The futility of “Earth Hour” @earthhour

satellite image of the korean penninsula at night, showing city lighting
The winner for Earth Hour every year since 2003  – North Korea. Odds favor them to be the winner again this year.

“Earth Hour” starts tonight. Yawn.

Every year at Christmas, many newspapers reprint “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus“, this excellent essay by Ross McKittrick should be repeated on every blog on every observance of Earth Hour. Copy, paste, and share it widely. Better yet, turn on all your lights to celebrate, as Ross says below.

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

Earth Hour: A Dissent

by Ross McKitrick

Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics, Univer...
Ross McKitrick, Professor of Economics, University of Guelph, Canada. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Image via Wikipedia

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

Here is my response.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity.

People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

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

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

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

No thanks.

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

Ross McKitrick

Professor of Economics

University of Guelph

Just add to the inanity of the stunt by WWF, note the header from their website this year:

Apparently, you should turn off your lights, but encourage computer use by putting the picture above on your Facebook page…sorta cancels out, doesn’t [it]?

The real reason behind WWF’s “Earth Hour”? Cold. Hard. Cash. Note the big red donate button to extract funds from the easily duped.

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John M. Ware
March 25, 2017 9:58 am

Excellent essay! I agree wholeheartedly, and I thank God every day for the blessings He allows me to have and use, among which electricity is at the top. While I suffer few power outages, each one reminds me of the world our ancestors willingly left behind. Thanks, Dr. McKitrick!

Reply to  John M. Ware
March 25, 2017 10:22 am

Just more dot-org virtue-signalling by entitled elites, signifying nothing. Dr. McKitrick nailed it.

Reply to  Goldrider
March 25, 2017 11:46 am

Here is an equally moronic tract I got today:

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Offer valid from March 9, 2017, to April 22, 2017, for new individual members only. There is a limit of one short-sleeved T-shirt per membership order. Please allow two weeks for domestic delivery and up to four weeks for international delivery. As a nonprofit, AAAS cannot fulfill any size exchanges due to additional postage cost. The AAAS short-sleeved T-shirt is provided as is without any guarantees or warranty and cannot be exchanged or returned. In association with the product, AAAS makes no warranties of any kind, either express or implied, including but not limited to warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

” fact-based policymaking ” , my AAAS !

Maybe someone with US legal training can consider whether this “non profit” is complying with the requirement of being non political.

Reply to  Goldrider
March 25, 2017 3:04 pm

We have a 3 to 8 hour power outage about once a year. The first thing we do is refrain from opening the refrigerator or freezer until power comes back on. It always reminds me of how inconvenient it is. My dad told me of when he was a young lad back in the early 1920s, he had a job delivering ice to homes for their “cooling” box. No one had electric refrigeration as yet – everyone would hate to have to live like that again.

Reply to  Goldrider
March 25, 2017 3:13 pm

My grandparents’ generation continued to refer to refrigerators as “ice boxes”.

My parents were familiar with ice boxes in their youths, before WWII, but adopted the new, more technically correct terminology. Still see some here in the country, adapted for other uses.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Goldrider
March 25, 2017 4:51 pm

Back in the 70’s in the UK my parents had a gas fired fridge.

Reply to  Goldrider
March 25, 2017 5:20 pm


That STEM reference is directly from the S. 442 NASA reauthorization bill and funding documents.

“SEC. 824. Education and outreach.
(a) Sense of Congress.—It is the sense of Congress that—
(1) United States competitiveness in the 21st century requires engaging the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (referred to in this section as “STEM”) talent in all States;

You should write back and inquire how the senders plan to support STEM. See how far they insert foot, ankle, calf and knee.

Reply to  Goldrider
March 25, 2017 5:25 pm

Patrick MJD March 25, 2017 at 4:51 pm

Propane fridges are fairly common among off the grid types in the US today.

EarthGround Media presents
Reply to  Chimp
March 30, 2017 7:32 pm

Clothes dryers. Ranges. Generators…

Barbara Skolaut
Reply to  Goldrider
March 25, 2017 7:37 pm

pyeatte, I remember ice boxes (with actual ice blocks delivered daily!) from cabin we rented at a camp we went to every summer. The cabin had electricity, but no refrigerator (guess the owners didn’t want to put out for the expense), and the “bathroom” was a “room” just big enough for a toilet that had been added on beside the kitchen when they were required to replace the outhouse. We were kids – what did we know? – but I wouldn’t want to go back again.

Viva electricity!

(And my grandparents called their refrigerator the “icebox” too.)

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Goldrider
March 26, 2017 11:40 pm

“Chimp March 25, 2017 at 5:25 pm”

This was a mains gas fired fridge, attached just like a cooker with a bayonet fitting, can’t recall if it was before or after natural gas though.

Reply to  Goldrider
March 27, 2017 10:44 am

My grandparents had a gas powered fridge in their mobile home.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  John M. Ware
March 25, 2017 12:06 pm

WWF? More like WWtF!

Reply to  Harry Passfield
March 27, 2017 10:45 am

Maybe I’m just showing my age, but WWF will always be about “professional” wrestling.

Wayne Delbeke
Reply to  John M. Ware
March 25, 2017 4:58 pm

Today on the news discussing “Earth Hour” it was noted that the Internet uses as much electrical power as all of CANADA – maybe we should shut down all the cell phones. iPads, laptops and all computers for say three months …

Can you say “withdrawal symptoms?”

Reply to  Wayne Delbeke
March 27, 2017 8:46 am

Maybe, but Canada uses less than 3% of the worlds power, so that is not saying much…

Reply to  John M. Ware
March 27, 2017 11:09 pm

I’m switching on everything electrical in my house that’s either loud or bright for that hour.

