Aiming for a darker world Update: Google’s hypocrisy

posted at 8:43 am on March 29, 2008 by Ed Morrissey

Global-warming advocates showed a hint of how they would run the world in Sydney, Australia, the first major city in the world to participate in Earth Hour. The city turned off its lights and its citizens had to rely on candles for their activities. Even Google celebrated it with a black background, asking people to turn off their electricity as well:

Sydney’s iconic Opera House and Harbour Bridge went dark Saturday night as the world’s first major city turned off its lights for this year’s Earth Hour, a global campaign to raise awareness of climate change.

The lights on the arch of Harbour Bridge were turned off at 8 p.m., followed shortly by the shells of the Opera House and other city landmarks. Most businesses and homes were already dark as Sydney residents embraced their second annual Earth Hour with candlelight dinners, beach bonfires and even a green-powered outdoor movie.

The city was noticeably darker, though not completely blacked out. The business district was mostly dark; organizers said 250 of the 350 commercial buildings there had pledged to shut off their lights completely.

Welcome to the fantasy of anthropogenic climate-change true believers. Their aspirations to make the world a little darker and colder came to life during Earth Hour, even while evidence mounts that their scientific hypotheses and models have serious flaws. Instead of handling legitimate scientific criticism as scientists, they have instead responded with obloquy and charges of heresy.

They do not want to find alternative energy sources that will fully replace what we have now. They want to reverse industrialization entirely, and they want top-down management of energy production to get it. They want a darker world, one in which candles replace light bulbs and the energy that runs the global economy — and has produced the best living standards in human history — gets rationed to satisfy the whims of statists and earth-worshipers.

There are many good reasons to work towards energy independence and the reduction of emissions from hydrocarbon-based energy production, but no good reason to cheer for darkness. Earth Hour is just another absurdity from a movement full of them.

Update: While Google scolds the rest of the world about turning off the lights, HA reader Simon Scowl directs our attention to this month’s Harper’s, which has an interesting look at Google’s plans to exploit cheap electricity in Oregon. Thanks to a boatload of government subsidies, Google located its new server farm on the Columbia River — where it will use enough electricity to light Tacoma, Washington.

But that’s not the best part. According to Harper’s, Google and its competitors have now started building data centers in places like Lithuania, Dublin, Siberia, and Shanghai. What do all these locations have in common? Except for Lithuania, where 78% of the power will be nuclear, all of them rely on carbon-spewing energy production with lower prices and fewer controls on emissions. So much for Earth Hour, eh?

Update II: Simon says (heh) that I had the wrong link for Harper’s.  I’ve fixed it now.


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And here Australia used to be cool. I guess it really is nothing without the Crocodile Hunter.

Capitana on March 29, 2008 at 8:25 PM

Not really; I meant the type of energy that would be used in the long term to get more energy.

calbear on March 29, 2008 at 7:42 PM

Ok, now you’ve lost me. I have no idea what you’re talking about. The type of energy used to get more energy? The most expensive form is the type we haven’t used yet? Not meaning to demean you but that’s just babble. Electricity is produced just like any other product. It’s manufactured commercially by making very large rotors turn very fast inside very large magnetic fields and sending the resultant current down wires and eventually ending up at your house. The drawback is that electricity manufactured in this manner can’t be stored. It has to be produced at the time it’s used. There is a method called pumped storage that sort of stores it but we won’t go into that here. The production method is the same no matter what the fuel, nuclear, hydro, wind, coal, oil, or gas turbine. Solar panels are not commercially viable yet so we’ll leave them out of the discussion. Before any of you greenie weenies go ballistic on that and start posting links to show how great solar is and how wonderful everythig will be once it becomes commonplace consider this. The largest solar panel installation right now is about 15 megawatts. Great! that wouldn’t run hotel loads on any moderate sized steam power plant, especially when the sun ain’t shining! What all this means is that aside from hydro the only way, at present, to produce electrical energy on a scale sufficient to supply the needs of our society and civilization is to burn something. Now exactly what would you like me to burn in order to make your refrigator light come on at 4am?

Oldnuke on March 29, 2008 at 8:25 PM

Does anyone know that an answer to this question:

“Turning off the lights at 8pm and then everyone turning them on at 9pm will create a surge that will use up more energy than what was conserved during the 1 hour hiatus”

Someone asked me this, but don’t know the answer.

Richard Romano on March 29, 2008 at 8:28 PM

At 8pm EST, all my lights are turned on, inside and outside, decorative spot lights shine brightly on my palm tree and house.

I believe most folks in my neighborhood don’t even know of this event, as I see the typical illumination (no dimmming, and nothing overt like mine), but I feel better as I use this as a way to repudiate the environmentalists with their Marxist agenda.

