if they switch off the Tour Eiffel!


I live in regional New South Wales Australia and went for a drive at 9 pm. As far as I could tell everybody was doing what they always do: watching TV with lights on.
I then drove into town and found the same: lights on and people watching TV. As well the security lights on the Catholic church were on and the town’s bowling club was ablaze with lights.
Yet today’s MSM are crowing that Earth Hour was a success! Maybe it was in the cities. Dunno.

Martin Brumby

The piece from Ross McKitrick is absolutely spot on.
And if we weren’t all diverting our intellectual energy and financial resources into this ridiculous and pointless alarmist hoax, how much good could we do in the world?
Just imagine if all the money being poured just into the construction of useless windmills in the UK alone (over £100,000,000,000 in the next decade) was instead used to provide reliable, affordable energy in Africa (not to mention in the UK!).
How many lives saved? How many lifted out of poverty? How much hope granted?
If all the greenies had an ounce of humanity – and common sense – they would be deeply ashamed.


You have to understand one aspect in regards to events like this “Earth Hour” fiasco. It’s not about lowering carbon emissions, Earth Hour is about “feeling” like you have made a contribution. Earth Hour participation is showing everybody else that you “care” more that they do. Earth Hour participation is bona-fide proof positive that he participant is “Right Minded” and “Progressive” and generally smarter than the people that do not participate.
Facts are immaterial to these people. There’s a lady at our church that has single handedly banned the use of styrofoam cups at the church. The fact that there are four seperate microbes that have been found to metabolize styrofoam and are regularly “seeded” into landfills in order to reduce styrofoam is immaterial to this woman. It’s all about whining and crying. The fact that all that is left of a three thousand year old Greek or Roman shipwreck is the porcelan cargo is immaterial and that the porcelean “Green” coffee cup that she insists that everyone use is not biodegradable and that the styrofoam cup is. The fact that you can have several hundred biodegradable styrofoam coffee cups for the power requirement needed to machine (or even hand wash) a dishwasher full of coffee cups is immaterial.
This “Green” mentality, like liberalism/progressivism is more akin to a severe mental disorder than a political ideology.


I know that the subject is off topic but if what the enviro-mentalists were telling us about plastics were to be true then by now you’d be able to walk from New York to London on a ten foot thick mat of plastic trash floating on the water of the Atlantic Ocean.


In California, there was a call a long time ago for consumers to conserve. And we obliged them. Time and again, they asked, and Californians anwered the call.
Left our of those requests were Big Business and Utility.
They don’t march to anyone’s drumbeat, green or otherwise.
Examine those graphs, and note the median usage.
See the lowest usage in the wee hours that accounts for roughly 80% of daily demand?
That’s how much is either hardwired or the result of late-night commerical/industrial activity.
Good luck making a meaningful difference in consumption with a puny Earth Hour.
Go to the CAISO site and run 03/12/2010 through 03/16/2010 and check out the huge savings due to Daylight Saving Time that began on the 14th or March.
One massive exercise in futility.
DST is a Dinosaur.

Inquiring minds have figured out that reversing the march of Entropy requires energy INPUT, not subtraction.


My favorite Earth Hour was in Toronto. The organizers ran a concert for the faithful of the Church of Global Warming. I took the electric subway to the city hall. There the bands were trucked in with all there audio and lighting equipment. There was a concert before and after the powerless hour. I am sure the nuclear reactors were generating a fraction of the CO2 they usually put out.

jerryb (23:21:00) :
As much as I don’t buy into the whole thing, it is nice to have a dark sky.
They could turn off the electricity here all night long and the sky wouldn’t get dark.
Too many flares burning the waste gas off the oil wells…

Mike Bryant

” jerryb (23:21:00) :
As much as I don’t buy into the whole thing, it is nice to have a dark sky. Too many people spend too much time indoors staring at the tele or the computer and not looking up to the sky. Too many hours spent wasting time at the screen and not enough time outdoors breathing some fresh air.”
Jerry, The real problem is… too many do gooders worrying about how much time I’ve decided to watch television or sit at my computer. You go out an stargaze. It turns out that I stargaze too…
Thanks for your concern, but what I do is really none of your business,
Mike Bryant


Last night I commented on a blog about the obvious dangers of campaigns like Earth Hour. Unfortunately the risk of accidents and even deaths is no longer just a risk.
A very clumsy translation (sorry):
A man born in 1939 died late on Saturday in an accident in Uusikaupunki when a 17-year-old woman hit him with a motorcycle.
The road was slippery and the lights were turned off because of the Earth Hour campaign organized by WWF.
The motorcyclist hadn’t seen the pedestrian before the impact. There was a path for pedestrians running along the road, but for an unknown reason the man was walking on the road instead.
The motorcyclist had a valid licence. Police alcotest indicated zero promilles. Speeding is not suspected.
There was also a passenger on the motorcycle. Neither of the persons riding the motorcycle were injured.