EarthGround Media presents
Reply to  John M. Ware
March 30, 2017 7:30 pm

For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. Basic Hobbes. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I am working as a component of nature and believe that no one can choose to live in it fully, or against it, but just with it. We are naturally emotional people, hence the reactionary duality that hampers intelligent compromises as we blaze forth as a species. Motive power can be steam.
Political hot air as motive power?

Climate change is natural. We can’t fight it – should not – at all, unless stupidity leads us to do it?

I dunno.

March 25, 2017 10:02 am

How about everyone holding their breath for short periods of time during that hour, instead of sitting in darkness (literally and figuratively) ? OK, someone calculate the savings of CO2 emissions from all 5 billion humans holding their breath for a collective 30 minutes, versus the loss of emissions due to non-consumption of fossil fuel power plants. Remember, just because 30% of their current level output isn’t used doesn’t mean that a power plant can reduce their emissions (or fuel usage) by 30%. In addition, think of all the calories that are lost in the process and calculate the goodly effects on heart attacks, etc. I mean, if we’re being silly , let’s be honest-to-God silly.

Reply to  arthur4563
March 25, 2017 11:11 am

It’s worse than we thought – there are 7.5 billion folks (plus or minus) on the Earth today.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 25, 2017 1:07 pm

Safe bet that 2.5 billion of us do not have enough electricity to turn it off.

Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 26, 2017 12:32 am

Big deal. Just over half of those are children and
the remaining chunk, the adults, are about 50:50
male and female. 7.5 billion is not all that much. It
could be accomodated in about half a billion 4 storey,
36sqm dwellings in a mere 100sq kilometers of
surface area or about 20% of the island of Madagascar.

That would be the whole population. It really isn’t all
that big. The non-thoughtful would, and do, find it
scary and are overwhelmed by it.

Whether or not the increase in weight would unbalance
and sink the island is moot. 36sq m is about a two car
garage. One of these garages would hold 2 adults and
their 2.5 children … no pets allowed.

Food and water supply along with sewage would take
some engineering, but if each tower held a windmill to
provide the power (snort 🙂 if shouldn’t be insurmountable.

It’s all about maintaining one’s sense of proportion.

Steve Thatcher
Reply to  Retired_Engineer_Jim
March 26, 2017 4:47 pm

And where would the lemurs live?


Reply to  arthur4563
March 25, 2017 12:13 pm

If everyone who believes Earth Hour is a good (or even sane) idea held their breath for the whole hour, it wouldn’t be silly at all. It would be – as the old joke has it – a good start.

Reply to  arthur4563
March 25, 2017 2:57 pm

If 5 billion humans held their breath for 30 minutes, this would completely achieve the objectives of the anti-human groups such as WWF.

Joe Crawford
Reply to  AP
March 26, 2017 8:27 am

Yep… Darwin at work.

March 25, 2017 10:05 am

10 hours from now the WWF wants us to be concerned for the planet … From their website: “Around the globe, millions of people, businesses, and landmarks set aside an hour to host events, switch off their lights, and make noise for climate change action. ”

Saving the puppies. One donation at a time.
For me? I’m saving 3 dolphins by turning off my garage light for 2 hours.

Tom Halla
March 25, 2017 10:06 am

There is an element of the environmental movement that wants people to freeze in the dark.

Reply to  Tom Halla
March 25, 2017 2:59 pm

There is an element of the environmental movement that wants the extermination of humanity. And it is not a small element either.

Reply to  AP
March 26, 2017 7:29 am

AP, exactly! This leftist cause is an extension of the communist experiment.

Michael darby
March 25, 2017 10:06 am

Dear Professor McKitrick
Congratulations on your Earth Hour article. My email address is, and I am pleased that we are allies. My below article was kindly published on 23 March 2017 by Australia’s David Evans in “The Wentworh Report”
Michael Darby

No! to Earth Hour
Two hundred and one years ago in 1816 a 28 years old Englishman named Francis Ronalds first constructed a working electric telegraph. This gentleman, who at the age of 82 became Sir Francis Ronalds, may deserve the title of the first electrical engineer.
Electrical engineers and their close allies the electricians are members of a splendid worldwide band of great contributors to the modern era, still mostly men but with a welcome burgeoning number of women, the people who turn on the lights for the world. I reckon the easiest way to measure the happiness and prosperity of nations is by the Electricians Index. More electricians equals more prosperity and more happiness. Australia is high on the Electricians Index; North Korea is near the bottom.
Also close to the bottom of the Electricians Index is Myanmar, mostly known as Burma. In 2013 Myanmar had a population of 53 million with total electricity consumption according to the International Energy Agency of less than nine million megawatt hours. In the same year Australia with a population of 23 million enjoyed total electricity consumption according to Australian Energy Statistics of 254 million megawatt hours. That is one sixth of a megawatt hour per head per year in Myanmar and eleven megawatt hours per head per year in Australia. To put it another way, each Australian has the benefit of sixty-six times as much electricity as a resident of Myanmar.
The Asia Biomass Energy Office reports that 97% of energy used in the Myanmar residential sector is produced by biomass, which means that almost everyone cooks with wood, contributing to the observed decrease in forests. The same organisation reports that 74.7% of electricity is generated by hydro and 20.5% by gas. That is a total of 95.2% which means that oil and coal are insignificant in electricity generation. That should make the opponents of coal and oil very happy indeed.
But here is something truly amazing. The Worldwide Fund for Nature Australia is a registered charity with the ABN number 57001594074. WWF Australia and has a cute little panda as a logo. WWF Australia is currently conducting an advertising campaign aimed at stopping drilling for oil in the Great Australian Bight. And what is WWF Australia doing in Myanmar? A genuine charity would be working to help the Burmese get access to energy so they can keep their food fresh and educate their children and extend their lifespans and stop cutting down forests to cook their food. Not WWF Australia. WWF activists are in Myanmar now, organising the Burmese participation in Earth Hour. WWF is trying to convince the Burmese that they each don’t deserve even the one sixty-sixth fraction of the electricity which we Australians enjoy.
The naked hypocrisy of WWF and its anti-energy allies is on display. These people do not really hate coal. These people do not really hate oil. What they hate is all energy, which means they hate human progress and they hate humanity. WWF Australia is a fake charity which extracts money under false pretences from gullible Australians, and uses that money to depress living standards and harm the environment in one of the poorest countries in the world.
What Myanmar needs is fewer saboteurs and more electricians.

