Gormley energy crisis: Earth Hour clashes with TV speech

SAVE energy but please don’t turn off your TV.

This was the conflicting message delivered to eco-enthusiasts yesterday when John Gormley launched Earth Hour 2010 – which just happens to clash with his televised leader’s speech at the Green Party annual conference.

More than a billion people all over the world are being asked to conserve energy by cutting down on electricity use for one hour on March 28.

It will start at 8.30pm – the same time as Mr Gormley’s address to the party faithful is being broadcast live to TV audiences around the country.

However, after discussing it with Friends of the Irish Environment, the Environment Minister will not be asking people to switch off their TVs but to watch him in the dark.

“We will be highlighting Earth Hour at our conference. We will be switching off the lights in the hotel. We will have the Earth Hour logo [on the screen] when I am speaking. We’ll have reference made to the website and letting people know how they can celebrate Earth Hour.”

He said: “It is symbolic... It will save a certain amount of CO2 but more than anything, it’s to get across the message that climate change is important.”

Earth Hour only requires people to turn off the lights but many environmentalists encourage people to extend it to all electricity usage.

Mr Gormley’s position that it should only apply to lights during his leader’s speech differs from his stance last year when he told people to switch off as many TVs as possible, or “pool” television sets.

The difference was that last year, it happened to clash with the leader’s speech of Labour’s Eamon Gilmore. It also coincided with a World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria.

Despite this, more than 700,000 lights were turned off in Ireland and electricity use dropped by 2% during Earth Hour.

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