It’s that time of year again when we at the Competitive Enterprise Institute celebrate the innovative power of humanity and demonstrate our commitment to protecting the rights of individuals against government action that would limit our ability to use earth’s resources and thus hinder human progress. We call this celebration Human Achievement Hour (HAH).
On Saturday, March 23 at 8:30pm (local time), some people, businesses and governments around the world will choose to sit in the dark for one hour as a symbolic gesture to take action against climate change. The organizers of Earth Hour say that they no longer expect energy use to actually drop during the hour, but instead see it as a way for people to show their commitment to reducing energy use and taking action beyond the hour.
It’s absolutely every person’s right to decide if they want to conserve energy for whatever reason; they are free to sit in the dark as long as they want. However, it should not be their right to impose their beliefs or opinions on others. And that is what is at the heart of the environmentalist movement. While many participants in Earth Hour sincerely want a cleaner environment — a desire most of us share — the environmentalist movement whether implicitly or explicitly seeks to clamp down on human progress by reducing energy consumption whether through regulation and taxation. They want to make fossil fuels, which they see as dirty, more expensive to encourage the use of renewable “greener” energies.
Despite any good intentions, the ultimate result of environmentalist policies is not a healthier, cleaner environment. Instead we will see a population that is sicker and poorer. The only way we achieve technology that is “greener” is by building on older “dirtier” technology. As we make it harder and more expensive for those in the business of creating new technologies, all we do is slow progress and make it that much longer to reach more environmentally friendly solutions.
Even worse, as we make energy more expense we make everything more expensive. As a result individuals have less money and less time. And it’s hard to worry about the environment when you’re focused on putting food on the table, keeping your job, raising your kids, paying for your home, etc.
At 8:30pm on March 23rd, we at CEI will not turn our lights. In fact, we’ll be throwing a party.