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News 2008

News and views from the anti-daylight saving front

The following are a small selection of anti-daylight saving developments, drawn from readers' emails, public domain media releases, and other related websites and information sources.

Pakistan, October 2008

More daylight saving hassles for Pakistan

Pakistan's introduction to daylight saving time is creating headaches for residents as load-shedding clashes with the forward clock change in the mornings.

Sunrise under daylight saving now occurs at 7am instead of 6am. Yet authorities have failed to take this into account. Daily energy-saving load sheddings from 6am to 7am mean that people now have to prepare for work and school in the dark, but with no lights or cooking facilities.

Related reading:

'Daylight saving load-shedding frustrating citizens,' Daily Times, 15 October 2008

Warwick, Queensland, October 2008

SE Queensland rural residents underwhelmed by new SEQ daylight saving party

As reported in the Warwick Daily News, the newly formed Daylight Saving For South East Queensland (DS4SEQ) Party has confirmed that the party will run a candidate there for the 2009 state election, and a total of 67 candidates across the the SEQ region.

However, Brisbane-based campaigner and finance worker, Jason Furze, conceded his party had not yet done any research on the Darling Downs to test their views on daylight saving.

According to Southern Downs mayor Ron Bellingham, whose electorate encompasses the town of Warwick, where only 20% voted Yes to daylight saving in 1992, "You can understand that in the southern states they have less exposure to the summer sun, but in Queensland it is a very different story."

According to Killarney Co-op general manager Pat Brosnan, dealing with customers from both sides of the border presented few hassles during daylight saving months.

"Everyone within 70 or so kilometres of us on the New South Wales side runs on Queensland time anyway, they shop here and they watch Queensland TV, they don't even adjust their watches," Mr Brosnan said.

Related reading:

'New party's plan to turn back the clocks,' Warwick Daily News, 3 October 2008

New Zealand, October 2008

New Zealand health-climate watchdog admits daylight saving link to skin cancer

At the time of the spring changeover to daylight saving, the New Zealand Institute of Water and Atmospheric Research (NIWA) warns that there is a link between daylight saving and skin cancer.

'Turning the clock forward to enjoy longer days should jog people's memories that more sun means a higher exposure to ultraviolet (UV) rays.' - NZ Herald

Related reading:

'Daylight saving reminder of cancer threat,' New Zealand Herald, 29 September 2008

'Daylight saving brings skin cancer warning,' Scoop Independent News, 29 September 2008

'Daylight saving a melanoma risk,' TVNZ, 29 September 2008

Light of Day comment:

As far as we can tell, this health warning from one of New Zealand's peak climate watchdogs was not met with abject hilarity, but was taken seriously enough to be adequately reported in several top NZ media outlets. This is despite NZ being among the world's less skin cancer-prone populations.

So why is it that, in Queensland - skin cancer capital of the world - our official health watchdogs remain in official denial that such a link could possibly exist? And why is it that when a politician tries to raise the issue, they are treated as if they have lost their reason?

See also Light of Day news item below: '
Curtain-hysteria spin as media roast Premier on skin cancer comment'

Sweden, October 2008

Daylight Saving Time can affect risk of heart attack

Here's an odd one.

A Swedish study has found that there is an increased risk of heart attack following the forward daylight saving clock change and a corresponding decrease in the fall back to Standard Time.

'Scientists at Karolinska Institutet have examined how the incidence of myocardial infarction in Sweden has changed with the summer and winter clock-shifts since 1987. Their results show that the number of heart attacks, on average, increases by about five per cent during the first week of summer time [...] The team also observed that the readjustment back to winter time on the last Sunday in October, which gives us an extra hour’s sleep, is followed by a reduction in the risk of heart attack on the Monday. The reduction for the whole week is, however, less than the increase related to the summer adjustment.'

The research can help to improve our understanding of how disruptions to diurnal rhythms impact on our health.

Related reading:

'Daylight Saving Time: Clock shifts affect our risk of heart attack', Science Daily, 30 October 2008

'Shifts to and from Daylight Saving Time and Incidence of Myocardial Infarction,'
Janszky I, Ljung R, New England Journal of Medicine, 30 October 2008, 359;18:1966-68 (no link)

Light of Day comment:

I suppose this alleged decrease in heart attacks at 'fall back' time can be offset against the alleged increase in pedestrians being knocked over by the sudden onset of night-blinded motoring (not to mention the artificially sudden and not too clever shifting of the first hour of darkness smack bang into the peak hour of traffic), and both these sets of statistics could be offset by the corresponding rise and fall of injuries sustained when trying to change an ever-increasing number of household timepieces twice a year. :)

United States, October 2008

More evidence that daylight saving 'wastes' electricity

Yet another research paper has now been released showing that daylight saving actually increases, rather than decreases, the overall consumption of electricity.

