Saturday, March 28, 2009

Earth Hour

Today, Saturday, March 28, is Earth Hour, an annual international event organized by WWF to raise awareness of climate change in which participants switch off all their lights for one hour, beginning at 8:30 p.m. local time.

Christian Science Monitor has an interesting article, first giving some background info:

The first Earth Hour took place in Sydney in 2007, when 2.2 million million homes and businesses pledged to turn off their lights. The following year, the event went global, with the Golden Gate Bridge, the Coliseum, the Sydney Opera House, and the Coca-Cola billboard in Times Square all going dark. That year, 50 million people in more than 370 cities and towns worldwide switched off their lights.

This year, 2,848 cities, towns, and municipalities are joining the eco-blackout. The event’s organizers say that they are shooting for 1 billion people to participate.

But then raising the interesting question: If we light candles because we have turned the lights off:
Are the emissions from these candles worse for the climate than simply leaving the lights on?
Essentially the answer is: it depends.
  • if you try to replace the light output with candles, you will have a net carbon emission increase,
  • you will probably not do that, so there is a decrease
  • however, if you have already swapped your incandescentds for CFL's, you will probably have a net increase
  • using beeswax and soya candles will result in a decrease
So turn out the lights and sit in the dark for an hour, because Earth Hour doesn't necessarily make a difference - it is more about awareness than any concrete difference.

1 comment:

mantra2 said...

How much power would be saved if we shut down the internet for an hour?