Constant's pations

If it's more than 30 minutes old, it's not news. It's a blog.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Daylight savings change: Did they really look at all the risks?

There needs to be some better review of the assumptions and estimates related to the costs, risks, energy consumption, and overall burdens related to a change in times.

It is likely that some inconvenient risks have been overlooked. Let's hope no children are run over in the dark.


There is a myth going around that changing the time will change the weather.

Currently, the plan is to extend daylight savings by four extra weeks. Great.

But the basis for that decision is the argument that "we'll save energy."

I have my doubts on that.

First, changing the clocks doesn't increase the number of hours of sunlight. It merely moves the available sunlight from one side of the day to the other.

Second, nothing we do by way of changing the clocks will affect the weather.

Third, the argument presupposes that by increasing the daylight in the evening that fuel costs will go down.

I have a problem with the third argument in that if we shift the daylight hours to the evening, then the Morning hours are going to be colder longer before the sun comes up.

It would appear that the answer the nation wants the world to embrace is that if we're getting up earlier when it is darker, then we'll be out of our homes, not using energy.

But the problem with that argument is that we'll be going somewhere that has to be heated.

Moreover, think about the problem of walking to school. The original argument for "changing the clocks" was to move daylight to the morning so that little children won't get run over as they walk to school.

By delaying the time we move the clocks back, we'll go back to what we had before: Dark mornings.

What's it going to do to the children's safety?

At first, when I thought the hour might change, I thought, "Well maybe there's something to it."

But I'm not convinced the energy consumption is going to fall.

Rather, I'm more convinced that what is going on is shifting the net energy consumption from the domestic consumer to public institutions. This means that the energy consumption requirements for the municipalities will rise.

Who pays? Taxpayers.

And who loses? I hate to think that the net result of this time shift is a single child run over.

What's the answer: Better hire more school crossing guards with flashlights.

Who's going to pay for that? Not the federal government. But your local tax revenues.

Yes, the federal budget costs for energy consumption may fall; but the actual risks and costs will fall on the local taxpayers and children.

I would hate to find out that is this "just an experiment" to "see what happens." I'd like to see the simulations done on this time shifting; and the basis for estimate to conclude that the net energy consumption would fall; and explore the estimates related to where the actual energy consumption would fall; and the net effect and forecasts on the number of children expected to be run over in the dark.

This debate appears to have ended far sooner than it needs to.

Gosh, this sounds so much like the "debate" over the Iraq invasion. I sense there is a pattern: People make a decision; they sell it; and ignore information that may be contrary to the decisions.

Let's hope this doesn't become a habit. Sadly, I fear it is a way of life, but not for those small children who may be run over in the dark.