My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Monday, April 14, 2008

The truth about 'lights out'

The recent campaign was a's a great article by the Skeptical Environmentalist, Bjorn Lomborg...
Danish newspapers - coincidentally in the native country of the story of the Emperor's New Clothes - happily quoted the WWF regarding the event's overwhelming success. But the entire savings (assuming people didn't use more energy later in the night to make up for lost time) amounted to just ten tons of CO2 - equivalent to just one Dane's annual emissions for a full year. Measuring the avoided climate impact for the indefinite future, the entire combined efforts of the queen, many companies, and the city halls of Copenhagen and other cities yielded $20 worth of good.

Are pointless gestures really the way to secure a greener future? And what sort of message does turning out the lights send?

As some conservative commentators like to point out, the environmental movement has indeed become a dark force, not metaphorically, but literally. Indeed, urging us to sit in darkness will probably only make us realise how unlikely it is that we will ever be persuaded to give up the advantages of fossil fuels.

Curiously, nobody suggested that the "lights out" campaign should also mean no air conditioning, telephones, Internet, movies, hot food, warm coffee, or cold drinks - not to mention the loss of security when street lights and traffic signals don't work. Perhaps recruiting support would have been much harder had the Danes also had to turn off their heat.

Ironically, the lights-out campaign also implies much greater energy inefficiency and dramatically higher levels of air pollution. When asked to extinguish electric lights, most people around the world would turn to candlelight instead. Candles are cozy and seem oh-so-natural. Yet, when measured by the light they generate, candles are almost 100 times less efficient than incandescent light bulbs, and more than 300 times less efficient than fluorescent lights.

Moreover, candles create massive amounts of highly damaging indoor particulate air pollution, which in the United States is estimated to kill more than a 100,000 people each year. Candles can easily create indoor air pollution that is 10-100 times the level of outdoor air pollution caused by cars, industry, and electricity production. Measured against the relative decrease in air pollution from the reduced fossil fuel energy production, candles increase health-damaging air pollution 1,000-10,000-fold.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home