I abhor Earth Hour

Ross McKitrick articulates my own poorly-formed thoughts on Earth Hour in clear sentences which perfectly describe important aspects of the civilisation we stand in. I hope you find the same. – RT

Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness

• Guest post •

Professor Ross McKitrick

Ross McKitrick. Guelph is in Ontario, Canada.

In 2009 I was asked by a journalist for my thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour. Here is my response.

I abhor Earth Hour. Abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century. Every material social advance in the 20th century depended on the proliferation of inexpensive and reliable electricity. Giving women the freedom to work outside the home depended on the availability of electrical appliances that free up time from domestic chores. Getting children out of menial labour and into schools depended on the same thing, as well as the ability to provide safe indoor lighting for reading.

Development and provision of modern health care without electricity is absolutely impossible. The expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition, depended on being able to irrigate fields, cook and refrigerate foods, and have a steady indoor supply of hot water. Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. This causes local deforestation and the proliferation of smoke- and parasite-related lung diseases. Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations. After all, that’s how the west developed.

The whole mentality around Earth Hour demonizes electricity. I cannot do that, instead I celebrate it and all that it has provided for humanity. Earth Hour celebrates ignorance, poverty and backwardness. By repudiating the greatest engine of liberation it becomes an hour devoted to anti-humanism. It encourages the sanctimonious gesture of turning off trivial appliances for a trivial amount of time, in deference to some ill-defined abstraction called “the Earth,” all the while hypocritically retaining the real benefits of continuous, reliable electricity. People who see virtue in doing without electricity should shut off their fridge, stove, microwave, computer, water heater, lights, TV and all other appliances for a month, not an hour. And pop down to the cardiac unit at the hospital and shut the power off there too.

I don’t want to go back to nature. Travel to a zone hit by earthquakes, floods and hurricanes to see what it’s like to go back to nature. For humans, living in “nature” meant a short life span marked by violence, disease and ignorance. People who work for the end of poverty and relief from disease are fighting against nature. I hope they leave their lights on.

Here in Ontario, 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 with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.

Ross McKitrick
Professor of Economics
University of Guelph

– See more at http://www.thegwpf.com/ross-mckitrick-earth-hour-celebrates-ignorance-poverty-and-backwardness/

h/t Global Warming Policy Foundation

Views: 360

7 Thoughts on “I abhor Earth Hour

  1. Andy on 01/04/2015 at 7:47 am said:

    Earth Hour used to be quite big in Christchurch. Then the earthquakes came and we had no electricity and it wasn’t that great.

    So we don’t talk about it any more.

  2. Richard Treadgold on 01/04/2015 at 10:25 am said:

    Andy, that’s the shortest, saddest story I’ve ever read. It also perfectly makes McKitrick’s point. Thank you.

  3. Crikey Mikey on 02/04/2015 at 12:17 am said:

    I was thinking about it today, actually, under the North Canterbury sun as I split firewood using diesel power. I was thinkin’ was I, that I am an energy company. A frickin’ carbon releasing, gas guzzlin’, organically grown meatlovin’ pizza-crankin’ cherry munchin’ philosophising energy company. I’m splitting the carbon so the old folks and young families can have warm. They are happy to pay my below-market rates for blocks of carbon-based-after-sun-warmth, and I have some selfish illusion that I am doing some good in my little corner of this amazing universe. But I am in the pay of Big Energy. Don’t tell anybody – it will ruin my reputation.

  4. Richard Treadgold on 02/04/2015 at 9:27 am said:

    Sparkling, bouncy words, Mikey!

  5. Richard C (NZ) on 03/04/2015 at 3:15 pm said:

    ‘The pagan roots of Easter’

    [The Guardian] – From Ishtar to Eostre, the roots of the resurrection story go deep. We should embrace the pagan symbolism of Easter

    Easter is a pagan festival. If Easter isn’t really about Jesus, then what is it about? Today, we see a secular culture celebrating the spring equinox, whilst religious culture celebrates the resurrection. However, early Christianity made a pragmatic acceptance of ancient pagan practises, most of which we enjoy today at Easter. The general symbolic story of the death of the son (sun) on a cross (the constellation of the Southern Cross) and his rebirth, overcoming the powers of darkness, was a well worn story in the ancient world.


    # # #

    For the Greens:
    Easter = Pagan festival and celebration
    Earth hour/month = Pagan festival and celebration

    In other words, people are being proselytized into the Pagan religion, unbeknownst to them, by their observance of Earth Hour.

    Not being a Paganist myself and never will be, this is why I abhor Earth Hour.

    Similarly, not being a devout Muslim, or even a slothful one, I don’t pray five times per day, each time bowing down to face Mecca (Umm al-Qura, the “Mother of Cities”) and neither do I plan to undertake a pilgrimage, a hajj, to Mecca once in my lifetime during the Muslim month of Dhu-al-Hijah (the twelfth lunar month).

    Mother Earth (Gaia), Mother City (Mecca), neither have religious or secular symbolism on my calendar.

    Sorry, but no.

  6. Richard C (NZ) on 03/04/2015 at 3:34 pm said:

    [The Guardian] – “Today, we see a secular culture celebrating the spring equinox”

    In the Southern Hemisphere, in April? I don’t think so.

    Equinox, spring or autumn in April? Err no, March 20 22:45 (UTC) on my calendar.

  7. Andy on 03/04/2015 at 6:13 pm said:

    The Guardian, protecter of our moral liberal values, champion of free speech (except when you disagree with us) and advocate against tax avoidance for corporates (except for The Guardian, who seem to find it OK to avoid tax on their Autotrader 600 million pound asset sale by setting up a shell company in the Caymans)

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