Based on overall empirical data from Indiana during the first two years after it switched to daylight saving in 2004, University of California (Santa Barbara) researchers Matthew Kotchen and Laura Grant have found that the Indiana clock change has led to an increase of 1% annually (and up to 4% in the fall) - translating to an increase of $9 million to the state in energy costs. Added to this is the social cost of an estimated pollution increase of up to $5.5 million per year.

The team publicised their findings earlier this year in the Wall Street Journal, and have now released their research paper via the (US) National Bureau of Economic Research. The paper also states that 'the effect is likely to be even stronger in other regions of the United States'.

Related reading:

'Does daylight saving time save energy? Evidence from a natural experiment in Indiana,' Matthew J. Kotchen and Laura E. Grant, NBER Working Paper Series (Working Paper 14429), October 2008

See also Light of Day news items below:

New study: Daylight saving costs Indiana households an extra $8.6 million in electricity bills' (February 2008)

'It's official. WA power utility reports energy increase - ah, make that no energy impact at all - from daylight saving.' (October 2007)

Other reading:

Electricity Savings from Early Daylight Saving Time, Adrienne Kandel, Electricity Demand and Analysis Division, California Energy Commission, February 2007

Does Extending Daylight Saving Save Energy? Evidence from an Australian Experiment, Centre for the Study of Energy Markets (CSEM), University of California, January 2007

[Re Western Australia] 'Daylight saving but no power saving,' ABC News (Australia), 31 October 2007

Light of Day comment:

Firstly, the real strength of this particular body of research covered by the reference list above is that it uses REAL scenarios based on OVERALL data obtained by comparing an ACTUAL daylight saving context and an ACTUAL standard time context.

By contrast, most daylight saving research has used hypothetical scenarios based on a narrow range of data (such as a specific daily timeframe)
which is then extrapolated to create an overall result.

Secondly, the offical reason given for the latest US daylight saving extension was to save energy amidst international calls to address global warming. The announcement was accompanied by a statement that the US Congress would reconsider the extension if it were shown to be of little use.

Along with the research findings by the California Energy Commission (Kandel 2007) and the University of California (Kellogg 2007), the extension has now been shown to be an environmental failure.

So when will the US government reverse its decision as promised?

NSW Australia, October 2008

eBay confusion over failure to change clocks

For the second time this year, eBay has forgotten to change its clocks to cover the latest DST extension. eBay auctions have been closing an hour behind time, causing confusion to users on when to place their last-minute bids.

To add to the confusion, while the auctions have been operating an hour 'behind' in the daylight saving states, the 'Time remaining' sign shows the 'correct' time.

However the DST extension seems to be only part of the problem. According to one discussion board user, 'daylight saving time has been plaguing the site for years'.

Related reading:

'Daylight saving confusion hits eBay,' Asher Moses, Sydney Morning Herald, 21 October 2008

Other reading:

See also Light of Day news item below: 'Telstra warns of 'unified' DST mobile bug'

Indiana, United States, October 2008

Daylight saving seen as one of stumbling blocks to Indiana governor's re-election

With the US election only weeks away, the 2005 introduction of daylight saving by the Indiana State Congress is being routinely included as an important issue in pre-election commentary. For example, political journalist, Matthew Tully, of the IndyStar cited daylight saving as #5 in a 10-point overview of Governor Mitch Daniel's (Rep.) chances of re-election.

Related reading:

'Factors that will sway the election,' Matthew Tully,, 5 October 2008

Other reading:

Hoosiers for Central Time
Daylight Saving Time Debacle (Hoosiers for Central Time)

Daylight Saving Wastes Energy, Study Says,’ Justin Lahart, Wall Street Journal, 27 February 2008

Ceduna, South Australia, October 2008

SA government accused of falsifying community consultation process

Allan Suter, the mayor of Ceduna, a regional community in the west of South Australia, has claimed that his council has 'not heard a word' from the state government on the issue of extended daylight saving.

