Friday, March 27, 2009

Earth Hour

Kenyan journalist Aidan Hartley is making a film about India’s coalfields:
Outside, Jaria’s collieries are a vision of hell. Open-cast mining has destroyed the landscape, exposing seams of coal to the air so that they oxidise and then spontaneously ignite. The conflagration is out of control, spreading underground, spewing blue flames and poisonous gases from yawning cracks that swallow up entire villages. Chimneys belch smoke and coal dust hangs in a soupy smog.
It’s hard to see how turning your lights off for Earth Hour will make much of a difference, really. Speaking of gesture politics, the Age reports that:
the event, in its third year and rapidly expanding internationally, is being criticised from both the left and the right.

Aware of the criticism, Earth Hour’s organisers last year countered it with something concrete: businesses that signed up would need to pledge to reduce their emissions over the following year by 5 per cent. But this year, even that requirement has been dropped, and there has been no accounting of whether last year’s sponsors lived up to their pledge.

“We decided we’d actually downplay (concrete cuts) this time,” says Greg Bourne, chief executive of Earth Hour’s organiser, WWF Australia.

An analysis of the key sponsors of Earth Hour (among them Fairfax Media, owner of The Sunday Age) reveals that most have reported increased emissions in their most recent figures.
Monitor: Tim Blair

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