In 2009, economics Professor Ross McKitrick was asked by a journalist for his thoughts on the importance of Earth Hour. This commentary is his response. McKitrick abhors Earth Hour, as he believes abundant, cheap electricity has been the greatest source of human liberation in the 20th century.
Without electricity, modern healthcare, the expansion of our food supply, and the promotion of hygiene and nutrition would all be impossible. Many of the world’s poor suffer brutal environmental conditions in their own homes because of the necessity of cooking over indoor fires that burn twigs and dung. Anyone who wants to see local conditions improve in the third world should realize the importance of access to cheap electricity from fossil-fuel based power generating stations.
In Earth Hour: A Dissent, McKitrick explains that in Ontario, through the use of pollution control technology and advanced engineering, air quality has dramatically improved since the 1960s, despite the expansion of industry and the power supply. If, after all this, we are going to take the view that the remaining air emissions outweigh all the benefits of electricity, and that we ought to sit in darkness for an hour, like children who have been caught doing something bad, then we are setting up unspoiled nature as an absolute ideal that obliterates all other ethical and humane obligations.
McKitrick refuses to accept the idea that civilization with all its tradeoffs is something to be ashamed of.
Click here to read the full commentary.