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Opening Arguments

Hour power

Those sinners in Indianapolis are on their way to being saved after saying their Earth Hour prayer at the global-warming altar:

The lights at the shop and some other locations in the city went out at 8:30 p.m. and stayed out for an hour. Sponsored by the World Wildlife Fund, the same observance was planned for the same local times around the globe.

At the shop, candles lit the room, and the lights-out participants expressed dedication.

"I'm very passionate about sustainable development and cutting down our carbon footprint," said Dana Bushause, 27, a Northside Indianapolis resident. "It comes down to just making a statement, but when you multiply it by what everyone is doing all over the world, it can make a difference."

As promised, I made my own Earth Hour statement by turning on every light in the house for that hour. Alas, it was negated by the fact that my electricity went out for a couple of hours, from about noon to 2 p.m. Is this a conspiracy? Does AEP intend that I become an Earth Firster whether I want to or not?

You'd think the story would have tried to calculate how much energy was saved, but no. Looking elsewhere, I found that there was about a 1 percent drop in electricity usage in Chicago but no discernible difference in California or New York. Oh, and those candles? Not such a great idea. Replacing the amount of light from one incandescent bulb with candles would emit about 10 times as much carbon dioxide. If you replaced one bulb with one candle, however, you'd be ahead carbon-footprintwise. But, you might protest, there would be so little illumination in that case that nothing useful could be done. That's the whole point, you ninny.