Wentworth Report readers are untitled to be unimpressed by plans being made for so called “Earth Hour” on Saturday 25 March. Thousands of misled people across Australia will be lighting candles instead of flicking light switches and some of them will accidentally start fires and threaten the lives of their loved ones.
Dangerous organisations, some like WWF Australia pretending to be charities, are trying to convince Australians that electricity is a bad thing and should be switched off for an hour. “Switch off to the future” is the theme.
The proponents of Earth Hour want us to have a future like North Korea, which when viewed at night from space shows barely a glimmer in contrast to all the happy glow of prosperity visible from South Korea and increasingly from China.
The proponents of Earth Hour are out to control the minds of our children. This is not a game. Earth Hour is a deadly serious plan intended to recruit innocent youngsters to the wicked cause of bringing down the modern era and dragging us back at least two centuries. Without coal and without electricity modern medicine is impossible and human lifespans will be halved.
Perhaps worst of all, the proponents of Earth Hour are determined to crush the hopes of the poor and disadvantaged of the world, who unanimously yearn for the inexpensive energy which most of us in Australia take for granted. Until recently almost all Australians could depend upon reliable baseload power. Sadly, the saboteurs are making the decisions in South Australia and Victoria is not far behind.
Do not let the saboteurs get away with it. Not for an hour, not even or a minute. So if your six year old or your ten year old comes home with the intention of turning off the family’s power on Saturday, draw a line in the sand and rescue your child from recruitment into the evil ranks of the appalling enemies of civilisation. Make no mistake, they have declared war on the modern era and they are determined to recruit your children as child foot soldiers in that war.
When Earth Hour strikes, I’ll proudly have all my lights turned on. Join me.

Reply to  Michael darby
March 25, 2017 10:58 am


Reply to  Michael darby
March 25, 2017 11:07 am

My solution if my sprog had been brainwashed with this crap would have been to pull all of the fuses out of the consumer unit and keep them out for a month. A whole month without electricity would teach a much more profound lesson than turning the lights off for an hour.

Reply to  Stonyground
March 25, 2017 2:50 pm

or plumbing
and toilet paper.
I grew up in a house full of women with constantly empty rollers.
I recall going from head to head aboard Navy ships seeking one with toilet paper.
I also recall airport pay toilets – open the door and no paper!
Now, I always keep a month’s worth of TP at hand!

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Stonyground
March 25, 2017 3:34 pm

Then they would fully understand the necessity of cheap, reliable electricity to the developing world and its impact on their potable water and sewage infrastructures.
As for toilet paper, hoarding is something you might consider…

NW sage
Reply to  Stonyground
March 25, 2017 4:50 pm

czechlist and Pop Piasa – I also remember the time the Johnny Carson Show made a ‘joke’ about toilet paper being in short supply. EVERYONE who heard the show rushed out to get as much as they could and then it was REALLY in short supply. Johnny apologized and explained the joke but it was too late. A lot of folks learned – again – about the convenience of cheap TP.

Reply to  Michael darby
March 26, 2017 4:30 am

back in 09 and up to 2012 my friend who had a candlemaking business got HUGE orders from Melbourne cafes and other places for candles for earth hr
curiously as times passed she hardly gets any sales for it at all now;-)
people have woken up a tad.

Pop Piasa
March 25, 2017 10:13 am

A day to remember the dark ages and enjoy the comforts of the industrial and technological age in which we luckily reside.

Adam Gallon
March 25, 2017 10:15 am

The link “Yes Virginia, there is a Santa Claus“, gets a “Page not found”.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Adam Gallon
March 25, 2017 11:42 am
Reply to  Adam Gallon
March 25, 2017 11:51 am

Sucker, don’t you know there isn’t a Santa Claus ??

Another Ian
Reply to  Greg
March 25, 2017 1:55 pm

Then there is that cartoon of a rosy cheeked Santa saying

“Before you make fun of someone who believes in me

Remember that there are adults that still believe in socialism”

Reply to  Greg
March 25, 2017 5:08 pm

So who brought my new, one-cup coffee maker????

Reply to  Greg
March 25, 2017 5:15 pm


Hope you used really hot water in that.

Santa probably brewed up some serious caffeine in it to keep him and the reindeer going.

March 25, 2017 10:16 am

Fossil fueled transportation improved life just a little bit, too.

Reply to  Nicholas Schroeder
March 26, 2017 12:51 am

Fossil-fuelled transportation cleaned up the cities.
It got rid of the mountains—over two storeys high— of
equine excrement and the lakes of equine urine which
built up because it was produced faster than it could be
carted away.

imagine the stench. All buildings had a boot scraper
at the door. Flies moved in whole air forces at a time,
not mere squadrons, and they were all big blowflies.
And the rats! Zillions of them. Warm horse dung made
comfy dwellings, easily dug out, for the rodents.

It was fossil fuels which made it possible to clean up
the cities. It is industrial scale electricity generation
which drives the sewage pumps preventing us from
drowning in human excrement, enabling us to keep
them clean.

Fossil fuels and electricity are our saviours.

