Edison Hour vs Earth Hour

March 28, 2009

While some people are returning to the dark ages and increasing their carbon emissions by celebrating Earth Hour they’re facing supposedly enlightened competition from Edison Hour.

And me? I’m not deliberately using more or less electricity than usual, but we went out for dinner (Speights Ale House in Wanaka, Morrocan lamb salad, delicious; took the waitress’s advice that the Sheep Shagger pinot noir was for tourists and enjoyed a Mt Difficulty  Roaring Meg instead) and as we were paying the bill at 8.28 the lights dimmed.

We had walked there and walked home, as we usually do, noting that it was pretty dark, but then Wanaka always has the bare minimum of street lights. That’s because most residents prefer it that way because less light pollution lets them appreciate more stars in the sky.

I think that means we observed earth hour by accident and by doing so we burned neither candles nor bonfires, used no batteries and no petrol, so we probably did more for the planet than a lot of people who deliberately turned their lights off but created more carbon with alternative sources of heat and light.

P.S. Thanks to Madeleine who left a comment on the previous post which pointed me to Keith Ng at Public Address who sees the flaws in both earth hour and Edison hour:

I was inspired to write the first part of this after hearing of people who turned off all the lights during Earth Hour, then lit up their fireplaces and burned candles instead. From sixth form chemistry: Burning organic material (like wax and wood) produces CO2. Tell your friends. . .

. . . Going out of your way to waste energy is the antithesis of technological progress and human enterprise, so don’t you dare claim to be on the side of rationality and science.

Lucyna Maria at NZ Conservative  is also neither sacrificing anything to the green god nor joining Edison hour.

And Frenemy has a photo of the dark.


Irony by candle light

March 28, 2009

Just as I suspected when I suggested earth hour is greenwash,   the attempts to reduce carbon emissions may in fact increase them.

Several comments left on that post are worth highlighting:

From Pointer 2:

From The Courier Timaru edition 26 March p5 “Woodbury event to mark Earth Hour” (not online)

“At 8.30 we will switch off the lights and gather around a bonfire. There will be time for discussion and reflection and maybe a bit of singing,” Mr Polman said.

“we’re asking people to bring a torch, storm lantern or a tealight in a glass jar, and to switch off the lights and appliances before they leave home.”

Totally bizarre isn’t it! Carbon emissions from bonfire? Industrial pollutants from batteries? I’m not even going to comment on the noise pollution from many verses of Kumbayah. None of this seems to count as much as the futile gesture of switching off relatively clean electrical incandescent bulbs and bathing in the glow of self-righteousness instead. No wonder the Green party keeps exceeding 5%.

From Stephen Stratford:

Where I live people throughout the region are being encouraged to support Earth Hour by attending Nightglow, an event at Waikato University. The promotional material says that the main carpark has 5000 spaces, and there are two other carparks for when it is full. What a great way to reduce emissions.

He carried the story from The Age  on Quote Unquote about businesses which supported earth hour last year increasing their carbon emissions since then.

From Mr Dennis:

Modern candles are made from parrafin wax – ie oil. It is quite laughable all these greenies giving up their clean hydro-electricity to burn oil to save the planet.

And they’re mainly made in China. What’s the bet the same people who would be right behind protectionist “Buy NZ Made” campaigns are the ones pushing for people to give up their NZ made electricity to burn Chinese candles tonight?

He has more on his blog.

Irony by candle light, assisted by battery powered torches and transported by cars.

If only the people promoting the greenwash could see the humour in this they’d smile enough to brighten their Saturday in an appropriately carbon neutral manner.


Saturday’s smiles

March 28, 2009

A man walks into a bar with his dog, but the barman tells him, “No dogs allowed.”

“It’s OK, this is no ordinary dog” the man responds. “This is a talking dog. I’ll show you.”

He turns to the dog and asks, “What grows on trees?” and the dog replies, “Bark, bark.”

“What’s on top of a house?” the proud owner asks and the dog says, “Roof, roof.”

“What’s the opposite of smooth?” is the next question and the dog responds, “Rough, rough.”

But the barman is unimpressed and throws them out.

The dog is puzzled and asks his owner, “Which one did I get wrong?”


Earth hour smoke and mirrors

March 28, 2009

The Fire Service has issued a warning about the dangers of candles during earth hour.

This makes me wonder:

 * What impact will all those candles have on carbon emissions?

* Does this mean that earth hour will literally generate more heat than light?

* Is earth hour, like many other sacrifices to the green gods, really just smoke and mirrors?

