Wasn’t There Going to be a Study about Daylight Saving Time?

By October 22, 2008Economy, Energy

Time again for the annual seasonal spate of commentary on Daylight Saving Time and changing the clocks. It begins in the United Kingdom, falling back this weekend, with a column in the London Times by Stuart Hampson, “Daylight is precious. Let’s stop wasting It.” Usual stuff, appeals to lifestyle, the safety of children coming home from school, etc. And the energy argument:

The Government is focused on the need to reduce carbon emissions as a key element of tackling global warming. For the most part this depends on new and frequently expensive technology and on encouraging or enforcing changes in lifestyles to cut energy consumption. By putting the clocks forward an hour (to GMT+1 in winter and GMT+2 in summer) we would immediately reduce the need for domestic, office and street lighting and save carbon emissions. Research by Cambridge University engineers shows that more than one million tonnes of CO2 a year now released into the atmosphere could be avoided – at a stroke, and at no cost. Families struggling with high energy costs would also find their bills reduced.

At a stroke and no cost? Apparently Sir Hampson has no familiarity with logistics, supply chains, scheduling, human resources planning, or husbands and wives trying to figure out who picks the kids up after school. The lives of farm families are readily restructured, since the animals will adjust to the new schedules, too. In fact, we can just reorder everyone’s lives, a stroke and at no cost.

Grandiose and outrageous claims, but not unfamiliar here in the United States too. The 2005 Energy Policy Act extended Daylight Saving Time by three weeks in the United States — we now switch on Nov. 2 –a provision pushed tirelessly by Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA), who waxed on and on about how extended DST would save energy.

Included in the new law, PL109-58, was a requirement that the Department of Transportation study the energy savings from the change in DST. As we’ve noted before, that study was to be completed by Dec. 1, 2007.


Rep. Markey is pushing a radical global warming bill that would rework the entire U.S. economy, placing much more economic decision-making in the hands of the federal government, while disrupting people’s lives and livelihoods to meet his vision of a environmentally harmonious world.

Extended DST may very well save energy. It would be certainly nice if the Department of Transportation would finish its study of the energy-savings in Daylight Saving Time so we could see if the most minor of Markey’s economic restructuring has any merit to it at all.

Don’t know what’s taking so long. Seems like they could issue the study at a stroke and at no cost.

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