…. of course, my kids got a kick out of this as well. They are homeschooled and therefore haven’t been indoctrinated by the public schools presentations of Al Gore’s DVD.

- Tim

timinnc on March 29, 2008 at 8:40 PM

“Turning off the lights at 8pm and then everyone turning them on at 9pm will create a surge that will use up more energy than what was conserved during the 1 hour hiatus”

It depends on the type of load. But generally turning something off for an hour uses far less energy than the instantaneous starting current for all but the largest loads.

However, if the reduced demand causes any fossil powered generating plant to shut down and then re-start, the resultant pollution will be far greater than if the plant stayed running.

And further to the ongoing conversation, hydros can reduce load significantly, but there is no environmental benefit in that.

sweeper on March 29, 2008 at 9:05 PM

Richard Romano on March 29, 2008 at 8:28 PM

I’ve heard the same thing, and I would also love to know if it’s true.

loganthompson on March 29, 2008 at 9:07 PM

Oh.

loganthompson on March 29, 2008 at 9:07 PM

sweeper on March 29, 2008 at 9:05 PM

Shouldn’t be a load reject problem. I’m sure they’ll have load following units that will handle it. After all they handle it just fine when the lights go on and off normally. Street lights come on automatically at dusk and turn off in auto at dawn. People as a rule go to bed around the same time and get up around the same time. This won’t be any different.

Oldnuke on March 29, 2008 at 9:23 PM

Oldnuke on March 29, 2008 at 9:23 PM

The load following units, as you know, can only turn down so much.
I know nothing about the Austalian grid. But I don’t think that they generate much with Hydros in Eastern Australia. If a significant amount of load is shed, than plants using fossil fuels will have to come offline.

sweeper on March 29, 2008 at 9:44 PM

You know what this reminds me of??????????

Art vendors.

People will pay a million bucks for a bucket of extrament, and call it art.

To you and me, it’s a bucket full of sh*t. And we go on our way.

It is those that give it meaning, that gives it life.

If you don’t even pay attention to these fools, then they are just fools, and then they are fools, we know they are fools, they are free to be fools, and we can go about our way.

It is only when their foolishness is taught to our children, is implemented in bureaucratic policies, taxes, fines, and fees is when it is time that we put their lights out.

Freedom isn’t free, people, and the more the rest of realize this old warning, the better our lives will be.

Seven Percent Solution on March 29, 2008 at 9:45 PM

sweeper on March 29, 2008 at 9:44 PM

I don’t know what you’re familiar with but we used our coal plants as load followers and we could ratchet them right down to zero. Nukes were base loads and of course for what it was worth we kept hydros running base too since their fuel is inexpensive. It’s been a lot of years since I operated a fossil fueler, coal or oil so I’m not up on pollution controls that much. I know what I picked up talking to the fossil operators in our system but that’s about it. I do know that they didn’t have any problems load following, and I never heard of any pollution problems. And I would have heard about that.

Oldnuke on March 29, 2008 at 9:56 PM

They do not want to find alternative energy sources that will fully replace what we have now.

BTW, where can I read Ed’s praise of Al Gore who did just frigging that for his house?

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 9:59 PM

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 9:59 PM

Oh really? Just what alternative energy source did BigAl get for his bigolhouse?

Oldnuke on March 29, 2008 at 10:10 PM

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 6:25 PM

Have you read any of scientific journals on the make-up of Saturn and Uranus, before our probes proved that most all of the accepted beliefs were wrong?

Johan Klaus on March 29, 2008 at 6:49 PM

No, I’m sorry. I’m still working on “Lesbegue integral. What every patriotic American must know about this French invention.”

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 10:11 PM

Oldnuke on March 29, 2008 at 9:56 PM

Apparently Australia uses a market based 5 min and 30 min ahead wholesale market.

http://www.nemmco.com.au/

Without looking too deeply into their dispatch protocol, the least economical, (GT simple cycle?) would be the first offline. It wouldn’t be an issue if they turned the lights out an hour earlier than normal. It is an issue if they turn the lights off and then turn them back on.

sweeper on March 29, 2008 at 10:14 PM

Oh really? Just what alternative energy source did BigAl get for his bigolhouse?

I’ve no idea. Find out for yourself.

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 10:17 PM

sweeper on March 29, 2008 at 10:14 PM

This is not an unexpected load reject, they’ve had plenty of warning. From an operations standpoint it would not be a problem to react to and market protocols probably wouldn’t apply. The dispatcher would just call the station and tell them to ramp back at so much percent per minute.