This is despite a statement issued by the SA government in August saying that it was 'working closely' with west coast communities, many of whom were opposed to the latest daylight saving extension.

However, SA Industrial Relations Minister, Paul Circa, claimed that the views of west coast community groups had been 'previously provided'.

Light of Day comment:

This news item could be easily interchanged with virtually any rural/regional community or urban DS opposition sector throughout the daylight saving states. The only form of 'community consultation' made by governments whenever they wish to extend daylight saving amounts to: a few business luncheons at the big end of town, the results of a couple of quickie phone polls published in the metropolitian media and a few pious press releases on the need to save energy and bring out-of-sync timezones into sync with each other - and that's about it ...

... until we wake up one (dark?) morning and realise the extra evening daylight has not improved our profit/life/energy/timetable woes. And then the DS zealots will start to get restless again.

Related reading: 'Government accused of ignoring daylight saving worries,' ABC News, 3 October 2008

Sydney, Australia, October 2008

Telstra warns of 'unified' DST mobile bug

With the latest extension of daylight saving kicking in this weekend, Australia's main phone provider, Telstra, has warned that the software on some newer mobile handsets and PDAs may override its network settings. Instructions have been made available in case some users encounter a problem. These include: turning the device off and on and rechecking it after a few minutes, checking whether the 'network time update setting' was active or go to the Telstra website for more information.

Light of Day comment:

This 'technical' issue is just an infinitesimal drop in the worldwide bucket that holds the many IT headaches that daylight saving's forwards/backwards seesawing and its confusing and addictive extensions continue to cause worldwide. A perusal of the Internet alone reveals literally hundreds of websites catering to daylight saving IT problems. It's a pity that the sheer volume of energy and business hours consumed in feeding the daylight saving IT beast is never factored into any studies on the subject.

Related reading:

'Daylight saving could confuse mobiles,' Sydney Morning Herald (AAP), 2 October 2008

'Unified daylight saving may cause problems on newer mobiles,' TechWorld, 3 October 2008

Western Australia, September 2008

Hopes for early daylight referendum dashed

With the Nationals emerging with the main balance of power in the recent Western Australian state election, it was hoped that their strong post-election position might prove instrumental in bringing forward the date for the daylight saving referendum planned for next year.

Unfortunately, the election was held too late in the year, and the results too slow in being confirmed, to allow time for the organisation of a referendum.

Light of Day comment: The good news, however, is that the Nationals were the only WA party to officially oppose the daylight saving trial and lobbied hard to bring the referendum forward. Their strong showing in the election may well have been partly due to their anti-DST stance, and their considerably strengthened political influence may help to sway the official policy of the Liberals, with whom they will share power.

Related reading: 'Last daylight saving trial unstoppable: Grylls', Amanda Banks, The West, 20 September 2008

Middle East, September 2008

Daylight saving causes problems for Ramadan fast

The end of daylight saving was brought forward in Egypt, Syria and Palestine earlier this year for the sake of Ramadan.

With its dates fixed by the lunar calendar, the Ramadan observance shifts forward eleven days earlier in each successive solar year. This means that in this year and in several years to come, the Ramadan observance falls during the summer months.

As the Ramadan fast is observed only during daylight hours, the extended evening daylight under DST has the effect of prolonging the fast (early morning daylight not being as much of a problem as most people are still at rest). While devout Muslims are willing to endure the sacrifice, the extended fast due to daylight saving does create an unnecessarily prolonged difficulty for the nation's workforce as a whole to function on reduced food and drink.

The other daylight saving nations of the Middle East - Jordan and Lebanon - will keep to their usual DST dates. Saudi Arabia, Iraq and UAE do not observe daylight saving.

Related reading: 'Killing time', Shannon Linden,, 4 September 2008

Turkey, August 2008

Turkey to abandon daylight saving time

Turkey's Cabinet will vote later this year on a proposal to abandon daylight saving time and will substitute an all-year permanent half-hour time difference.

At present, Turkey is on GMT +2 (GMT +3 on daylight saving). If the proposal is passed, Turkey will operate on GMT +2.5 all year round. The Foreign Ministry is opposed to the plan, arguing that it will adversely affect Turkey's trade relations with Europe, while the Ministry of Energy supports the proposal claiming that the new timezone changes will decrease energy consumption rates especially in eastern provinces.