Roger Graves
March 25, 2017 10:27 am

Here in Canada, where there is still snow on the ground, switching off your lights for an hour generally results in increased CO2 output. Your lighting system is an integral part of your home heating system, particularly if, like most people, you are still using incandescent bulbs. If you switch off your lights, your oil- or gas-fired central heating furnace will crank up a notch to compensate, thereby producing more CO2, unless you have simultaneously turned your thermostat down, which you probably haven’t.

If the electricity for your lighting was generated by nuclear, hydro or wind, the net result is that switching off your lights for an hour increases the total CO2 output. Not that it matters to me, we don’t have enough CO2, but presumably it matters to Earth Hour types. Still, they will achieve the warm rosy glow that comes with doing their bit to save the planet, and that’s what counts. Harsh reality can take a hike as far as they are concerned.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Roger Graves
March 25, 2017 11:05 am

Strikes me that “Earth Hour” is just another apparatus for the indoctrination of the MSM disciples.
They seem to worship this planet more than its creator.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
March 26, 2017 1:22 am

Not really…power is what they worship and not the sort that keeps the lights on.

Gary Pearse
March 25, 2017 10:34 am

Can you hear the faint but growing beat:Trump, Trump, Trump….

Reply to  Gary Pearse
March 25, 2017 10:38 am


March 25, 2017 10:41 am

Useless virtue signalling. We will turn more lights on to celebrate reliable grid electricity.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  ristvan
March 25, 2017 11:10 am

Good idea. That will help stabilize the grid as the eco-warriors reduce load. That way the plants won’t have to reduce output and waste energy.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  ristvan
March 25, 2017 11:49 am

Chiefio had a post in 2012 you might like:

In the honor of the launch of The Church Of The Sacred Carbon, I will be conducting a sacred “Liberation Of The Carbon” ritual this Sunday. Several pounds of solid carbon will be placed on the altar. (Kingsford brand). It will be lit afire with the Sacred Flame of Purity and allowed to form a solid red glow.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 25, 2017 5:17 pm

Oxygen, hydrogen and a few other elements essential to life should be worshiped, too.

Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 27, 2017 10:55 am

How about worshiping them in this form C2H6O?

March 25, 2017 10:44 am

People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

Bingo! I’m living my life like usual at this time of the year – Lights on, TV on, Radio on, Computer on, Refrigerator on, Washer/Dryer on, Furnace on. And on and on… 😉

Pop Piasa
Reply to  PaulH
March 25, 2017 11:17 am

On a rural Illinois electric co-op we are forced to deal with the loss of power at with most inconvenient timing and the episodes are always longer than an hour in duration. I think I already did my duty for this year.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Pop Piasa
March 25, 2017 11:56 am

Our co-op (Washington State) has not been down more than 4 hours in 25 years. When a vehicle takes a pole out or a tree takes the lines down the fix usually takes 2 – 3 hours. [Hint: keep bottles of water/ice in the spare places of your fridge-&-freezers.]
We have a 100% electric house and do need wood as an emergency in the winter.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
March 25, 2017 12:57 pm

My farm in southwest Wisconsin loses power at least once a month. We are hilly and wooded, and get summer T storms and winter ice storms. We have a wood stove, keep kerosine lamps, and the neighbor has a backup diesel generator for the milking parlor. Don’t need Earth Day.

Another Ian
Reply to  Pop Piasa
March 25, 2017 2:00 pm

Re ristvan
March 25, 2017 at 12:57 pm

I just realised the other day that a pressure kerosene light is a “hybrid” – kerosene for fuel, manpower for the air pressure

Reply to  Pop Piasa
March 25, 2017 4:18 pm

We have outages more often and longer than that, but never long enough to threaten frozen foods.

Gas heat, cheap hydroelectricity, wood and diesel generator if needed, which it hasn’t been.

But I’m gone in the winter to the Southern Hemisphere.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
March 26, 2017 5:00 pm

As someone said elsewhere, South Australia doesn’t need to worry about Earth Hour….they are already well in credit! Victoria to follow and I’m really angry about it.

Reply to  PaulH
March 25, 2017 1:07 pm

No thanks. Sadly, I lost power for five days after a recent wind storm. All the food in the refrigerator had to be thrown out even though it was so cold that we had to let water drip to keep the pipes from freezing. No amount of clothing and blankets could keep us warm.

Reply to  Mohatdebos
March 26, 2017 10:02 am

If it was cold, why didn’t you put the food outside?

Richard Bell
March 25, 2017 10:44 am

If I had the resources, I would celebrate Earth Hour by firing up the diesel generator and powering a battery of ex-WWII air defence search lights.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Richard Bell
March 25, 2017 11:26 am

Too bad it’s not good weather for hot air ballooning. That would be a good activity for Earth hour.

Reply to  Pop Piasa
March 26, 2017 1:27 am

The extremely socialist government of Canberra are so into the virtue signalling thing that they hosted a balloon festival. Can you imagine how much propane that wastes for absolutely no benefit at all?

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
March 25, 2017 10:51 am

Bravo Professor McKitrick and Michael Darby. I’ve copied this on to teacher colleagues in the hope that they will use it if occasion offers itself to repudiate the cruel stupidity of the WWF. How on Earth anyone who works in Myanmar can seek to promote this gibberish of an idea in a desperately poor country is beyond belief.

Michael darby
Reply to  Moderately Cross of East Anglia
March 26, 2017 2:18 am

Thank you Moderately Cross of East Anglia. My email is Please correspond
Michael Darby

March 25, 2017 10:54 am

More posturing / nuttery / gestures from the KlimateKashKultKrowd who are only in this, -no, really- to $aveThePlanet™.