Oldnuke on March 29, 2008 at 10:20 PM

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 10:17 PM

Nope, not that interested since I’m sure it’s bs in any case. And if you think any power company can guarantee you that the power coming through the wires to your house comes from a wind turbine then I’ve got swampland in Florida for you. Sounds wonderful, makes greenie weenies feel sooo good and increases the profit margin of the utility for no effort. A fool’s tax.

Oldnuke on March 29, 2008 at 10:25 PM

Nope, not that interested since I’m sure it’s bs in any case.

Got ya.

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 10:27 PM

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 10:27 PM

Nope you didn’t and you never will.

Oldnuke on March 29, 2008 at 10:34 PM

Nope you didn’t and you never will.

That’s right. I’m sorry. Well, luckily you have a circle of like minded people who do get it. If only it weren’t for the MSM conspiracy, everyone would.

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 10:37 PM

This all reminds me of the tools that tried the “let’s all jump at the same time” stunt to shift the earths orbit or some dumb crap.

LimeyGeek on March 29, 2008 at 10:45 PM

This all reminds me of the tools that tried the “let’s all jump at the same time” stunt to shift the earths orbit or some dumb crap.

Right. I remember a talk at Harvard on that. Wait… I don’t. But the good thing is this “analogy”, however dumb, suggests the author dislikes Al Gore. And if that isn’t a sufficient condition for intellectual merit then I don’t know what is.

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 10:49 PM

Al Gore will go down as the biggest cult leader since David Koresh or Jim Jones or …

BowHuntingTexas on March 29, 2008 at 10:51 PM

Genesis 1:2 & 3

Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters.
3 And God said, “Let there be light,” and there was light. 4 God saw that the light was good,

“Formless & empty” sort of like a liberal mindset.
And of course the New Testament says it better:

John 3:19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.

Now we know why these liberals want the lights out!

wepeople on March 29, 2008 at 10:55 PM

I will be damned if I will live in the 18th century to please 21st century religious fanatics. Those folk are as nutty as the Islamofascists. If I was a resident of any city that turned off my power for a pop religion I would sue them, each and every one till I never had to worry about paying for that power again!

Crackpots and religious nuts all.

JIMV on March 29, 2008 at 11:05 PM

Those folk are as nutty as the Islamofascists.

OK, at this point we’re only missing a Hitler analogy.

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 11:08 PM

I’ve no idea.

We know.

Jim Treacher on March 29, 2008 at 11:09 PM

We know.

Then educate the ignorant populace.

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 11:15 PM

My wife and I went to our neighbors tonight. Before we left I turned all of our lights on as a celebration of freedom and rebellion against radical environmenalism. I was raised to turn off unused light bulbs to save my parents money, not to contribute to a global socialism. For this one evening, however, lighting up the house felt pretty good.

gmbdds on March 29, 2008 at 11:17 PM

Before we left I turned all of our lights on as a celebration of freedom and rebellion against radical environmenalism.

But did you shop at a mall earlier in the day to punish the islamofascists? Cuz without that, frankly, what you did sounds like only half a sacrifice.

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 11:22 PM

“Those folk are as nutty as the Islamofascists.
OK, at this point we’re only missing a Hitler analogy.”

Hitler never tried to drag his industrial country back to the middle ages for a cult. Hitler was a mass murderer, not a Luddite.

JIMV on March 29, 2008 at 11:23 PM

Hitler never tried to drag his industrial country back to the middle ages for a cult. Hitler was a mass murderer, not a Luddite.

So in a way they are worse than Hitler.

Even better.

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 11:26 PM

I am like some others here. I had to run out for a couple of hours before 8:00 but I left on all of my house lights along with all of my radios, televisions, and anything else I could think of. Probably cost me a buck or two in energy, but what the heh….it felt really good.

JonRoss on March 29, 2008 at 11:28 PM

Look, you want to go live in a tree and eat only fruits that fall off the tree naturally and wear grass skirts and fig leaves then fine. Me, I’m going to lift up the control rods on the nuclear pile, dam the rivers and stick a turbine under the waterfall, but a spark to the hydrocarbon mix, slather the roof with solar panels and set that coal on fire!!

The point is to PROgress, not REgress.

Global warming is as scientific as Star Wars.

I am wondering something….Man has had the ability to harness fire for what, 50,000 years give or take a few (someone in the audience can give me the “correct” figure). Okay Greenies, assuming complete combustion (all the carbon goes to CO2) as a first approximation as that will make the calculations easier, how much CO2 has been pumped into the atmosphere by Man since he started to tame fire, just by fire alone; burning wood. Now add in the amount from whale blubber, candles and coal, from say 50,000 BC to 1900 AD. Compare that to oil and coal from 1900-2008 AD. We’ve been pumping CO2 into the atmosphere for tens of thousands of years and we can’t seem to stop a single Ice Age.

