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Earth Hour in Melbourne A Failure

Last night was the highly publicized Earth Hour which today as expected the Australian media is touting as this great success:

EARTH Hour returned to Australia tonight, with Sydney’s postcard-perfect harbour again temporarily plunged into darkness.

At 8pm (AEDT), the Harbour Bridge and its neighbouring Opera House dimmed from flood-lit tourism icons to still recognisable silhouettes.

Only security lighting remained on the structures, while elsewhere in Sydney’s CBD, the office towers glowed rather than blazed against the night.

As lines of office lights inked out, a crowd of about 100 people at the harbourside park of Mrs Macquarie’s Chair cheered.

“Earth Hour is a call to action. People have now responded and it’s time to introduce some significant long-term changes,” Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore said at an official Earth Hour function at the park.

“One inspired idea that began in Sydney just 12 months ago has become a world movement,” she said. [AAP]

However in Melbourne, Earth Hour was a failure:


Melbourne Before


Melbourne After

The Arts Center and its spire was nearly the only building that turned off its lights. The Age got caught last year Photoshopping their Earth Hour pictures in order to make it appear more people turned off their lights then really did. Since they couldn’t get away with Photoshopping pictures this year The Age despite their attempts to gloss over this failure ultimately had to admit instead had to admit that Earth Hour was anti-climactic:

At the top of the Rialto, a small crowd had a sense of anticlimax when there was no widespread blackout at 8pm. In fact, across the CBD rows of illuminated office windows, with little sign of beavering workers behind them, showed not everyone had read the memo. [The Age]

Funnier yet was that Carlton and St. Kilda were playing their night time footy game in the Telstra Dome last night with full lighting. To further emphasize the failure check out the energy demand of Victoria last night from the National Electricity Market Management Company:

Total Energy Demand for Victoria:

If you look at 20:00 (8PM) when Earth Hour started, the demand for energy actually increased in Victoria. It wasn’t just Victoria either, look at the energy demand for the rest of Australia:

Total Energy Demand for New South Wales:

Total Energy Demand for South Australia:

Total Energy Demand for Queensland:

Total Energy Demand for Tasmania:

Looking at these graphs I have to wonder what was going on in South Australia last night at midnight? Energy demand went through the roof. You can also tell by this graph that not a whole lot is going on at night in Tasmania considering their energy demand dropped to next to nothing.

As for myself all the lights in my house were turned off last night, not because of Earth Hour, but because my wife and I had a dinner party put on by my employer to go to which yes all the lights were on. We turned the lights off at our house simply because that is what we always do when we leave the house. The functions we went to was scheduled for months and the organizers decided to hold the function even though the Earth Hour was going on.

The Earth Hour did provide some good discussion at the event last night though with many people I talked to believing that Earth Hour was ultimately pointless and symbolic at best. Many wondered why doesn’t the government do something to create more non-CO2 polluting electricity so people do not have to feel guilty about having their lights on? Another friend of mine may a great point that the Australia 2020 Summit is going to be as pointless as Earth Hour. Instead of the 2020 Summit the government should have an 2020 Energy Summit to come up with an ultimate solution to what the nation is going to do in regards to generating more non-CO2 polluting electricity by 2020.

However, such a summit would require tough political decisions to made; it is much more simple just to ask people to turn off their lights instead.

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