Earth Hour Embarassment

Have you been reading all the follow-up stories documenting the huge cuts in electricity use during Earth hour?  Yeah, neither have I.  That is because there weren't any, at least in the US.  Apparently our local Arizona utilities couldn't really find any statistically significant drop in usage.

But here is the embarrassing fact for the City of Phoenix, though the fact appears to be one year old:

The drop-off in participation might be tied to Phoenix not being a key participant like it was in 2008.

The city spent $3,000 in overtime for employees to run around and shut off lights last year, said the mayor's spokesman Scott Phelps.

We seriously paid for that last year?  Unbelievable.

Somehow the lack of participation was spun in the article as "It was a global vote for action on climate change."  Probably why I could never be a media flack - no way I could say that with a straight face.

By the way, the Coyote family celebrated Earth hour by consuming big slabs of methane-producing cow at Ruth's Chris.

Update: The feed header for the AZ Republic article linked above reads "Arizona shrugged off Earth Hour while much of the rest of the globe turned off lights Saturday night."  Really?  Much of the rest of the globe turned off lights?  I must have missed the evidence, or even mention of this, in the article.


  1. rxc:

    Why does the environmental movement trumpet a non-event? Because they are trying to change the entire thought process of the planet, and in order to succeed, they have to continuously invent this stuff and distribute it, so that the message is hammered into people's minds all the time. The messages have to support their position, so they just make stuff up when the facts do not comport with their vision of how things should really be.

    Really, they just MAKE STUFF UP. And they have no compunctions about this, because their mission is great and important, and anything that furthers it is worth doing or saying. ANYTHING

  2. ben:

    Really? Much of the rest of the globe turned off lights? I must have missed the evidence, or even mention of this, in the article.

    Maybe they counted North Korea 365 times. The whole country goes dark at 9pm every day.

    The first Earth Hour in Sydney two years ago was more embarrassing. The drop in electricity in the hour itself was 2.1%, statistically indistinguishable from zero according to a U of Chicago study. But what's funny is that there was a huge spike in electricity use the hour before that appeared to overwhelm the in-hour savings. Even worse, the pre-Earth Hour spike was large enough to produce a daily peak in Sydney electricity usage, and its peaks that drive demand for generation capacity, and a rule of thumb is that marginal peak generating capacity comes from the dirtiest sources.

    So Earth Hour is almost certainly a negative for the environment - it doesn't decrease and may increase total energy consumed, it produces peaky energy use, thus raising demand for new generation. Why isn't this front and center of Earth Hour promoters' thoughts abotu the merit of this idea? Is Earth Hour even about the environment?

  3. Lemon:

    To paraphrase Matthew Smart, "We have to lie and make things up, we're fighting for all the good and honest things in the world."
    Toronto was a flop - I have a pic on my blog - although the usual suspects declared it a huge success. My fave story is from Australia where the number of companies that participated declined by 2/3s

  4. delurking:

    I turned off all of the lights on Saturday night.
    I turn off all of the lights every night.
    Doesn't everybody?
    What is Earth hour? Is it like Earth Day used to be,
    but no one wanted to do it for a whole day?

  5. Jim Collins:

    What cracks me up about the whole thing is that most of the lights that were turned off during "Earth Hour" were flourescent lights. Once you shut them off it takes more electricity to restart them than they use in an hour. This might have something to do with there being no net savings.

  6. Preston Speed:

    My employer participated in Earth hour this year. Of course, they never run the HVAC on the weekends and the lights are motion-sensitive. Without someone here working late, they don't come on anyway. That's about as significant as me honoring "Vegan Hour" last night by not eating between 3AM and 4AM.

    Restaurants like Ruth's Chris will keep me from ever making that pledge during waking hours though.

  7. Dunrobin:

    I was so pissed off at myself Sunday morning when I realized that I had completely forgotten about "Earth Hour" the night before. I had planned on turning ON every light and appliance in the house. Oh well, at least I had all the usual gizmos going. ;-D

  8. jv123:

    I only remembered(to turn on all exterior lights) because I was on the net and Google had something on their web page about it. I was watching a movie with my wife when the timer went off(I had set it previously so that I would not forget). I hit pause; I then proceeded to turn on all exterior lights. My wife was quite perplexed because I always, always turn lights off. I am very frugal. .... after I sat back down... she started to laugh.
    I used my lights to vote. My vote %$#@ the environmentalists!

  9. Mesa Econoguy:

    I did my part.

    As promised, turned on almost all the lights, fired up the (rather large) stereo, turned on all TVs, opened the doors, turned on the AC (65), plugged-in some extra stuff, and took a nap.

  10. Allen:

    I went out that night but made sure to leave all my lights on at home, including my outside light.