Rebecca C

Looking at all these power generation charts over the past 24 hours, it’s striking that on average over the course of a day, the available megawatts exceed the expected usage by an average of 40% or so. The greatest gains in energy efficiency would seem to come from tightening that gap (without, of course, running into brownouts). You’d think the power companies would be all over that, since it would save them tons of money.

Douglas DC

Out walking the Springer at 8:30 last night, nothing doing in La Grande,
Or. local track well lit as was the University and Hospital….

Henry chance

This rattled the BIG Power companies.


I turned on most of my lights during earth hour…
I’m so freaking sick of these leftist control freaks.

Ian L. McQueen

I did my bit. I turned my outdor floodlights on for the hour.


Corporations will jump on any bandwagon they think is popular. Some of them need to hear from us or they will think these stunts are non-controversial public-interest efforts. I am sending the following to Wells Fargo:
Dear Sirs,
Regarding last night’s earth hour, I was disappointed earlier last week to see that you are using your ATMs to publicize climate alarmist propaganda. Our mutual interests will be better served if you stick to banking.

Mark (07:25:40) :
I did too. My wife asked me why all the lights were on outside.
“Hour of Power celebration” I replied.
“Oh”, she replied, knowing that us old hydro guys tend to be a bit weird.

Steve Keohane

earth hour must have been offset by Human Achievement Hour:


During *spit* earth hour *spit* I turned on every light I could find, opened the windows and doors, turned the heat up. When it was over I turned off some of the lights, and turned on the air conditioner. Take that, gaia!!

Steve P

It should be clear enough by now.
What matters today is not the truth, but what the media proclaim.

Sorry it didn’t. I think I’m to blame. Went on a bike ride last night and left the porch light on. My bad.


The defiant public with their bright well-lit homes offsets the ridiculous
big business/government enviro-stunt….once again!! Virginia was pretty well-lit, too.
My Mom is spritely 70 years old and lives next to a superhighway…and she had every light and floodlight on…she says from 8:30 to 9:30 you could “see her property from Space.” LOL
Great advertisement to passers-by as they whizzed along in their evil fossil fuel machines!
Norfolk, VA, USA


Too bad Anthony does not bother to live in his own community, rather than this cyber community, because if he talked to his neighbors, he might know why they were turning off their lights in Chico.
But I do understand why he spends all his time here on the net.
He is a joke at home.

Thanks for stopping by with that zinger Mark. Professor Mark, from CSUC, is one of our most prominent and vocal sustainability gurus. Mark, two can play at suggestions. If you bothered to talk to people outside of the liberal bubble that is downtown and the university, you might learn why many people in town think some of the sustainability efforts you and the City Council push are a joke.
Since you didn’t comment on the facts from CAISO presented here, I assume then that your view is that the “feel good” portion of the event is the only thing that matters, not results? If so, I’m disappointed, since sustainability should be about results, not feel good hype.
– Anthony

Elizabeth (Canada)

I have no problem with the concept of Earth Hour as a symbolic gesture of caring for our planet. I am a skeptic and still I encouraged my children to participate by reading books for one hour. The message I gave them was of conservation, not curbing CO2 emissions.
With that said I am perplexed by comments that turning off the lights for an hour shows a willingness to change in order to save the planet. I am curious how people fared without their electricity for the hour. Did boredom set in by the end of it? Did they miss their electronics? Were they filled with pride for their service to humanity or did they stop and think about what life would be like for days on end without their stuff, sitting in the dark.
How about an Earth Day instead of an Earth Hour? And, why don’t they schedule it in the middle of winter so people also get to experience a nice, crisp day without a running furnace? I don’t think the good-intentioned understand what would be required to make a real “change,” not just a symbolic one.


Mark (08:41:21) :
Too bad Anthony does not bother to live in his own community…
Ah, Professor Mark… A member of the “Ivory Tower” set that live in an intellectually gated community and have never ventured beyond their own thought processes.
There’s a great big world to see and enjoy outside of your mental fences, Mark. You really should try to get out more. It will be far more enlightening that an hour in the dark, I assure you.


