29 March, 2009

Idiot Hour

'Seven Days' or is it 'Five Days' now?) reports -

“[Dubai], Abu Dhabi and Sharjah were plunged into darkness yesterday as the UAE showed its commitment to fighting climate change by joining cities across the globe to observe Earth Hour. More buildings and homes than ever before marked the hour in Dubai by switching off non-essential lighting to make a stand on reducing global warming and carbon emissions.Lights were switched off or dimmed at landmarks across the emirate between 8.30pm and 9.30pm including the Burj Al Arab, Emirates Towers and Madinat Jumeirah, and at The Walk in Jumeirah Beach Residence hundreds of people gathered to stage a candlelit vigil.[…]"

Between 8:30 and 9:30pm on Saturday night another commitment was made over at Nad Al Sheba racecourse: the extraordinary commitment to illuminate the World’s richest horse race with an approximate 5 to 10million of Watts producing some 600milllion + lumens from sodium vapour floodlights above the race track. Now here is what I call commitment to “Earth Hour”!

The race meet started in the late afternoon and lasted well into the night. The same night hundreds of well meaning morons gathered at Jumeirah Beach Residence to hold candles into the rainy night with self-congratulatory grins on their faces. This warm feeling of being amongst like-minded folk in sandals….Doesn’t it always feel so…, like, right, to remonstrate with those who agree with you?

There is nothing wrong with the intention of saving energy, nor with actually doing it. Turn out the lights when you leave a room (unless there is someone else still in it). Don’t waste electricity, or water, or fuel - or anything, for that matter. But do not, please, pretend that your little futile gesture once a year at 8pm makes even a iota of a difference.

The CEO of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) is quoted in the article as saying that he “hoped that this year’s event would double the amount of energy saved last year”.
Mind you, that’s double of a relative saving made during one hour of 1/364th part of a year. If we measure success in millimetres then we are indeed making giant leaps!

Well, may I put forward a little suggestion here to the CEO of DEWA of how to save even more energy in a country that produces more carbon dioxide and uses more water per capita than any other country in the world:
Start by scrapping utility subsidies for the 10% of the population who consume nearly 40% of resources. Mr. DEWA, free water and discounted power for the local population is not likely to encourage conscientious use of energy. Duh. Imposing higher rates for everyone does. Levying a tax on fuel or simply increasing prices does. Fuel costs about 4 to 5 times less in the UAE than in Europe. People will drive smaller, more efficient cars if fuel prices go up.

There is scope to make a difference right HERE in front of our noses. And sorry Mr. DEWA, yes, you too might have to pay full price for your utilities. Then I shall talk to you about energy saving measures.

Let's recap: a minuscule energy saving made during one hour of one day of the year in the most consumerist and wasteful country on Earth (per capita) is being celebrated with candlelight vigils whilst at the same time an extra 5million plus Watts are spent on a nighttime race meet, which – let me stretch my perverted imagination here - couldn’t by any chance have been held during daytime hours? So as to, perhaps, make a difference?

As the saying goes. You can fool some people all the time and all people some time, but you can fool all those at Jumeirah Beach Residence holding candles all the time.

Now guys, stick your “Earth Hour” where it’s always dark and get down to saving energy proper.


Media Junkie said...

agree. this was a rather futile exercise compared to things that really can be done.

Kyle said...

Nick, I recall we had a similar discussion last year. That was fun but not as hard hitting & matter-of-fact, as this write-up.

And you really outdid yourself with this sticky-side-sunny-up bit;

Now guys, stick your “Earth Hour” where it’s always dark and get down to saving energy proper.

Missed you too ;)

Anonymous said...

Good one..100% correct..agreed..

The Wizard of D said...

I don't see a connection between the 2 events (while it may appear so....)

That the races were held last night seems to have raised questions about Earth Hour.

Earth Hour attempts to bring in focus the need to lower energy consumption and does not attempt to SAVE ENRGY by switching off lights for an hour. Hence it is futile to make a comparison between the amount of energy saved yesterday and the energy consumed at the races.

I know of a few people who are now a lot more concious of their own consumption and am sure will attempt to lower it over the year.

