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EU lights out action reduced consumption by 2.5%

category international | environment | news report author Thursday February 01, 2007 22:06author by bright spark Report this post to the editors

I am so surprised that Ireland had no word or news of this action. & certainly it is late to encourage people to do their bit. But today from 18h55 to 19h00 GMT a "pan-European" attempt was made to bring public attention to Climate Change. The group responsible "amis de la Terre" based in France began internet networking and horizontal communication with their peers in France and certain other states of the EU.

The Spanish state whose minister for Energy supported the call have now released details of how much energy was saved during the 5 minute "switch off" in the Spanish state. The reduction in consumption was an astounding 2.5%!

THe group alliance suceeded in convincing the group "black out London" two weeks ago, but yesterday indications were London wouldn't after all take part. I had thought those in teh Lasc loop had been aware of the action in Ireland.


in Paris the Eiffel Tower (the most visited tourist attraction in the world) saw its lights extinguished for the 5 minutes. Critics of the project suggested that a mass-turn-off of power and then a simultanous return to normal power consumption would cause a "spike" in national grids. Data made available from the Catalan offices of the Spanish "ESB" disprove that.
Sadly however the only Irish news organisation to publicise the event appeared to stick with the "spike theory". http://breakingnews.iol.ie/news/story.asp?j=184421706&p...zz3z9

Perhaps this action will be repeated again in the future, for as we all ought know Climate change is a result of "human activity". "Climatic changes seen around the world are "very likely" to have a human cause, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) are expected to conclude later this week. By "very likely", the IPCC means greater than 90% probability. "

The action of "amis de la Terre" saw most support in their native France, Belgium, Spain & Switzerland.
Perhaps this hints at the ecological networks established on the continent, but certainly both ministries of environment and commercial media pushed the "lights out" protest as much as they could. With much attention also being paid to Al Gore's "20 myths on Climate Change".

So all we can wonder is -
why did Ireland not get involved?
Why was it not more succesful?

Related Link: http://www.amisdelaterre.org/Participez-a-la-plus-grand....html
author by iosafpublication date Thu Feb 01, 2007 22:34Report this post to the editors

I must say I am astounded at the figure 2.5% For every kilowatt of electricity produced and consumed in the EU an average of 526mg of Carbon emissions are produced. As interest grows in Ireland on such things as the Poolbeg incinerator and people continue to wonder at the lack of truly green transport options for the ever sprawling Dublin area - 2.5% reduction in 5 minutes of peak evening time is not to be sneezed at.

& what amazes me is how many lights remained on. Yes the Tour Eiffel was blacked out, but the Lafayette shopping mall continued to burn the planet for consumerism. In my home of Barcelona the Sagrada Familia blacked out as in Madrid all government buildings including the offices of Zapatero and the royal palace of the Bourbon King switched off the lights (but obviously not the CCTV).
Yet in my local neighbourhood only a handful of artisan workshops (& the sort of shops tourists love to go to yet buy nothing in) joined in the action. At around 20h00 local time (19h00 GMT) I had thought the whole thing a cynical waste of commercial media space and another one of those "greenie" actions so loved by governments & royal families. [why is it that the super-rich and privelaged as the Spanish or British ruling dynasties are so squeeky green????]

And then I saw the figures from the national grid - and started to the soft math. only a few countries in Europe did not send literally tonnes of carbon emission into the sky today.

Can't we all do this again?

5 minutes of "truce" with the planet. this is a photo of the spanish national grid between 18h55 and 19h00 GMT.
5 minutes of "truce" with the planet. this is a photo of the spanish national grid between 18h55 and 19h00 GMT.

