Earth Hour

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The Sydney Morning Herald has just (about 2 hours ago) reported that:

This year, 26 cities joined Earth Hour as official partner cites, including — along with all of Australia's capitals — Atlanta, Bangkok, Chicago, Christchurch, Copenhagen, Dublin, Manila, Montreal, Odense, Ottawa, Phoenix, San Francisco, Tel Aviv and Toronto.

In the US, the lights were going out on San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, and Chicago's Sears Tower. North of the border, Canada was turning off the lights at Toronto's CN Tower and the floodlights at Niagara Falls.

In Britain, Brighton Pier was blacked out, and Prince Charles gave Earth Hour royal approval by turning off the lights at Highgrove House, his Gloucestershire home.

Now I do appreciate that it's very late in Sydney now, and the SMH's reporters want to be tucked up in bed at home, but that's no excuse for such shoddy reporting.

I can vouch that Brighton Pier was not blacked out. It may well be in three and a half hours time when Earth Hour reaches GMT, but right now it's still light outside, so there would be little point in having Earth Hour.

The lights on San Franscisco's Golden Gate Bridge have probably gone out, yes, but that's because the sun has just risen there — it's barely even breakfast time yet.

Earth Hour does not have the environmental benefits that its proponents claim. Preliminary statistics from Sydney suggest roughly a 10% dip in electricity consumption during the hour. That's an annual energy saving of 0.00114% — barely even a blip. Caroline Overington's scathing blog entry has more such info.

That having been said, Earth Hour does raise awareness for what is a very important global issue. And it is for that reason that lights in the Inkster household will be dimmed at 8.00 pm.