Jaakko Kateenkorva
March 25, 2017 11:06 am

I’m all for celebrating electricity during Earth hour. But how about celebrating also photosynthesis? In my case it will mean illumination of the grandest trees in the garden next year.

March 25, 2017 11:11 am

Not futility, but stupidity.

J Mac
March 25, 2017 11:11 am

Bravo! Ole!!
Ross McKitrick is hereby awarded ‘both ears and the tail’ for the most succinct slaying of the ‘earth hour’ bull!

Yes – this gets passed on to many others….

Bloke down the pub
March 25, 2017 11:12 am

Anthony, I know that in your busy schedule this may not be high on your list of priorities, but may I make a suggestion? I followed the request at the top of this article and copied the link and posted it on twitter, but the extract that that produces talks about Christmas and doesn’t really put across the point of the post. Could I suggest that the first few lines of any post at wuwt is framed with the knowledge that in its abbreviated form, that is what will appear when linked to on twitter etc. Best wishes. and happy Earthhour.

March 25, 2017 11:26 am

Earth Hour is an abomination. We have also covered it at CliScep with a republishing of McKitrick’s now classic piece:

Lars P.
March 25, 2017 11:28 am

Excellent post which raises an important point: there should be a worldwide electricity or energy day celebration! Too many (lucky) people take electricity and all the amenities that comes with it for granted.

Lars P.
Reply to  Lars P.
March 25, 2017 11:29 am

… (it does not raise it, but it leads to) 😉

J Mac
Reply to  Lars P.
March 25, 2017 11:34 am


March 25, 2017 11:32 am

Posted with links and attributions at my place. Thanks for the reminder! I’ll make sure to leave a few extra lights on this evening in honor of common sense and modernity.

Ron Williams
March 25, 2017 11:32 am

Be sure to turn on a few electrical appliances as well for the hour, since the utility usually report to the press what the actual load on the local grid was for the hour and usually how much demand fell as a result of everyone turning off the lights. Which of course implies success or failure of the protest against modernity. If demand actually went up, then I think the message would get out that these types of non sensical feel well campaigns are bogus and will become a relic of the past. I will be baking dinner with my oven on high at earth hour, as well as the electric heat will pre warm the house for the entire night. Along with every light on visible to the community to show that I am celebrating modernity.

Pop Piasa
Reply to  Ron Williams
March 25, 2017 3:52 pm

What the utilities should report is the wasted energy of dropping loads and raising them. The steadier the load, the more efficient the power production.

Moderately Cross of East Anglia
March 25, 2017 11:37 am

I hope you don’t cremate your dinner and get heat stroke Ron, but more power to your elbow (so to speak).0

March 25, 2017 11:37 am

Are they going to turn off the lights illuminating the Eiffel Tower again? This seems to me to be the height of hypocrisy. After all, it’s not essential that the Tower be lit up at all (emergency beacons excepted). So instead of turn off the lights for one hour per year, how about turning it off the the other 8,759 hours. Then, instead of saving 0.011% of the power used, we can save 100%.

City of Lights indeed.

Lorne Clinton
March 25, 2017 11:43 am

Yep I can see a bunch of green Whinnies setting in the candle light with their Iphones thinking how much greater they are then us ?? ;>)

Reply to  Lorne Clinton
March 25, 2017 11:48 am

I hope that they have turned off their iphones too !! Oh, wait, now will they be able to tweet each other about not using electricity if they do that ?

March 25, 2017 11:44 am

Perfect EARTH HOAX time!

March 26, 2017 2:32 am

You notice that they chose a time of year when not much power is being used for heating or aircon? Probably not luck. There’s a reason American students don’t riot in the winter – it freezes up the TV cameras.

Imagine if people tried to do Earth Hour by turning off their heating in mid-winter. They might work out why it’s such a stupid idea.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Bishkek
March 25, 2017 11:49 am

I agree with the idea of have an energy-related ‘Earth Hour’ in that we should celebrate our progress as humans sharing this beautiful planet.

The symbolic turning off of lights for an hour, and talking about access to energy is helpful for raising awareness that some people do not have access to modern energy and are the poorer for it. That awareness is good for children to develop. Real progress is shared progress.

Nothing about ‘Earth Hour’ saves the Earth. The Earth does not need saving, does not need mankind and does not care. The Earth is an natural formation upon which we depend. Saving humanity from our own stupidity means not fouling our own nest, literally. We understand that.

Part of saving humanity from our own stupidity is raising awareness that there are meaningless symbolic or pointless genuflections, forms of ‘virtue signaling’. The idea is that signaling one’s virtuous acts is a salve for the guilty hearts of those who accept the critique that being comfortable comes at the expense of the ‘Earth’.

The Earth doesn’t have ‘expenses’. It also doesn’t have income. Loud, aggressive fund-raising by certain organisations does create income for them and expenses for the public. Observe how the ‘output’ of this expense consists largely of ‘feeling better about the damage you have done to the Earth.’ That is nothing more than an indulgence paid to a a self-appointed representative of a false god. Guilt money. Don’t participate.

To be effective in sharing the progress we have made, Earth Hour should celebrate those initiatives that lift people living in a state of energy poverty to a state of adequacy, not indulge our fantasies that we could live in energy poverty ourselves. We can’t, and we won’t, for as long as we can prevent it.

Spend Earth Hour doing something practical for those in need. Plan together to bring light into their dark world. A good example was the Terrawatt Prize sponsored by National Geographic which gave cash prizes to projects that brought light and or power to areas that were not likely to be connected to the grid in the next ten years. The number affected had to be fifty homes at a minimum. Wonderful ideas were submitted and many continue without winning because they were viable without subsidy. All it took was to be challenged to do something good. That is a good use of an hour devoted to the upliftment of our fellows.