If passed, the changes will come into effect in 2011. Originally, the proposal was planned for 2009 but was deferred due to opposition from business groups.

Related reading: 'Turkey to abandon daylight saving in 2011', Turkish Daily News, 19 August 2008

Light of Day comment:
So far, European countries with majority DST oppositions - e.g. the Baltic nations - have bowed to EU pressure to operate on daylight saving time. As Turkey is keen to join the EU, the chances of the proposal being passed may not be all that high.

See also, Light of Day news item below: 'Venezuelan timezone readjusts by half an hour'

Western Australia, August 2008

New WA anti-daylight saving party to be formed ... but not in time for state election

Former Liberal MP Anthony Fels is looking to form a a new party, People Against Daylight Saving.

Mr Fels, who ran as an independent candidate in the state election, promised the party would contest a number of Upper House seats, but was not in time to have it registered. Under Western Australian Electoral Commission rules, any new party must be registered at least 30 days before a poll is called.

Related reading: 'Fels fails to register new political party', ABC News, 12 August 2008

Western Australia, August 2008

WA Oppostion leader 'recants' on daylight saving

Colin Barnett, leader of WA's Liberal Party, which partly spearheaded the Bill that introduced the current state daylight saving trial in 2006, has declared that he is not too keen on the practice after all ... and may even vote against it in next year's referendum.

'Barnett to support daylight saving referendum', ABC News, 11 August 2008

Light of Day comment: No comment ... !

United States, July 2008

More school bus woes as daylight saving extension combines with rising fuel costs

Since yet another daylight saving extension was introduced last year by the Bush administration, schools in the United States are having to cope with the increasing problem of children travelling to school during dark mornings, and the mounting safety concerns that have arisen as a result.

To further add to the problem, the rising cost of fuel is forcing more and more parents to send their kids to school on public transport rather than drive them or provide a car for them to drive themselves - as happened in the past.

Related reading: 'BCSC school bus routes outlined', Batesville Herald Tribune, 7 August 2008

See also Light of Day news item below: 'Reflective 'STOP' gloves help kids see in DST-induced morning darkness'.

Pakistan, June 2008

Little optimism on Pakistan's move to DST

Pakistan introduced daylight saving for the third time on 1 June as part of a series of strategies to address its serious energy crisis. When DST was tried in Pakistan before, it was found to be too confusing and its results too insignificant to continue the practice.

Light of Day comment: Overall, any Pakistani commentary that welcomes the latest move to DST sees it less as a means of saving energy, and more as an attempt by the administration to show that it is serious about addressing its energy crisis. As all of Pakistan sits below 30 degrees latitude, which means little seasonal daylight variation, and as a large percentage of the countryside operates on little electricity, any energy savings from DST are likely to be zilch.

Related reading

'Many disoriented by Pakistan Daylight Saving scheme', Kamila Hyat, Gulf News, 29 June 2008

'... As was found on the previous two occasions when the experiment was attempted, Daylight Saving time does not quite work in the country .../ The complaint also is that the Daylight Saving Measure has upset schedules and created "psychological" confusion./ There is also the argument that the measure has not played any part in reducing the "load-shedding" or power cuts that are the bane of life for many in Lahore and elsewhere across the country.'

'Daylight Saving Time introduced in Pakistan', Adil Najam, All Things Pakistan, 31 March 2008 [Good reader commentary section included]

'... the decision shows that a certain seriousness has emerged in Pakistan to think seriously about conservation solutions. Everyone seems honestly interested in it. And, quite clearly, conservation has to be a key step. However, this along with the other steps in the new Energy Conservation Plan, even if appropriate, seem like an inadequate attempt to respond to a crisis that demands much more bold strategies.'

United States, February 2008

New study: Daylight saving costs Indiana households an extra $8.6 million in electricity bills

Yet another University of California study has shown an increase in energy consumption under daylight saving.

According to a report in the Wall Street Journal (27 February), Indiana’s change to daylight saving in 2004 provided a unique means for University of California (Santa Barbara) economists Matthew Kotchen and Laura Grant to measure how a shift from standard time to daylight saving can affect energy use.

The study used more than seven million monthly meter readings from Duke Energy Corporation, covering nearly all southern Indiana households over a period of three years – comparing consumption before and after the state began observing daylight saving time. The 15 eastern Indiana counties that had always used daylight saving provided the control group for comparison.

