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2010 Earth Hour in California – just as ineffective as last year

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Watts Up With That?
March 28, 2010

Earth Hour has come and gone in California (8:30 to 9:30 PM PST) for 2010 without so much as a blip. In fact the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) power usage graph looks much like last year when there was also no discernible difference.

Using the graph provided by CAISO, here’s what Earth Hour 2010 looked like in California, can you spot where everybody turned off their lights?

California power use 3-27-10 from CAISO – Click for a larger Graphic 

FYI CAISO says on the graph page that: Sudden spikes in resource curve graph may indicate false data briefly reported by system

Here’s what Earth Hour in California looked like in 2009:

earth_hour_3-28-09_caiso California power use 3-28-09 from CAISO – Click for a larger Graphic 

Note the the drop in power you see  just prior to Earth Hour is normal. As proof, have a look at the Sunday after Earth Hour from last year:

3-29-09_caiso California power use 3-29-09 from CAISO – Click for a larger Graphic 

Some said last year that Earth Hour made a difference.  Well Treehugger doesn’t know how to read the graph, and assumes the drop they saw was not business as usual. See that little blip around 0700 on all three graphs? That’s the signature of streetlights all around California automatically shutting off because the photocells get enough light:

From the NOAA sunrise/sunset calculator, San Francisco sunrise on March 27th is:  7:02AM PDT. In Southern California, Los Angeles has a sunrise time of 6:47AM, which is why the “streetlights off” power drop is gradual for about 30 minutes starting before 0700 on the graphs.

If there was a big effect from Earth Hour, you’d see a step event like the street lights at 7AM as everybody turned off their home lights in California at 8:30PM (2030). Plus, the greens don’t seem to realize that no power plants get switched off, so there’s really no CO2 savings.  The power plants are run based on demand forecast. Short term spikes from well intentioned stunts really don’t make a blip of difference to CO2 emissions.

Earth Hour is a failure in California and according to Richard North at the EU Referendum, a failure in Britain too.

Feel free to post any power use graphs from other parts of the world in comments.

From commenter Bahumbug in the previous thread:

Here is a wonderful short article by Ross McKitrick regards Earth Hour via Donna Laframboise at nofrakkingconsensus

“The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity…. It invites people to become sanctimonious do-gooders by turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in service of some ill-understood abstract concept of “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of electricity.
I don’t want to go back to nature. Haiti just went back to nature. For humans, living in “Nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work to end poverty and disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.
…through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, our air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to be shamed into sitting in darkness for an hour, like naughty children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute, transcendent ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations. No thanks. I like visiting nature but I don’t want to live there, and I refuse to accept the idea that civilization is something to be ashamed of.
Ross McKitrick

Full article in pdf (single page) here

WWF would be better off preaching year round energy conservation than publicity stunts, but unfortunately publicity stunts are what wow the gullible and fill the till.

This article was posted: Sunday, March 28, 2010 at 7:00 am

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