Bubba Redneck on March 29, 2008 at 11:43 PM

Me, I’m going to lift up the control rods on the nuclear pile, dam the rivers and stick a turbine under the waterfall, but put a spark to the hydrocarbon mix, slather the roof with solar panels and set that coal on fire!!

Whoopsie, typo.

Bubba Redneck on March 29, 2008 at 11:45 PM

Global circle-jerk.

RobCon on March 29, 2008 at 11:47 PM

Then educate the ignorant populace.

Перейти прыгать в озеро, вы коммунистических.

Jim Treacher on March 29, 2008 at 11:58 PM

Перейти прыгать в озеро, вы коммунистических.

Jim Treacher on March 29, 2008 at 11:58 PM

no no no… you did it all wrong. you are supposed to make some ego inflating remark with a link in it to a site that you don’t understand… i would have thought that would be clear by now.

TheCulturalist on March 30, 2008 at 12:43 AM

freevillage on March 29, 2008 at 10:17 PM

If you make a statement, you should at least be able to back it up.

Johan Klaus on March 30, 2008 at 2:22 AM

The man who invented the internet tells us we are the cause of the earth’s temperature to rise something like one half a degree the last hundred years and everyone turns their lights off for an hour!

Give ne a break! If you look at any company pushing any new method of supposedly lowering greenhouse gasses you will find one thing, they want to make lots of money. When was the last time we were duped like this?

tazmebro on March 30, 2008 at 4:36 AM

Fifty years ago, Americans had faith that we could and would use science and technology to solve many problems – and we have, and continue to.

But now, the popular belief seems to be that science can be reduced to performance art.

I have a couple of friends – intelligent, educated people – who participated in this global act of self-delusion.

The Rational Man may not be dead yet, but he is one sick puppy right now.

Adjoran on March 30, 2008 at 4:52 AM

“men love darkness rather than light……”

just sayin’

palefaced on March 30, 2008 at 5:39 AM

However, if the reduced demand causes any fossil powered generating plant to shut down and then re-start, the resultant pollution will be far greater than if the plant stayed running.

sweeper on March 29, 2008 at 9:05 PM

That’s why windmills save so little, if any pollution. Wind is intermittent, so backup fossil generation must be kept spinning on the ready, and ramped up and down to compensate for the constantly fluctuating supply of wind power. As you say, shutting down and re-starting can pollute far more than if the generation plants had just stayed running.

petefrt on March 30, 2008 at 9:17 AM

D’ya think the Google idiots in Mt. View powered down any of their servers during this period?

Let’s see their power consumption records each day for the month. Betcha they did absolutely nothing, but their employees feeeeeeeeeeeeel better, and it’s all about how you feeeeeeeeeeel, isn’t it?

Loooooooonacy!

SJBill on March 30, 2008 at 12:21 PM

It does my heart good to know that, with all my lights, tvs, radios, dvd players, etc on, I did my part to keep the balance.

brewser on March 30, 2008 at 1:11 PM

Al Goracle is a modern day snake oil salesman, nothing more. Wonder if he’s sold Tennessee on this crap…he couldn’t sell em on voting for him in the ’00 presidential election.

oldernslower on March 30, 2008 at 1:36 PM

So Al Gore is full of it, and Google is hypocritical.

On the other hand, my wife just bought me the T-shirt that says, “Save energy: wear a dirty shirt.” Which proves that denying global warming and talking about the hypocrisy of others is no match for a clever slogan and good marketing.

We’re doomed.

theregoestheneighborhood on March 30, 2008 at 7:15 PM

I am wondering something….Man has had the ability to harness fire for what, 50,000 years give or take a few (someone in the audience can give me the “correct” figure). Okay Greenies, assuming complete combustion (all the carbon goes to CO2) as a first approximation as that will make the calculations easier, how much CO2 has been pumped into the atmosphere by Man since he started to tame fire, just by fire alone; burning wood. Now add in the amount from whale blubber, candles and coal, from say 50,000 BC to 1900 AD. Compare that to oil and coal from 1900-2008 AD. We’ve been pumping CO2 into the atmosphere for tens of thousands of years and we can’t seem to stop a single Ice Age.

don’t forget all the wild fires that started and were never controlled.. hell, even back before (white) man got to North American the Native Americans couldn’t do anything regarding wild fires.. let it burn and get out of the way..

As for ‘Earth Hour’, I turned off ’60 minutes’..

DaveC on March 31, 2008 at 3:03 PM

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