The research found that Indiana households were hit with an increase of $8.6 million in electricity bills. According to Matthew Kotchen, who presented a paper on the study's findings at the National Bureau of Economic Research:

"I've never had a paper with such a clear and unambiguous finding as this."

Light of Day comment:

The Indiana finding adds further weight to two other recent US daylight saving studies – the University of California (Wolff & Kellogg 2007) and the California Energy Commission (Kandel 2007) – which also debunk energy-saving claims.

However, the Indiana Study particularly cites the increased use of air-conditioning as one of the main culprits. This was also found to be the case in Western Australia since that state commenced its 3-year daylight saving trial in 2006.

Related reading:

‘Daylight Saving Wastes Energy, Study Says,’ Justin Lahart, Wall Street Journal, 27 February 2008

Other reading:

Electricity Savings from Early Daylight Saving Time, Adrienne Kandel, Electricity Demand and Analysis Division, California Energy Commission, February 2007

Does Extending Daylight Saving Save Energy? Evidence from an Australian Experiment, Centre for the Study of Energy Markets (CSEM), University of California, January 2007

[Re Western Australia] 'Daylight saving but no power saving,' ABC News (Australia), 31 October 2007

New York, February 2008

Reflective 'STOP' gloves help kids see in DST-induced morning darkness

With the 2007 US daylight saving extension now in place - ending in the first week of November instead of the last week in October - one school bus driver has found a novel way to help kids navigate their way through what is now a trip to school in morning darkness.

According to New York's, Mike Nally thought up the idea of wearing gloves with big, red shiny STOP signs on the palms.

'Mike Nally said he was concerned last year when the end of Daylight Saving Time was changed from the last Sunday in October to the first Sunday in November and he knew he would be picking up children in the dark for an extra week. ...

Linda Hunt is the mother of two children who ride Nally’s bus and she thinks the gloves are great.

“My son David is in 6th grade and he got on the school bus in the dark when the time changed last fall,” she said. “The gloves give the kids a good visual to focus on, and I think they’re fantastic.” '

Related reading:

'School bus driver puts safety first,', 5 February 2008

Light of Day comment: The bizarre thing about all this is that the energy that the US is supposed to be saving by extending DST even further into winter is not being saved - as studies by at least two peak US research bodies (see Light of Day Links) have made astoundingly clear.

I guess the 'good' news about several million US children being unnecessarily forced to travel to school in the dark is that the tiny trickle of kids coming home from school after 5.00 pm (i.e. more than two hours after school ends) are now so much safer, because they get to do it in twilight.

January 2008, Durban, South Africa

When a daylight saving argument is not what it seems

Sometimes a daylight saving news article pops up that offers a unique example of the strange double-speak that attaches itself to daylight saving debate. Here is an excerpt from one such news item, which appeared in South Africa’s Legal Brief Today:

Livingstone Leandy, the law firm in Durban, implemented daylight saving [sic] in 1999 – enabling its staff to start work at 7am and leave at 3.30pm during December and January.

Gordon Pentecost, the company's MD, said in Business Report that the idea was to provide more leisure time for staff and their families … He said it could not provide an overall solution to the electricity crisis, but it could help and added that it had no impact on his business – except to make his staff happier. “It works superbly,” Pentecost said.’

Light of Day comment:

What’s wrong with this picture?

Firstly, what the law firm introduced was not 'daylight saving'. Daylight Saving is the process by which all clocks within a certain country, state or geographical boundary are adjusted twice a year, so that during the months with the longest days there are more daylight hours after work than before. The law firm Livingstone Leandy did not adjust any of its clocks. It simply ‘enab[led] its staff to start work at 7am and leave at 3.30pm’.

Secondly, the article is hijacking a staple anti-daylight saving argument in order to support the case for daylight saving. Anti-daylight savers the world over have consistently argued that a timekeeping system that adjusts working hours but leaves the clocks alone is much less cumbersome and divisive, and far more flexible in terms of vastly contrasting lifestyle and latitude/longitude conditions nationwide and worldwide.

The actions of this South African law firm prove that ‘Standard Time + flexible business hours’ is a better timekeeping system than changing clocks twice a year. As the man said: ‘It works superbly’!

Related reading:

'Daylight saving makes law firm's staff happier,' Legal Brief Today, 24 January 2008

'Law firm happy to change its clocks,' Business Report, 23 January 2008