March 25, 2017 11:53 am

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

March 25, 2017 11:54 am

They should call it North Korea Solidarity Hour !

March 25, 2017 11:56 am

I look forward to Earth Day every year just to read Prof. McKitrick’s timeless essay once more.

I would add one more humanity changing benefit that electricity has brought us. Only since we learned how to harness the chlor-alkali process through electrolysis have human beings had safe drinking water at the turn of a knob. We don’t even imagine how much power goes into keeping nasty bugs out of the tap.

I think I’ll go turn on some lights!

Henry IX
March 25, 2017 12:01 pm

My mother, born 1905, Oklahoma Territory, replied to an advertisement for the “Whole Earth Catalog” with these words:

“I lived like this when I was a child. I have no desire to return to it”

John F. Hultquist
March 25, 2017 12:03 pm

I replied above under ristvan @ 10:41; see note there. Here is the link, again.

Albert Brand
March 25, 2017 12:05 pm

I had the unfortunate experience of having my natural gas turned off for 9 days in December this year. Luckily my heat is oil or I would have been in big trouble. I could not cook or bake or heat water or dry clothes for that time. It was a real inconvenience. I used a hot plate to cook and managed just fine. To not have electricity for that long stretch of time would be disastrous. Most of the elites in this area have put in uninterruptible gas powered generators. They don’t worry.

March 25, 2017 12:22 pm

I am celebrating with a big outdoors fire!

Reply to  Grant
March 25, 2017 12:40 pm

What a coincidence! So am I. Come on over. Beer’s on me!

March 25, 2017 12:44 pm

Nice. Greenies demonise people. Without people the world would be a better place. Really?

The first link is busted. Google search “Ross mckitrick electricity” for some link serendipity.

John F. Hultquist
Reply to  Powderburns
March 25, 2017 1:05 pm
Reply to  John F. Hultquist
March 25, 2017 3:42 pm

That was good. We need some new Saints. The unheralded toiling gnomes and dwarves of our great industrial age. There is a magic in electricity, a get-down-on-your-knees roar in jet engine tech, a worshipable egalitarianism in the internet age. The real barbarians shun all this and would have us back in caves, under their green boot.

Gary Kerkin
March 25, 2017 12:52 pm

Earth Hour? My lights are turned off for most of, if not more than, 16 hours every day!

Big Al
March 25, 2017 1:06 pm

I lived in a village in southern Mexico for six months. No electricity, no indoor pluming. Used a well built indoor wood stove built out of mud. I was allot of work for my wife!

Reply to  Big Al
March 25, 2017 1:21 pm

Carrying water from wells is the main activity of women in the undeveloped, ie unelectrified, world.

Joel O’Bryan
March 25, 2017 1:06 pm

The Earth Hour meme is simply a manifestation of virtue signalling.

Virtue Signalling –
the action or practice of publicly expressing opinions or sentiments intended to demonstrate one’s good character or the apparent moral correctness of one’s position on a particular issue.

Ross’s McKitrick’s explanation above vividly shows the moral bankruptcy of the Earth Hour idea. What is lacking on the Left is critical thought on the issue of energy use and its sources in today’s modern world.

K. Kilty
March 25, 2017 1:18 pm

That satellite photo verifies that the Seoul-Incheon area is nearly one half Korea’s wealth.

Reply to  K. Kilty
March 25, 2017 4:25 pm

Looks like the Korean fishing fleet off the coast makes up the other half.

March 25, 2017 1:20 pm

The one white dot is where the very special piggies live.

March 25, 2017 2:16 pm

I stopped caring about it, a long time ago.

March 25, 2017 2:44 pm

I still celebrate earth hour sort of like happy hour. I crack open a brew and raise a toast to Maxwell, Tesla and all the other scientists and engineers who make cold beer (and lots of other neato stuff) possible.

Pat Lane
March 25, 2017 3:03 pm

I always turn on every light in the house.

Next year I want to hire searchlights and buy a few tanks of CO2 to release into the atmosphere.

Reply to  Pat Lane
March 25, 2017 3:46 pm

Burn some tyres, some cans of old sump oil and a few aerosol cans, Pat.
That should do the trick!

March 25, 2017 3:08 pm

I would like to donate to an advocacy watch group on this day.

Neil Jordan
March 25, 2017 4:51 pm

Thank you for the reminder for this abominable forgettable ceremony. In an earlier post I noted that I would be turning on lights and lighting my RR lantern to liberate some CO2. In lieu of the RR lantern, I will be firing up my 2-mantle gasoline lantern. That will liberate not only CO2, but also some Thoron (Radon-220) to throw the Earth Hour types into conniptions.

March 25, 2017 4:57 pm

If you’re wondering what this has to do with science, you’re certainly not alone. The answer, of course, is nothing. These issues are the primary concern of revisionist historians and social justice warriors, not empirically-minded scientists.

Why This Scientist Won’t be Attending the ‘Science March’

Patrick MJD
March 25, 2017 5:00 pm

And those who do turn their lights off forget, or rather are ignorant of, the fact the power stations are still spinning and still burning fossil fuels.

March 25, 2017 5:11 pm

The math doesn’t seem to add up.

Despite a mild winter which saw Ontarians conserve electricity, hydro rates are set to increase next month because we saved too much energy.

It defies logic but that’s the reason given by the Ontario Energy Board for the 2.5 per cent increase announced on Thursday. And it seems no matter how much we save, more rate hikes are likely on the horizon according to one energy expert.

“Conservation drives higher rates,” said electricity expert Tom Adams, who says the weather plays no role in the cost of hydro.

“Cold winters, rates go up. Warm winters, rates go up.”

But a spokesperson with the Ontario Energy Board, the group that sets the rate, says it has set costs that need to be covered.