Way to go Earth Hour!!!

ps: May be the Earth Hour will have got the race organisors thinking about being more energy efficient next year!!! :-)

hemlock said...

nick, they turned off the lights for a minute at coldplay's concert, right under emirates palace's nose - where the lights didnt go out.

i am personally all for global warming! bring on the rains in the desert anytime!

Anonymous said...

سوري بس سوالفكم بايخه

Seabee said...

I was shaking my head at the irony of it too Nick.

As far as I could see the city was ablaze with lights as per normal, and I'm sure that apart from that one hour not many people will be thinking about saving water or energy, or using less fuel by trading the three tonne 4X4 for something more sensible.

I fully support the few who participated in the hour because they really mean it, believe in it and who are environmentally responsible in their daily lives. The others who just give lip service to the idea and those who jumped on the bandwagon and saw the JBR thing as a social event need to go away and do some thinking.

nzm said...

Totally agree with you Nick. The whole exercise is a complete waste of time, money and resources that would be better spent teaching people to cut out excess water and energy usage all the time - not just for one stupid night per year.

DUBAI JAZZ said...

Oh I agree with Nick. Like totally. And I posted about it here too.

kaya said...

Absolutely 200 percent agree with you. My daughter on her way to Coldplay reminds me that I have to turn the lights off for EARTH hour. I just snorted and told her that fat load of saving one hour in the whole year was going to make, and need I remind you daughter dear that when you leave the room, you usually leave the lights on.
Horses a$$.

Anonymous said...

I also agree and want to kiss Nick's ass.

Actually I dont. All DEWA has to do is DOUBLE the costs of utilities for the 90% of people who ARENT EVE SUPPOSED TO BE HERE. Simple. Sweet, it would work. And for those who dont like it... Airport. Because truth is, water and electricity is still cheaper here than most places.

On a more serious note. I'm all for frooking up the environment. Screw conservation. Seriously, by the time the world is a a REALLY bad shape, I, you, and most people here, will be in their 80s... or dead. Let the heathens that come after us figure things out. I like lights! I like running water! I like the sound of it even. Also like (As Hemlock stated) global warming. I dislike the cold. I want sea levels to rise, maybe my house will one day be beach front property.

No, I'm not kidding.

Anonymous said...
سوري بس سوالفكم بايخ

Adri ya riyal. Ma3indhum salfa, ma3indhum dar iridoonleh, wu ma3indhum illa khurut wu sawalif falsafhchiya.

Anonymous said...

Please add to that the excessive quantity of paper and ink wasted to advertise this useless event.

the real nick said...


We got it all wrong. "Ida", the "UAE Earth Hour online manager" left a clarification on my blog. Apparently, the point of Earth Hour is not about saving energy anyhow. It's about "becoming part of a movement" and "voting for Earth".

There you got it. Don't worry about saving energy on a daily basis. As long as you are part of the movement and vote for "Earth Hour online managers" you can go on driving around in your Hummer and leave the garden lights all night. Because you are part of the movement anyway.

First though, we need to elect committees to travel to conferences in Copenhagen (by Yak I hope) to send messages and talk about starting talks about finding solutions. I hope you all have done your bit and voted "for Earth" yesterday.

nzm said...

Bugger - and here I was voting for Venus.

Now I know what I'm doing wrong.

Anonymous said...

Guess it has been a big success. Many motorist have leant a great way of saving energy; by not using the turn indicator/signal while changing the lane or taking a turn! Way to go!


Dubai Saver said...

Totally agree, we must be mindful of the Earth's resources in everyday life. I was brought up as a child to turn all lights off if the room is empty to save money, and to conserve every drop of water (mainly because we only had tank water and no main supply), so these values seem to have stuck with me for life. We must teach these values to our children, and be environmentally respectful role models.

Johnonymous said...

This is a nice piece!

Esteemed fellows, something irrelevant for you. What will you do if you caught a racist on record?

I just caught, on record, a racist and prejudiced employer in deepest, darkest Deira. Here's my account:


Nature Strikes Back said...

... don't forget that Coldplay also employed the beautiful delusion of offsetting to carbon neutralise us all..

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