In support of the last question, I read somewhere yesterday (but can’t find the link anymore) that several businesses which supported earth hour actually increased their carbon emissions and their association with the cause was just greenwash. *

So the lights in my house will be on or off as normal tonight because I’m not interested in campaigns based on emotion rather than science and feel good efforts which at best do nothing and may even make the problem worse.

Apropos of this:

Not PC  has something to keep in mind during earth hour

Whaleoil spots the idiots

No Minister has some earth hour fun

UPDATE:

Keeping Stock is keeping his lights  on from which I learned about M& M  and their anti-earth hour.

Mickey Muses has hot news on hot tips on hot air.

UPDATE 2: * the bit about businesses increasing emissions was from The Age  via Quote Unquote:

An analysis of the key sponsors of Earth Hour (among them Fairfax Media, owner of The Sunday Age) reveals that most have reported increased emissions in their most recent figures.

Just as I said – it’s greenwash and it’s inciting PM of NZ to use even more fuel and electricity.


The earth moved

March 28, 2009

There was a rumble and some swaying sometime before dawn and I wasn’t quite sure if I was dreaming.

But the ODT informs me that the earth did move this morning:

Large parts of the South Island were shaken by a 4.9 magnitude earthquake early this morning.

The quake, which hit at 5.46am, was centred 10km west of Twizel at a depth of 15km.

When we’ve been travelling in other countries or hosting overseas visitors here, earthquakes often come up in conversation. I suspect this is because reports of earthquakes are over represented in the few news reports which mention New Zealand in international media.

But just as people in Australia accept snakes as a fact of life, and notwithstanding expert advice that one day we’ll experience a biggie, the occassional reminder that we live in the shakey isles like this morning’s tremor, is accepted as an act of nature and leaves most of us unmoved.

UPDATE: Thanks to Pique Oil who pointed to Geonet which shows the seismorgraph recordings of the quake.


Ag outlook brighter than other sectors

March 28, 2009

The outlook for agriculture is brighter, or at least less gloomy, than for most other sectors according to the EU Prospects for Agricultural Markets  which covers the period from 2008 to 2015.

 The global financial crisis will have an impact in the short term but the medium outlook is more positive with a gradual recovery in commodity prices and:

  • the growth in global food demand,
  • the development of the biofuel sector and the
  • long-term decline in food crop productivity growth.

 The report points to lower production of milk and meat in the EU which means less competition for New Zealand produce. 

While yesterday’s announcement that our gross domestic product declined .9%  in the December quarter is sobering, agriculture outperformed other sectors:

SNZ said primary industry activity increased 1.6 percent in the December quarter, while activity in goods producing industries fell 3.6 percent.

A rise in agriculture production was mainly driven by increased dairy production. For the December year activity in primary industries increased 0.9 percent, compared to an increase of 3.6 percent for the year to December 2007.

 The role meat and milk will play in our economic recovery was noted by AgResearch chief executive Andy West when he stressed the importance of research and development.

He cautions that R&D spend should not be curtailed as credit facilities dry up around the world.

While he doesn’t see any evidence of a decline in pastoral R&D spend in New Zealand, he agrees that it has come under pressure during the economic crisis.

. . . It is the single most important sector that will help us get out of the economic crisis,’ he told Rural News. ‘We have to export our way out and the dairy and meat sectors need all the assistance they can get.’

If the South Island field days are anything to go by, agriculture is not just the most important, it’s also one of the most positive sectors.

The Press reports that opening day numbers were up and while farmers were showing caution, they weren’t mentioning the r word.

And TV3 said that  recession was a dirty word among the farmers they spoke to.

It’s possible they only interviewed the optimists. No-one is saying that farming is booming, but the mood in the paddocks does seem to be more cautious than depressed and the EU forecast suggests a brighter outlook in the medium term.

Hat Tip: Phil Clarke’s Business Blog


Where there’s milk . . .

March 28, 2009

The grapevine reckoned that Don Brash and Keith Turner (former National leader and CE of Meridian Energy respectively) had been showing interest in a dairy farm that’s for sale in our neighbourhood.

The farm’s still on the market but Rural News reports  that the two men are directors of New Zealand Milk which is planning to build a factory to produce skim and whole milk powder near Glenavy, just north of the Waitaki river.

If it goes ahead, South Canterbury suppliers will be spoiled for choice. New Zealand Dairies has a factory at Studholme, near Waimate, and Fonterra has a factory at Clandeboye, north of Timaru. 

In spite of the uncertain outlook for commodities in international markets, this indicates that there’s still plenty of people who believe that where there’s milk there’s money to be made.


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