“This winter was milder than expected, we consumed less electricity and collected lower revenues than forcast. So this time we have to make up for the difference,” said Ceiran Bishop, manager for electricity rates and prices.


Reply to  clipe
March 25, 2017 5:49 pm

It’s an electric bill catch-22. 😐

Reply to  clipe
March 26, 2017 2:38 am

It also happened in Canberra in the last drought. The revenues from water consumption were lowered so much the company had to raise the rates.

Reply to  clipe
March 26, 2017 9:01 am

Sounds a lot like the banks. Interest rates down so they upsell anything. Of course, in the banks’ case they don’t care if you need it or not.

At least Hydro actually provides something, overpriced though it is.

March 25, 2017 5:12 pm

Once I tried turning on all my lights during Earth-Hour, mainly to irritate a neighbor. But there were so many of them that I had to give up after about 40. It suddenly struck me that I was also irritating myself.

Jeff Labute
March 25, 2017 5:27 pm

So, if I turn off my 10W LED bulb, while running my 2000W clothes dryer, someone will notice? (Other than me?)

Reply to  Jeff Labute
March 25, 2017 5:32 pm

I’ve been saving up all my most energy-intensive applications for this occasion, to include dish and clothes washer. Will also be sure to watch TV while recharging all electronic devices.

March 25, 2017 5:59 pm

Earth hour makes the dreams of Nikola Tesla a sham and makes him roll over in this grave.

March 25, 2017 6:07 pm

I’ll just be happy with the big, smoky assed fire I kept smoldering along all day. Happy EARF DAY!!!!!!

March 25, 2017 6:28 pm

Ross mentions hospitals needing electricity for people with cardiac malfunctions.
The heart of all ivivg creatures that have one depends also on a continuous supply of electricity. Nature designed the heart, not Man.
This is another example of good coming from a continuous electricity supply.

March 25, 2017 6:41 pm

Another day, another communist based holiday adopted by the left.

March 25, 2017 6:43 pm

I did my part. I had all my lights on and invited neighbors to come have a drink with me provided they turned on their lights. Surprisingly, virtually my entire bloc ended up at my house.

Reply to  Mohatdebos
March 25, 2017 8:00 pm

Wish I could be there!

Reply to  Mohatdebos
March 26, 2017 10:04 am

How inventive!

March 25, 2017 7:35 pm

If it wasn’t for WUWT I wouldn’t have even known, why give this silliness more promotion than it deserves?

March 25, 2017 8:00 pm

All the lights are on as off. NOW !

Reply to  asybot
March 25, 2017 8:01 pm

Even running the car!

March 25, 2017 8:52 pm

I love electricity, am extremely thankful for it and want it to stay. However, it “is” still a very valuable resource, and none of us should take it for granted by wasting it. Everything we have is a gift from God, and we shouldn’t be wasteful with anything we have been given.

My grandfather had an excess of money but was also very conservative with it, and if a light wasn’t being used, it was to be turned off. We use electricity when we don’t need to, and unnecessary lighting is especially wasteful (especially unshielded lights that waste light and electricity lighting up the sky rather than the ground), not to mention it covers up the amazing night sky God created for us. Look at a light pollution map and see how many of us now have to travel for hours to see God’s incredible night sky. Light is necessary and good, but it can be even more effective if shielded and would create less light pollution at the same time.

It is my hope that Earth Hour embraces our modern conveniences but encourages being good stewards with our resources. The better stewards we are, the more we can help those less fortunate. It is in this spirit that I enjoyed turning my lights out for Earth Hour. Plus, I really enjoyed just having candles lit. It was very peaceful. I will sleep well tonight. Goodnight everyone. 🙂

Ivor Ward
March 26, 2017 12:32 am

Thank you for reminding me. I managed to get the coal fire lit and all the lights on by 2030 UK time. From the look of my immediate neighbourhood I was the only one who took any notice of the whole stupid stunt either positively or negatively. Methinks the gravy train has hit the buffers.

Reply to  Ivor Ward
March 26, 2017 2:40 am

That would be awful to clean up.

Patrick MJD
March 26, 2017 1:38 am

Well, there has been no mention of Earth Hour on Aussie MSM all w/e, which is a surprise. What did get a mention was demolition of smoke stacks of a power station in New South Wales that was shutdown 5 years ago.

Seems to still be lots of coal onsite on the left.

Henning Nielsen
March 26, 2017 2:15 am

Only one mention of Earth Hour in Norwegian media so far as I can see, and that’s just the routine message of guilt and sin. As a local commenter put it: This night was the change to summer time, where one hour was lost, so we used that for EA.

March 26, 2017 6:48 am

Remember Reddy Kilowatt. He sings it well.

March 26, 2017 7:24 am

Thank you Dr. McKitrick for an excellent but short essay.

March 26, 2017 9:41 am

This is nothing but a joke —— Why not then also cut back and conserve ALL energy ( much of it pure waste and useless)

Reply to  Peter
March 26, 2017 10:15 am

Many people do that. Of course, with the added expense of useless sources like wind and solar, price is making people cut back. If it’s all renewableand actually affordable, I would guess people would just use more and more and more because there’s no reason to cut back. We can waste all we want then, if we can afford it. It’s so ecofriendly. (Yes, I am serious. Why conserve if it’s ecofriendly?) People will conserve when practical and not conserve when not. The rich will always waste, the poor will always involuntarily conserve. It’s the way human beings work and have since the dawn of time. You’re asking we rewrite human behavior, not change consumption patterns.

