Monday, November 12, 2007

Daylight Saving Follies

I've never liked this Daylight Saving Time. The twice yearly disruptions are not worth the claimed 1% of energy savings (through less lighting) or the other purported benefits listed in a website tracking its history and rationale. Moreover, our power usage - and potential savings - on lighting is dropping as we switch to fluorescent bulbs that consume a fourth of the power of conventional incandescents.

Still, the maximum benefit of this time shift is during the height of summer. I tolerate the switches on the first Sunday of April and the last Sunday of October because it's at least in synch with most of Europe. But now George Bush slipped in a three week extension of this Daylight Savings Time in his Energy Policy Act of 2005 that took effect in 2007. So for three weeks this year we moved out of whack with Europe, causing problems on some international flights, plus other headaches like needing to install patches on computers and electronic gadgets. I don't expect the change to do any good either. Most of us turn on our lights on getting up in the morning in late October and late March so the benefit of "extra" light in the evenings is exactly zero.

Then there's the whole irony of the politics of distraction. An effective energy policy should include measures like higher mileage standards, higher gasoline taxes, or funding research and development of renewable energy sources. Instead the Bush administration comes up with meaningless "solutions" like moving the hands of our clocks out of step with other countries. Though a minor irritant, these actions also fit the "go it alone" GWB approach typified by his rejection of the Kyoto protocol and the invasion of Iraq.

There's one possible relief. In the 2005 Act the Congress retained the right to revert to the earlier Daylight Saving Time schedule if the changes prove unpopular or don't result in the expected savings. I'd like this reversal as soon as possible. To be forced to get up in the dark in the years ahead and be reminded of Bush is adding insult to injury.


kenrod said...

I agree with you about Daylight Savings Time being a disruption. What we save in the summer, we lose in the winter. The fact is we'll always have 24 hours in a day. It's like getting an 18" pizza from Dominos and cutting it up into 12 or 24 or 36 slices hoping to get more pizza, not realizing it's still an 18" pizza. We're performing all sorts of antics trying to expand the 24 hour clock but it's just folly.

Moreover, the DST is less pronounced the closer you get to the equator. With the population shifting southward, I think it's time to get rid of this disruption. Otherwise, this gives me a good reason to move to Hawaii:))

The number one concern Americans have regarding health issues is a lack of sleep. This biannual ritual exacerbates that effect. Okay, let me get back to you after my power nap.

Sandip Madan said...

Well said, Kenrod, we're in complete agreement here! It'll be good if the politicians listen. Btw, while we observe DST I detest the "Spring Forward" and look forward to the "Fall Back."