Spinning Time

By March 19, 2007Global Warming

Taking a brisk walk last evening, listening to Gunsmoke on the radio (powered by zinc-carbon batteries – thanks, Al Gore!), we suddenly realized that, hey, the early start to Daylight Saving Time was having its intended effect.

Less than two years ago, when Rep. Ed Markey, D-MA, won adoption of his amendment to the Energy Policy Act to move the start of DST up three weeks, the rhetoric was all about saving energy and letting people enjoy the evenings.

“The more daylight we have, the less electricity we use,” Rep. Ed Markey said. Markey also supported the measure by pointing out the business benefits. “There’s more economic activity, because people feel they can walk around safely,” he said.

And, an oft-repeated, jocular comment was, “We all just feel sunnier after we set the clocks ahead.”

Well, that’s a bit exuberant, but sure, more active in the evening, can’t deny it. But a funny thing happened in the months since the Energy Policy Act passed (with the NAM’s support), bringing with it the early start to DST. A new reason has been added to justify the time shift — the fight against global warming. Markey cited a report that said the shift could prevent production of 10.8 million tons of carbon dioxide by the year 2020. He said, “Extending Daylight Saving Time will help reduce our energy consumption and curb greenhouse gas emissions — and do it all with the added benefit of putting a spring in our step and a smile on our faces.”

Funny…that’s all. When the time-shift provision was first being discussed, not that long ago, global warming didn’t come up. Now it’s a key rationale. It’s almost as if manmade climate change is mostly a useful PR device for achieving desired public policy goals (involving increased government involvement in the economy).

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