Early To Bed… To Cut Carbon Dioxide

Posted on Sun 06/27/2010 by

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By Nicolas Loris

(Even if this ridiculous idea was to catch on, what people fail utterly to realise is that it would have little to almost negligible effect. Electrical power is consumed in three sectors, Residential 38%, Commerce 37%, and Industrial 24%. Residential power is discretionary, so few people would actually take the conscious decision to do something like this for such an obscure reason as saving the Planet from Climate Change/Global Warming. That being the case, those emissions that ‘may’ be saved would be so tiny as to not even be noticed. This is hype of the most ridiculous kind…..TonyfromOz)

For environmentalists to get the carbon dioxide cuts they desire, they need people to dramatically change their behavior. After all, the goal of cap and trade is to increase the cost of energy (85% of which comes from carbon-emitting fossil fuels), in order for demand to fall. But the radical environmental ideas extend well beyond cap and trade and come from all parts of the globe. This is nothing more than a group of elitists who believe they possess a moral authority to tell others how to live. The latest is the Japanese government’s “Morning Challenge Campaign” that is urging Japanese households to make bedtime an hour earlier. From the UK’s Telegraph:

“The Japanese government has launched a campaign encouraging people to go to bed and get up extra early in order to reduce household carbon dioxide emissions. The Morning Challenge campaign, unveiled by the Environment Ministry, is based on the premise that swapping late night electricity for an extra hour of morning sunlight could significantly cut the nation’s carbon footprint.

The amount of carbon dioxide emissions potentially saved from going to bed an hour early was the equivalent of 20 per cent of annual emissions from household lights, “Many Japanese people waste electric power at night time, for example by watching TV until very late,” a ministry spokesperson told The Daily Telegraph.

“But going to bed early and getting up early can avoid wasting electrical power which causes carbon dioxide emissions. If people change their lifestyle, we can save energy and reduce emissions.” The campaign also proposes that people take advantage of an extra hour of morning sunlight by improve their lifestyles in general by running, doing yoga and eating a nutritious breakfast.”

Will the Morning Challenge Campaign work? Will those same people who watch television late at night not watch it when they have to get up earlier? One study shows that more daylight will result in less energy use on lighting but more on air conditioners. Even if the plan would work, more alarming is the goal to change peoples’ lifestyle preferences. It’s breaking the rules of a civil society in which a small group pushing to obstruct an individual’s effort to live as he pleases. It’s not just higher economic costs; these proposals are social and cultural changes that affect people in dramatic, non monetary ways. Lord Nicholas Stern told us to eat less meat because “meat is a wasteful use of water and creates a lot of greenhouse gases. It puts enormous pressure on the world’s resources.”

The good news is, Americans like their freedom. A recent Rasmussen survey “shows that only 17% of adults believe most Americans would be willing to make major cutbacks in their lifestyle in order to help save the environment.” George Mason economist Don Boudreaux has a solution, not just correct for government intrusion to save the planet, but to deal with all attempts to unnecessarily change an individual’s preference:

“I propose that all articles and books advocating that government intrude into people’s private choices be taxed at very high rates. Socially irresponsible producers of such “junk” scholarship churn out far too much of it. As a result, unsuspecting Americans consume harmfully large quantities of this scholarship – scholarship made appealing only because its producers cram it with sweet and superficially gratifying expressions of noble goals. These empty intellectual ‘calories’ trick our brains – which evolved in an environment that lacked today’s superabundant access to junk scholarship – into craving larger and larger, even super-sized, portions of such junk.”

Nicolas Loris is a Research Assistant at The Heritage Foundation’s Roe Institute for Economic Policy Studies. Loris studies energy, environment and regulation issues such as the economic impacts of climate change legislation, a free market approach to nuclear energy and the effects of environmental policy on energy prices and the economy.

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