Al’s Global Warming (AGW) :
AGW’s Juicy Suzicide Note:
Killed by Reality.
>>> “The thermometer read 10 degrees colder than in 2009, which meant more juice to heat homes, says the provincial Independent Electricity System Operator.”
Translation: Canada has a cold climate.
“Toronto stays bright for Earth Hour
When Earth Hour came to Toronto this year, many of the lights stayed on.
Most of the downtown skyline was still ablaze, many of the bank buildings and the Rogers Centre. The CN Tower extinguished its colourful lights display, but safety lighting remained on.
According to Toronto Hydro, fewer people participated this year —”


From WWF Finland’s press release on March 11: “For example the city of Uusikaupunki which aims for carbon neutrality will participate the event for the second time by turning off some of its street and exterior lightning, and by asking its residents to participate.”
An elderly man died in a traffic accident, directly because of the darkness. A taxpayer who was denied the lightning he had paid for. Because the city wanted to participate a stupid and meaningless ceremony, without asking the residents’ opinion.
Will WWF put out a press release about the first concrete result of their campaign – a dead human being?
I wonder if Uusikaupunki will still participate next year or was this death an acceptable cost of … what? An hour of partial darkness for cheap righteousness points?

Pamela Gray

Remember when we used to turn our porch lights ON for a cause? Like child abuse, date rape (or any kind of rape), neighborhood watch, the plight of the hungry, pandemics, etc? What? Has CO2 now become more important than my child or my personal safety? Gee thanks. I feel ever so much more cared for now.

April E. Coggins

Since Earth Hour is only symbolic anyway, wouldn’t it be easier if they just shut their eyes for an hour?


Rocky Road,
You are obviously not from California. The ivory was looted from the educational towers here long ago.
I am very much an active member of my community, with all the give and take that goes with that human interaction.
Anthony, however, is a quitter. He quit the school board. He quit the task force. Rather than engage his neighbors, he hides in a cyber world and throws stones at the people who are doing actual work.
I have to admit he is pretty good at watching paint dry on Stevenson stations
REPLY: My my, such anger, and wrongheadedness. Ann Schwab booted me off the sustainability task force, I’ll be happy to show you the letter. And, I was not re-elected to the school board, I did not quit that either. Have you recently invited me to any of your sustainability events? Maybe to talk about my electric car or the LED lighting I recently put in my home? Can’t engage the community if nobody invites me. I do admit though, that due to my progressively worsening hearing loss, public events are more difficult for me than they used to be.
Let’s talk about hiding though. Since you use your CSUC email address which is public, one wonders why you can’t use your name with your comments? “he hides in a cyber world and throws stones at the people…” could very aptly apply to you. – Anthony


Mark (08:41:21) : “Too bad Anthony does not bother to live in his own community, rather than this cyber community, because if he talked to his neighbors, he might know why they were turning off their lights in Chico.”
I think the role that this mighty blog [uncovering scientific scams and and the people who advance them] speaks very well for itself.
Res ipsa loquiter.
And it might explain why Anthony may have joined the rest of us in turning our lights ON last night in a big, well-lit, defiant giant middle finger.
Except Anthony’s lights burn cooler and with less energy as retrofitted LED’s….a salient fact that everyone else seem to catch, except you and your condescending circle of friends.
And ON THE BIG FAT CONTRARY to your observations about Anthony “not living in his community”.
He’s not just hiding behind his computer developing or propagating climate model nonsense and the politics that go with it.
He’s a proponent of taking real-time, real-world, direct observations.
Ever heard of surfacestations.org??
In OTHER words, he is very much out in the real world, thus has EARNED the right to have a platform on the internet, and has a damn good excuse for being there.
What’s yours???
Norfolk, VA, USA

Amino Acids in Meteorites

Earth Hour is a failure in California
Opps,that didn’t go according to plan. California is the greenest State in America.
I am in California. I didn’t see any difference in lighting last night.
I am sorry to read that someone was killed in Finland last night while crossing a dark city street—the motorcyclist didn’t see him, no street lights were on.

“Short term spikes from well intentioned stunts really don’t make a blip of difference to CO2 emissions”
You can hang this around the neck of cap-and-trade, carbon trading and emissions trading.
You can hang this around every wind turbine’s neck
Ross McKirtrick just reaffirmed my belief in human decency.

Amino Acids in Meteorites

Mark (09:54:21) :
What puts you in such a good mood this morning Mark?
Taking shots below the belt is the only way you feel you can win? You look desperate and rude.
Do you like that reputation?