Earth Hour: Lights off, nobody home
By LORRIE GOLSTEIN (external - login to view)
, QMI Agency
This Saturday, many Canadians will briefly shun electricity.
They’ll sit in the dark for an hour during the fourth annual Earth Hour, the WWF-inspired global “lights out” campaign, symbolically protesting man-made climate change.
Let’s hope those participating, starting at 8:30 p.m., think about this issue seriously, not superficially.
For example, it’s become trendy during Earth Hour to light candles indoors to celebrate the brief absence of electricity.
Problem is, this creates far more indoor air pollution than keeping the lights on.
And if you’re planning a bonfire to show your green credentials, sorry.
Burning wood emits greenhouse gases and air pollution.
In the First World, we’re lucky. We can choose fire over electricity for an hour to show (ineffectively) how “green” we are.
By contrast, 1.5 billion people in the Third World don’t have that luxury.
They don’t have electricity. They’re stuck with fire, fuelled by wood and animal dung, to heat, light and cook in their homes.
As a direct result millions die, every year, decades before their time, choking on indoor air pollution.
Only in the affluent West do we naively romanticize a world without electricity as one of shepherds tending their flocks. Those without electricity know better.
Without electricity, life is nasty, brutal and short. People must stop work when the sun goes down. They can’t preserve food or create sterile medical environments, or any of the other benefits of civilization which prolong life.
Ironically, they are particularly vulnerable to climate change.
A coal-fired electricity plant, however much denounced by First World greens, saves lives in the Third World compared to the alternative, even factoring in smog and pollution, which is why China builds one a week.
How will we face our grandchildren and tell them we did nothing to stop catastrophic death counts caused by climate change, demands today’s smug warmist.
Better ask him how he will face his grandchildren and tell them he campaigned for consigning hundreds of millions to catastrophe by denouncing the very forms of energy by which we powered ourselves out of the Third World, into the First.
No easy answers
In the real world, responsible choices are complicated and hard.
No easy answers can be found in computer models, vainly trying to predict the climate a century from now.
Contrary to what warmists believe, the choice is not a simple one between saving or destroying our planet by burning fossil fuels.
Rather, we must choose wisely in the face of multiple threats confronting humanity.
Understanding begins with realizing there’s no such thing as “good” or “bad” energy.
There’s just energy, each type with advantages and drawbacks.
Coal, oil and natural gas, in descending order, emit pollution and greenhouse gases but supply relatively cheap, reliable, life-giving, life-extending electricity.
Nuclear power emits neither, but costs more and produces radioactive waste.
Wind and solar power are “clean” but so unreliable and expensive at present that the more we prematurely force them on anyone, including ourselves, the more harm we do.
Why? Because this leads to unreliable electricity supply, skyrocketing prices, more poverty, more deaths and less green, since only societies which can feed their people, care about the Earth.
Finally, think, if you’re sitting in the dark, for an hour, about what it would be like to live that way, every hour, as 1.5 billion people do. Think hard.