Monday, November 1, 2010

It's time again for our stupid clock ritual

Posted By on Mon, Nov 1, 2010 at 2:29 PM

Listen up: Dicking around with the time on the clock does not more sunlight make. Regardless of whether or not we have clocks at all, the sun will not shine an hour longer, nor will darkness reign an hour longer, because we decide to collectively tinker with our mechanical and electric devices.

Further, not turning back the clock might be better for the environment. From The (UK's) Daily Mail:

According to researchers from the University of Cambridge, providing an extra hour of light in the peak evening period reduces electricity use.

If the clocks were not changed back to GMT in October, a least half a million tonnes of carbon emissions could be saved, they said.

Alan Smart, energy operations manager of National Grid, told the Energy and Climate Change select committee that comparing a weekday evening just before and just after the clocks went back showed lower peak electricity demand while the evenings were lighter.

In the autumn and spring, keeping British Summer Time (BST) could reduce peak electricity demand by the equivalent of the hourly output (1 gigawatt hour) of a large power station that would be providing power to around 100,000 homes, he suggested.

Overall, National Grid estimates there would be a small reduction in electricity use over the year if the clocks did not go back, but there would be no impact on domestic gas use.

The University of Cambridge researchers have shown that additional light in the evening can cut energy demand, with higher electricity consumption seen in the autumn and spring during GMT than BST.

And Dr Elizabeth Garnsey said a previous trial in the 1960s showed lighter evenings also reduced the number of road deaths by 100, and that tourism bosses were keen on providing an extra hour of light in the afternoon for tourists.

Read the entire article here.

P.S. Just to make things super confusing, time has already "fallen back" in some other countries. You should know, some iPhone users experienced a little glitch: read about it here.

By the way, our current "fall back" date was decided by the Bush Administration's 2005 Energy Policy. Here's the Wiki.

Interestingly enough, that policy was about saving energy and providing tax incentives to energy producers that avoid creating greenhouse gases. But, just five years later, according to the Associated Press and McClatchy (the news company that owns The Observer), "Many GOP Senate candidates doubt climate science." Is this their way of saying, "The planet's fucked, just keep on keepin' on ... grab all the money you can and run?"

Further reading:

Report: Global Economy Must Tally Environmental CostsThe New York Times

How conserving energy supports our troops and bolsters our national security:

Rhiannon "Rhi" Bowman is an independent journalist who contributes snarky commentary on Creative Loafing's CLog blog four days a week in addition to writing for several other local media organizations. To learn more, click the links or follow Rhi on Twitter.

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