Related Link: http://www.antena3.com/a3noticias/servlet/Noticias?dest...i&id=
author by wee willy winkeypublication date Thu Feb 01, 2007 22:54Report this post to the editors

But the spanish saved themselves 1000 megawatts which is equivalent to 5 minutes of output of one of their nuclear reactors. The French haven't come out with their data yet but they're very proud of the Tower.
That's coz they are 20,000 special light bulbs (5,000 per side) attached one at a time to 40 kilometers of strings of light and electrical cords with 40,000 joints and 80,000 various metallic parts weighing 60 tons not including 230 enclosed lighting fixtures and electrical boxes and 10,000 m² of safety nets

needing 120 kilowatts of power. you could probably grow a happy plantation of skunk on that and turn Lough Rae into a riviera.
oh yeah lighting the Tower costs 4.55 million euros. worth every centieme.

Eiffel tower five to eight paris time.
Eiffel tower five to eight paris time.

author by redjade - {using a mac powered by a soviet-era nuke plant}publication date Fri Feb 02, 2007 00:58Report this post to the editors

By this measurement The Democratic People's Republic of Korea may be a model for the rest of us.

. .. ... .. .
North and South Korea at Night

'Socialism is the Soviet power plus electrification of the whole country.' - Lenin

nighttime satellite photo of North and South Korea
nighttime satellite photo of North and South Korea

author by iosafpublication date Fri Feb 02, 2007 14:15Report this post to the editors

As I wrote yesterday, I "witnessed" the "apagon" as it was called over here get front page publicity, enery ministry support & then saw how many people in my "barrio" (neighbourhood) actually take part.
My barrio clocks up the highest voter abstention apart from Donasti (san Sebastian) in the Spanish state. We are indeed a "majority non-voting community". Of those who do bother to vote, over 50% do so consistently for the ICV party - "green" - "post-marxist" - "anti-capitalist" - "republican". It's the smallest party in the ruling city council triparty coalition and the smallest party in the Catalan government triparty coalition - but the only one which is increasing its share of the votes.

Last night I saw one of the local bakers (the expensive one) look so forlorn out her door at her neighbours as they resolutely ignored the "lights out". She had been so touched by the "absorption" of this French internet campaign that she had selotaped the front page of one of the free distribution newspapers to her window. "lights out!" had been added in 4 languages in the sort of white paint shopkeepers use. If that hadn't been enough to show her support & urge others to join in - she had also put up one of those flourescent bits of paper which typically shopkeepers use to inform us of their "2 for 1 = buy it before it goes rancid offers".

The French state still hasn't released figures on any reduction in consumption, there maybe good reasons for this - we might even suspect "national security interests".., & then I wondered at the Spanish state & energy industry response which took first place in the TV news less than an hour after the "switch off". What raises my suspicions is how uncharacteristically organised & speedy that information response was. This state doesn't count on just one energy provider or one type of electricty generation or even one grid. Like Redjade (author of the comment above) much (but not all) of our supply comes from ageing (and unsafe) nuclear reactors which like North Korea's candle lit suppers are shrouded in secrecy & the usefulness exagerated for political reasons.

I conclude (& will do my best over the next while to verify my conclusion / suspicion) that a decision was made at central state level ( between ZP's minister of energy and Queen Sofia the Bourbon greenie) to reward the simple citizen such as my expensive baker neighbour with a media manipulation "slap on the back". see! you reduced demand! next time we tell you to do something - like go to the street and support us, or blindly vote for our agenda - you will - won't you? Because I suspect that a reduction of 2.5% is not as "impressive" as it was spun last night, & quite probably is within the parameters of normal fluctuation at majority shop closing time (20h00 CET 19h00 GMT). Maybe there is nothing in this, but I'd remind readers of how the group "Contrastat" tired (like many of us) of exagerated attendance at demonsrations mathematically proved that both left and right wing mobilisations (including the February 15th anti-Iraq war global mass protest a few years back) were utter fabrications. Yet because of something called "cognitive dissonace theory" by social & political scientists - we want to believe the consumption of electricity reduced because of our "good citizen effort" just as we want to believe 1.4 million people protested the war in a space only 800,000 could occupy or as I did my best to explain at the time - the FF government tripled the maximum possible attendance at last year's 1916 commemoration.

all the same - we could all do this again.

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