Earth Hour is a worldwide event that is organized by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and is held on the last Saturday of March annually, encouraging households and businesses to turn off their non-essential lights for one hour to raise awareness about the need to take action on climate change. Earth Hour was conceived by WWF and The Sydney Morning Herald in 2007, when 2.2 million residents of Sydney participated by turning off all non-essential lights. Following Sydney's lead, many other cities around the world adopted the event in 2008.
Measurement of reduction in electricity use
According to figures from Energy Australia, a local utility, mains electricity consumption for the 2007 event in Sydney was 10.2% lower during the Hour than would be expected given the time, weather conditions and past four years' consumption patterns.
The Herald Sun equated this with "taking 48,613 cars off the road for 1 hour. "Critics, most notably Columnist Andrew Bolt, labelled this as "A cut so tiny is trivial - equal to taking six cars off the road for a year" In context, the six cars equates to there being six fewer cars on the road at any given point of time in the day or night.
In response to this criticism, the organizers of Earth Hour counter that "If the greenhouse reduction achieved in the Sydney CBD during Earth Hour was sustained for a year, it would be equivalent to taking 48,616 cars off the road for a year.
They also note that the main goal of Earth Hour is to create awareness around climate change issues and "to express that individual action on a mass scale can help change our planet for the better." and not about the specific energy reductions made during the hour being all that's required.
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