Will I be switching off my lights this Saturday to celebrate Earth Hour? HELL NO! Geelong is opening their season against Fremantle, and I for one am looking forward to watching the Cats kick off their title defence.
Earth Hour is 60 minutes where all the greenies endow themselves with a sense of accomplishment and self-righteousness, as they hold their carbon dioxide-emitting candles, celebrating the fact that they are…abstaining from emitting carbon dioxide. Yes, that’s right…apparantly. The symbolism of the occasion fills them with a feeling of pride, as they wait out a full hour of their lives, eagerly awaiting the moment when they can flick the switches back on, so they can return to their X-Box 360s (they’ve got a lot of time to catch up on), turn the heat back on or maybe catch the end of the Cats-Dockers game. I’ll be waiting for you guys.
Previous Earth Hours have saved energy in the area of 2% for that hour, so let’s consider the effectiveness of this episode. We emit carbon dioxide somewhere in the area of 1.5ppm/year. Divide that by the number of days in a year, and divide that by the number of hours in a day and multiply that by the fraction of energy saved and we have withheld 0.00000342ppm worth of carbon dioxide emissions. This translates into 0.000000045°C of warming prevented, and unlike Michael Mann, I will show my work. (The equation is from Catastrophe Denied by Warren Meyer and has been multiplied by the IPCC’s “best estimate” for climate sensitivity.)
Then we consider the carbon dioxide released from Earth Hour-related practices; printing off stickers and posters, writing about it on energy-consuming computers and those pesky, little candles. I’ve also assumed that a 2% reduction is representative of the entire planet and that the IPCC is right in its climate sensitivity figure. Perhaps even this 45nK (that’s nanokelvins) figure is an exaggeration.
Yes, I know. “It’s the symbolism”, they say. “It will inspire others”, they say. Well, I think it’s symbolic of something else. They are keeping themselves in the dark, which is symbolic of the attitudes of the extreme environmentalists towards modern civilisation, as they temporarily abandon what is perhaps its most important invention; the light bulb, among other appliances. For this brief period, even those who aren’t hardcore environmentalists become part of this pre-agricultural fantasy. It brings us a little closer to North Korea, a country where it is Earth Hour every hour (except if you’re the spoiled rotten son of a dead, miniature madman). Instead, we should celebrate Human Achievement Hour.