March 26, 2017 10:11 am

In addition to the Earth Hour nonsense, I was noting the effect of government interference with progress. I recently changed some bulbs to LED. After years of half-yellow light from CFLs, I have to point my lamp at the ceiling to keep it from being overly bright. I also am trying an LED with a light-sensor so it turns on a night only. My flashlights are all LED and very, very bright. Had the government stayed out of this, we would not have been subjected to the disaster known as CFLs. LED’s most likely would have grown in usefulness and decreased in price more quickly, saving the need to treat a CFL light bulb as “hazardous waste” and scaring people about mercury content, etc (One of my CFLs exploded when I went to change it out to LED. I didn’t panic, though I did wonder if it was somehow getting even with me for swapping it out!) All the mess could have been avoided and a truly useful technology—LED—would have come in on it’s own. Stop trying to push progress in government designated directions and stop trying to save the earth. It’s just making more and more messes.

Gunga Din
March 26, 2017 2:30 pm

Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores.

There are those who will jump on a comma in order to dismiss what was in the rest of the sentence.
From a US perspective, the left here will dismiss what he said simply because they’ll say that he was, somehow, implying that a woman’s place should be shackled to domestic chores.
Mark my words.
If this excellent post gains traction, that will be one of “points” brought up to dismiss it.
Just as many would dismiss what was said by many of the greats in America’s past because they were or once were slave owners.

Ron Williams
Reply to  Gunga Din
March 26, 2017 2:56 pm

Where are my slippers and pipe? Kidding…

Ron Williams
March 26, 2017 3:38 pm

Excellent point Gunga Din on lessening the burden of women doing manual mundane chores in the house due to electricity powered appliances that allows them to work more outside the home, which raises their standard of living for the entire family. Just think of the productivity gains that will occur both for women and children and family’s when affordable electricity is available for the entire planet. This alone should be a huge celebration for what humankind has accomplished with technology. Electricity has been, and will be the single largest development in the history of humankind for eternity to come. I can’t see anything more advanced than electricity ever being developed or being replaced by something that is ever any better.

British Columbia (BC Hydro) reports it saved 24 Mw/hr during earth hour last night. At an average retail rate of about $90 Mw/h here, that was $2160 Cdn in savings over any other regular Saturday night on a population base of 4.75 million people. BCH further reports that was increased by 9 kilowatt hours over 2015, the last year it has records for. Or an .81 cent gain since 2015 Earth Hour.

March 26, 2017 3:54 pm

My only issue was with fossil-fuel generated electricity. We couldeasily lose that and still keep electricity.

Reply to  RabbitDad
March 26, 2017 7:25 pm

Not easily. If we could, we most likely would have.

March 26, 2017 4:05 pm

For convenience I’ve created a page to house the essay and a PDF version suitable for framing and/or sharing:

Reply to  Ross McKitrick
March 26, 2017 5:57 pm

That’s great. I already sent a link to members of our family of this article on WUWT.

jim heath
March 26, 2017 4:31 pm

I was going to turn the lights of for an hour but seeing as SA turned all their lights off for several hours I thought they made up for it, so I left the fridge door open for an hour just to help.

Edward Katz
March 26, 2017 5:50 pm

We should scrap not only Earth Hour with its hypocrisy but also Earth Day, which is even more asinine.Mind you, fewer and fewer people are paying any attention to either one, so it won’t be long before they’ll go the way of the dodo.

Katie McCready
March 26, 2017 9:49 pm

And to add to McKitrick’s honest and down to Earth article, as a trained chemist burning candles which come from fossil fuels (unless they are beeswax candles) are less energy efficient and so much more polluting (carbon particles and carbon monoxide = incomplete combustion) than using the old light globes – light generated from electricity via burning coal where many emissions are removed prior to release of gases at the coal fired power plants.

thank you Ross again for old times sake (meaning years ago now) for your dismantling of the CRU’s ‘(East Anglia) “damn lies and statistics’ to fool the IPCC and all the other gullible people that perceived (could be possible) temperature increases are in FACT TO do with CO2 – it took 2 honest, hardworking and generous Statisticians (you and the other Mc) to do this- while I’m at it – I’m a proud Mc too.

March 27, 2017 2:58 am

“Earth Hour” is meaningless. If you really believe that the burning of fossil fuels is bad and your power grid includes fossil fuel burning plants then go out and turn off the main breaker to house and leave it off all of the time. It is your money that keeps the fossil companies in business. In addition to turning off the main breaker avoid making use of all goods and serviced that involve the use of fossil fuels. For most of Mankind’s existance Mankind has gotten along without the use of fossil fuels so you can do it too.

March 27, 2017 4:09 am

A couple of points. I probably believe in Santa Clause more than global warming, he at least brings happiness and joy. Forgot about release from household chores, electricity has allowed so many more people to indulge in the hobbies and personal interests because of the release from the burden of manual labour. If i could figure out a way to have my furnace and air conditioning on at the same time I would to celebrate this mess.

March 27, 2017 6:05 am

Earth Hour was more instructive to watch the media coverage and spin tactics than anything else. We turned on more lights and left them on all night.

March 27, 2017 3:14 pm

Although it takes a lot of time to set up four window-unit air conditioners on card-tables in my living room and set them to as low of a temp as they’ll go, then turn every light in the house on, Kick the stove on, open the fridge door, bump the furnace up, and start both cars with headlight beams on high and bricks on the accelerators… I think the hour-long walk I take every Earth hour actually does me a little good.

Russ Wood
March 28, 2017 7:05 am

Those of us living in the West of Johannesburg don’t have to try to exert ourselves. At least once a week (sometimes more often) the power to the area goes out for anything up to FOUR hours (but more usually 1 – 1.5). The City Power organisation of Johannesburg cannot provide a reason, other than ‘cable theft’ (for the copper). Personally, I put it down to the endemic corruption of the current ANC government, which allowed building after building in the area without sufficient thought to the power infrastructure, which is now seriously overloaded. See! There are power problems from directions other than’green’.

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